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Promises, promises

The most devastating promises we can break are those we make to ourselves.

“Oh, I didn’t write today, but I promise I’ll spend two hours writing in the morning.” And then morning comes and I get distracted by emails that could be dealt with later, or I sleep too late, or I decide to get “all that other stuff” out of the way first and then write (which somehow never happens).

“Oops, I ate too much the last few days, but I promise I’ll get back on track tomorrow.” And then several weeks of overeating later I’m wondering what happened to the wonderful numbers I’d been seeing on the scale.

It’s that simple, but over time the failure to follow through eats away at your self esteem and your self image. Where you once envisioned a productive writer, your brain now believes that it was a lie and writing must not really be that important to you.

Where you once saw progress in shedding excess weight, you suddenly find yourself eating everything in sight.

The more self esteem drops, the easier it is to fall back on the bad habits that don’t get you where you want to be, because your brain now thinks it was never meant to be. Sometimes fear of failure—or success—causes you to push back against the tough goals. And then you throw your hands up and say, “Screw it! What ever made me think I could be a published author anyway? What a silly dream.”

And then you quit and find another goal or hobby, slowly dying inside because the stories in your head have no outlet. Because you’ve given up on your dream and on yourself.

I’m not going to let that be me. Please don’t let it be you either.

Get your pride and your dreams back. You can do it one day, one small promise at a time. Make little, tiny, non-threatening promises to yourself, those that won’t trigger the doubt monster that fears change, even good change. Write 15 minutes tomorrow. Skip one bite of dinner. Pass on the extra scoop of ice cream. Add ten minutes to your workout. Write that scene that’s been nagging at you for weeks.

Remember why you dreamed your dreams, and imagine how you’ll really feel about yourself if you don’t do everything in your power to make them come true. And then go and be the best you that you can.

We deserve our own time and energy.

Keep your promises to your friends and your family, don’t make promises you can’t afford to keep, and always keep your promises to yourself.

You’re worth it.

Photo credit: DREAMY GIRL © Konstantin Tavrov |

Tell your friends!


    • Reply

      You’re welcome, Mallory. We’re all worth it, but I think we sometimes forget, especially when we get caught up with everyone else’s dreams.

      I completely agree with your last sentence. I have a sticky on my laptop that says, “Life is short…write the book!” 😉

      Thanks for stopping by!

  1. Reply

    Thank you! You’re so right, and it’s so easy to get lazy and think “I don’t count.” I do. I have as much right to be happy and attain my dreams as anyone else who’s important to me. Maybe more so, because if I have no energy for myself, how can I give my energy to someone else?

    • Reply

      Exactly, Carla. We can’t be any good to our loved ones if we’re not happy. We think we’re being selfish if we work on what we want, but what are we teaching our children and those around us if we sacrifice our dreams for theirs?

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  2. Arlene (Adventures in Weight Loss)


    Hear, hear! I needed to hear that today (and every day).

    • Reply

      Hey, Arlene! We probably all need to hear it more often. I know I do. Feel free to stop in daily. 😉 And good luck with the writing. I hope your retreat is productive!

  3. Jess


    Today was one of those hectic, no-time-for-me days. I didn’t even have time to sit down at my computer until 8:30 p.m. Since my daily quota is 10 pages per day, I thought, “There’s no way, I can make it in less than four hours.”

    Then I read your post, saved the link and went to work. It took me a little more than four hours, but I wrote eleven pages.

    Thank you for the reminder that it’s focusing on what we can do that drives closer to success.

  4. Reply

    So this explains the enigmatic and deep Tweet! Excellent post. The best thing I keep saying to myself is “if quit then i reject myself.” And I don’t ever want to do that to myself.

    Happy Writing!

      • Reply

        Sharon Wray shared that one with me. I think she might have gotten it from another writer/book. But it’s a keeper for sure. Right now I am in craft mode. Learn, write, revise, learn some more. Submitting my requested materials in the fall. I gave myself permission to take the time to hone my writing blade. The people we submit to generally take months to get back to us, so I figure a few extra weeks to work on my material is no biggie.

        • Reply

          Taking time to sharpen the saw is always good, Christine. It’s an investment in yourself as a writer. Besides, it has to be easier to fit it in now than once we’re on a deadline, right? 😉

  5. Reply

    Such a great post and discussion, Gwen.

    I think the notion of fighting for a dream is such an interesting concept. It’s actually emerging as a theme in a book I’m working on. I know I’ve struggled with it but what I’ve found most insidious is that I haven’t always realized that was the real struggle. School (work and grad school) kept me from writing or family obligations intervened or whatever the hobby/interest du jour was. But I think really interfered was my own conflicting feelings of pursuing a goal that felt so selfish.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Mary. It’s amazing how hard it is for us to pursue something just for ourselves. Cultural training, I think. Plus years of hearing how ridiculous it is to want something that most people fail at. What makes us think we’re good enough?

      But I think a lot of the naysayers are jealous because we make them realize they’re not following *their* dreams either.

      I’m glad you figured out what was holding you back. What a great theme for a book too. Good luck with it!

  6. Reply

    Great post, Gwen! And so true for me – for both writing and dieting! I backslide on both all the time. But every day is a new opportunity to do better. And you are so right – I need to keep telling myself I am worth it. We all are.

    • Reply

      I’m glad this resonated with you, Maura. Or maybe not! 😉 I think we all need a daily tweet-up to say, “I’m worth it.” Good luck with the writing and the healthier lifestyle. You deserve it all!

  7. Reply

    This is so true. I find my day sucked up by all my other commitments and then I turn around and a week has gone by and I’m nowhere near where I want to be. It takes that commitment to myself to treat this as a job when there is no boss and no income. And as for the weight loss. I actually found when I committed to listen to my body and to what it really wanted I found out it really didn’t like the junk as much as I thought it did. Committing to listening to what my body tells me can be hard because sometimes my emotions want something different, but I’m with you, I need to put myself and my writing first if I want to get to my dreams.

    • Reply

      Jessica: It’s amazing how hard it is to make ourselves do what it takes to get what we really want. Good luck with your efforts, and thanks for taking a minute to comment!

  8. P.H. Dunn


    Thanks for this post, Gwen! It is so fitting for my life right now. I have been struggling, promising, making progress, backsliding for what seems like months now (in both writing and dieting/exercising). I especially like your idea of small goals — skipping an extra bite of dinner. LOL. That I can do. Good luck with fulfilling your promises!

    • Reply

      You’re welcome, PH. Unfortunately, I’m finding a lot of us in the same boat. Maybe it’s summer. 😉 Good luck to you too. Thanks for dropping in!

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