By Mary Cucarola – 1/8/22

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.”  ~Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go

I am really good at keeping my promises to other people.  I suck at keeping promises to myself.

I make a long list of things I am going to do for myself at the beginning of every year, but most of them go by the wayside early on.  These same promises have been on my list for the past few years.

  • Lose 20 pounds (this has been on my list for ions)
  • Finish writing my book
  • Do Morning Pages daily
  • Hike/Walk/Be outdoors more
  • Play golf again
  • Limit screen time on my phone
  • Stop watching the news

I rationalize I get too busy with more important things to do like working and setting goals for my nonprofit, planning the charity golf tournament, creating presentations for the family program, doing accounting and tax work for my few clients I have left, helping others with special projects and other tasks.

I tell myself I have to be in the right “mood” to write or don’t have the “time” to meal prep.  It’s too cold to walk or too hot.  I don’t have enough energy to go to my workout three times a week, and I am too old to go to the gym anyway.  I resist golf because my shoulder hurts or I need new clubs.  I really don’t know why I can’t limit my screen time or stop watching the news.  I could pick up an additional five hours a day to write if I stopped it.  I think I may be addicted.  I know it’s not healthy for me.

Resistance is the key word when it comes to keeping my promises to myself.

But I never miss an opportunity to help or work for others.  I am competent, dependable and always ready to take on responsibility I don’t need to take on or am not asked to take on.  In other words, keeping commitments to other people is easier for me than keeping commitments to myself.  I fear this is one of those self-serving “codependency” traits or a way to avoid difficult feelings or straight on people-pleasing.  I wonder if any of you can relate.

Melody Beattie says the one choice we have in our life concerns our own behavior.  In recovery from codependency, our goal is to behave in ways that demonstrate responsibility for ourselves.  Stephen Covey says if you keep promises to yourself, your integrity goes up.  The amount of trust we have in ourselves is our ability to walk our talk. Our integrity to those commitments is the essence of our growth. He says making promises and being true to them makes possible every other positive thing in our lives. Little by little our honor becomes greater than our moods.

I guess if I honored my promise to finish my book, my mood wouldn’t matter.  Wow, what a concept!

So now I am beginning this reboot break/sabbatical started in 2023.  Not quite done with my commitments to others, but almost there.  It will be interesting to see what I do with all this free time to focus on myself and my promises.  Will I avoid the things I want to do and get wrapped up in other people’s projects?  Will I write my book like I want?  Will I play golf or learn pickleball and let myself have some fun?  Will I embrace this pre-retirement experience?  Will I start sewing and being creative again?  Will I honor the time I’ve taken to focus on promises to myself?

I will be continuing my blog in 2023 to let you know how it is going.  Writing my blog helps me to write other things.  Maybe you can hold me accountable when I get off track.  I hope to become governed by my “internal compass” (Covey) and not some clock on the wall or somebody else’s project.  Wish me luck!

By Mary Cucarola – 1/8/22