By Leo Babauta

There is a power to our word that is very often underdeveloped — words are magic, and can create the world around us. But most of us use this magic as if it weren’t powerful.

The first way we see this is that we often don’t honor our word to ourselves.

In his wonderful book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz puts “Be impeccable with your word” as the first and most important of the four agreements that can change your life. There’s a lot more depth to this agreement, “Be impeccable with your word,” than you might first realize … but I’m only going to cover one aspect of that: honoring your word to yourself.

Some ways we don’t honor our word to ourselves:

  • We say we’re going to exercise today, but then put it off because we’re busy.
  • We vow to stop eating so many sweets, only to give in the next day and eat a bunch of ice cream and cookies.
  • We say we’re going to work on a meaningful project, but that keeps getting pushed back another day, and another, until months have gone by.
  • We say we’re going to meditate, but instead check our phones or email.

None of this is “bad,” and it would be a misuse of our word to harshly criticize ourselves for any of this. But what if we could start to honor our word to ourselves?

What if, when we tell ourselves we’re going to do something, we actually follow through and do it?

What would that change for you, in your life?

If you could 100% trust yourself to honor your word to yourself … this could change everything.

Let’s look at how to develop the power of our word to ourselves.

The Practice of Honoring Our Word to Ourselves

Start by committing yourself to take your word to yourself as sacred. It’s a vow, and when you say it, you’re fully committed to it.

Remind yourself of this each time you’re about to break your vow to yourself.

Then start by only making small promises to yourself — things you know you can definitely do. And follow through on every single promise, over and over, with full commitment.

For example: promise to go and drink a glass of water, and then do it. Promise to answer this one email, then do it. Promise to go for a walk around the block, then do it. Small promises, and then take them as sacred.

Remove the possibility of not doing it. My coach says if you’re a parent, you don’t even question whether you’re going to feed your kids or not — it’s a commitment you don’t question. Treat your commitments to yourself in the same way — unquestionable.

When you do it, acknowledge yourself for honoring your word to yourself. This is a victory to be celebrated. Even if it’s a tiny victory, it’s important.

If you mess up, honor your word by acknowledging the mistake, and apologizing. Take responsibility, without blame or shame. And then commit yourself to growing from this mistake.

Only once you’ve gotten good at the easy promises should you go to harder ones. Instead of promising to write for an hour, promise to write for 5 or 10 minutes. Instead of trying to meditate for an hour, just meditate for 5 minutes. Same with exercise, or anything that requires focus. Small promises, executed impeccably.

Don’t make indefinite promises — like that you’ll never touch another drop of alcohol. Make small promises, like you’re not going to eat a cookie for the next hour. Then make the promises easier to fulfill — get rid of the cookies, or remove yourself from the vicinity of the cookies.

Over time, if you work on developing the power of your word, it will become something you don’t question. And then your word will be like a powerful magic spell you can cast anytime you need to make magic happen.



We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Som2ny Network