“The most meaningful thing you can do is make a promise to yourself and keep it. You start to feel like you can trust yourself and rely on yourself.” ~ Phil Stutz
The path to Lifetime growth.
Do you want to build your self-discipline? Do you want to build trust in yourself and your ability to do what you say you will do? Do you want to practice the virtue of Integrity? These are valuable steps on the path to lifetime growth.
One way to practice these steps is to instill a daily habit. Make it something that is good for you and makes you feel good about yourself. And once you start, do it every day until it becomes second nature. Discipline improves with practice.
The Secret of Success
Brian Tracy, a leader in the field of self-development, was asked during an interview if he had one primary, overall “secret” of achieving success or attaining a goal. Brian said that he had been asked this question hundreds of times. He said that, for years, he declined to answer the question, believing that there were a number of strengths and skills needed for one to achieve success in any of its forms. However, Brian stated that he has come to believe that there is one attribute that is more important than all the others in determining the likelihood of one’s achieving any goal. What is the attribute? The “secret” of success? “Do what you say you will do.”
Do what you say you will do. This is the foundation for establishing yourself as a person of integrity. You can start by making and keeping commitments to yourself, then growing from there.
One excellent way to practice making and keeping a commitment to yourself is to use “tiny habits”. Tiny habits are the brain child of Stanford University behavioral scientist, BJ Fogg, PhD. Dr. Fogg has created a program to help people establish beneficial habits using a “trigger” followed by small, even tiny, actions. (Similar to what we learned in Stephen Guise’s Mini Habits. [Guise])
Fogg’s tiny habits have 3 components [Chang]:
1) Start small – tiny in fact.
2) Choose an anchor – an existing routine or habit.
3) Celebrate – immediately and consistently.
You articulate your tiny habit using a specific format. (Fogg calls it a “recipe”.) After I (perform a routine), I will (tiny behavior). Here are a few examples that I’ve been practicing.
After I finish my journal entry, I will do 1 sun salutation.
After I finish a meal, I will eat a baby carrot.
After I stop at a traffic light, I will take 3 deep breaths.
One key is to make the behavior easy . . . so easy you can’t not do it. For example, one of Fogg’s early “recipes” was “After I brush, I will floss one tooth.” As we’ve learned before, motivation and willpower fluctuate throughout the day. You don’t want to have to depend on them to get the action done. Instead, make the step “too small to fail.”
Another important aspect is celebration. Celebration doesn’t have to be elaborate. Try pumping your fist in the air and shouting “Yes!” (even if you “shout” silently to yourself). Or “Yay, me!” or “I did it!” Any small movement that will build your positive reaction to your performance. Don’t discount this step. You are changing your perspective of yourself as someone who does what she says she will do. [MacLellan]
Consistency, not perfection.
As you begin making and keeping small commitments to yourself, remember that consistency is more important than perfection. Don’t worry about performing the action perfectly but do give your best effort to doing the action every single time the trigger occurs.
Skills improve with the right kind of practice. In this case, the skill you want to improve is the ability to always keep your commitments – first to yourself, then to everyone. The practice in this situation is to do what you say you will do — every time you say you will do it.
“Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
1) Pick one area of your life that you want to improve.
2) Decide on a behavior that will contribute to the improvement.
3) Select a trigger – a habit that you already have. Pick an exisiting habitual behavior that is as close to the new behavior as it can be.
4) State your new commitment in terms of the “recipe” of “After I ____, I will ____.”
5) Celebrate each time you perform your new behavior.
6) “Perform without fail what you resolve.”
“Do what you say you will do.”
“Make a simple commitment and keep it. Even if it’s just to floss tonight or put your socks in the laundry basket. And then do it. It’s not about what you do, it’s that you say you’re going to do it, then you do it.” [Stutz]
Remember Brian Tracy’s secret to success: “Do what you say you will do.” This is also a secret to strengthening your integrity with yourself and others. Begin by making and keeping small – even tiny – commitments to yourself and grow from there as you begin to live with more and more integrity. That is embracing the Excelerated Life!
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Defining and living your Valid Values is one step in creating your Excelerated Life, a life of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
Jennifer Chang. “Tiny Habits”, January 04, 2017, April 23, 2018, <https://www.success.com/article/tiny-habits>
Guise, Stephen. Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results. CreateSpace Publishing. 2013
Lila MacLellan. “A Stanford University psychologist’s elegant three-step method for creating new habits”, October 8, 2013, April 23, 2018,
Phil Stutz “Commit To Being Committed”,,April 14, 2018, <https://www.thetoolsbook.com/blog/commit-to-being-committed>