I never thought I would become a writer.
I wrote my first book Coffee Hacker last June as a bucket list kind of thing… something I thought I would check off the list and then move on to the next goal. What I found was that I loved writing.
Within minutes of publishing that first book, someone bought it. I couldn’t believe it – someone out there was reading the words that I had written, probably with a better cup of coffee in their hand.
I was hooked.
I wrote four more books last year, which meant that I was coming out with a new book about every 5 weeks. It was crazy. I considered growing a writer’s beard and buying a pet cat. I was on a roll.
But when the new year rolled around, I started to become unfocused. I began doing more things that resembled work and spent less time doing the hard work of writing. In short, I just got lazy.
And there was a problem – I had already promised myself that I would write more books this year.
You’ve likely made promises to yourself that you still need to keep, too. Maybe it’s going back to school to finally get a degree. Maybe it’s saying No more often to spend more time with the kids.
We tell ourselves that we’ll accomplish our goals someday but someday can’t be found on a calendar. Someday doesn’t exist. When we tell ourselves Someday, we’re really lying to ourselves.
Would you trust someone who repeatedly lied to you?
Of course not. We karate chop those people in the neck. We unfriend them on Facebook and if they call, we tap on ignore. But what about when we realize that we’ve lied to ourselves?
I’ve done a little reading on self-promises. Philosophers think that there’s no such thing as a self-promise… because the agent (you and me) cannot be the promisor and the promisee at the same time because we can release ourselves from a self-promise at will. In other words, self-promises don’t really count because we can always let ourselves off the hook when things become too hard.
I don’t buy it. I know that when I don’t follow through with reaching the goals I’ve set for myself, it gnaws at me like an uneaten bowl of salsa. It’s always there in the back of my mind as an unresolved commitment that I told myself I would honor but didn’t. And I know from experience that when I start to keep the little promises that I’ve made I begin keeping the bigger ones, too.
A funny thing happens when we start keeping promises to ourselves. We become unstoppable. We start to believe ourselves when we say things like I’m going for a run today.
Yesterday I finished writing my 6th book. It took me five months… much longer than it should have… but I finished it. I can’t wait to tell you when it’s published and ready for the world to read.
And today I started writing my 7th. I promised myself that I would write more books this year and I want to honor that promise. Even when the academics say it shouldn’t matter, it matters to me.
So send in that application to get the degree you’ve always wanted. Cancel that appointment and make plans to have a special date with the kids. Write that book. Keep your promises to yourself.
Someday is today.