Like I’ve mentioned in one of my other articles, my old group coach used to initiate sessions with this nice little reminder: “Not doing what you said you’re gonna do is a habit — a habit that is unproductive towards your success”.
But it goes further than that. WAY further.
See, whenever we say we’re gonna do something, we effectively make a declaration. Both to ourselves and to the world around us. And, whether we like it or not, our decisions tend to be driven by emotions rather than logic.
This might be hard to swallow for all you brain-centered intellectuals out there. But don’t worry; it’s actually perfectly explainable — even from a logical point of view. 😉
It actually makes perfect sense. See, it’s thinking twice that inhibits our decision-making. If you made decisions based on pure logic, you’d never be able to have deep, meaningful relationships with other people.
Emotions are what makes us human; not mere stimulus/response-driven animals or machines. We decide to do things because we want to or need to. And our wants and needs have very little to do with logic, if anything at all.
Okay. So, with that out of the way, what’s so wrong with not doing what you say you’re gonna do?
Well, since emotions are what motivates us, our feelings are attached to our intentions. Whenever we experience a want or need, we necessarily put a certain amount of emotion into it. And when we declare to carry out that want or need in the real world, we invest that emotion — we put it at stake.
So, whenever we give up on carrying out one of our wants and needs, we’re essentially hurting our own feelings.
But it goes even deeper than that, on even more levels. Because the discrepancy between anyone saying one thing and doing another causes a certain dissonance, which we inevitably experience as uncomfortable. Like when a politician’s blatantly lying and/or disgracefully trying to cover up a hidden agenda.
The emotions we feel on their behalf are shame, unworthiness, and low self-esteem. And furthermore, towards them, we feel anger, frustration, and even repulsion.
And so, by creating the same kind of dissonance between what we say and what we do, we’re awakening all the same range of negative emotions towards ourselves.
Furthermore, on an entirely other level, when we don’t honor our declared intentions, we’re effectively teaching ourselves that this kind of behavior is legitimate.
In a nutshell:
It’s like with everything else: The more we do it, all the deceptively easier it becomes. And trust me: You DON’T wanna get too used to not doing what you said you’re gonna do.
This week, go over your old to-do list(s).
Pick ONE item. Maybe the one that’s been on there for the longest. Maybe one that’s become more relevant to you with time.
Set aside a coupla hours and do it. Get it outta the way, and enjoy that feeling of liberation as you’re finally doing what you said you’re gonna do.