Early Morning Ramblings & Keeping Promises To Yourself

Here’s a little pep talk.

Because sometimes, finishing the week strong is just as hard as getting a good start.

It’s 6:17am and pretty soon, my baby girl will need waking and feeding, and diaper changing. Ya know, all that mom jazz. (Wait can we just stop for a second and consider what “mom jazz” as an actual musical genre would sound like? Comment thoughts below...v important.) I’m sitting at my dining table and the mood’s been set. I have my coffee to my left, my journals, and Georgia Peach White Barn candle on the right. The house is quiet, no one’s awake but me, and the sun is slowing creeping up the sky...it’s subtle glow peeking through the typical Bay Area overcast veil.

I did my usual thing. 5am wake up call, Bible-reading, intentions and gratitude written down for the day, and I read another chapter from Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Stop Apologizing (it was about not letting allowing the people in your life to talk you out of or discourage your goals, good stuff). I’m now typing these words with my tired fingers because I’m currently in the business of trying to keep promises to myself.

Writing every day is one of those promises.

I’ll be honest, it’s been a tough writing week. I’ve deleted more words than I’ve written, I’ve read other people’s work instead of showing up for and sharpening mine. I wouldn’t call it full blown self-sabotage, but it’s just been one of those weeks when I’ve felt like not writing is a pretty inconsequential event for most people, maybe even including me, and I don’t really know what to say anyway, so better to not say anything at all.

It’s funny how you hear yourself say something (or in this case - type something), and know exactly how you’d respond if someone else was saying it. If the crappiest blogger in the world said those words to me, “Better to not say anything at all,” I’d call BS and beg them to show up anyway. I’d encourage them to type the living hell out of the words they have bottled up inside, and tell them that they don’t have to be good, they just have to try. Because deep down I know what they don’t see or feel right now: trying everyday, and keeping promises to yourself is how you get good. That’s where the magic is.

So I’m here at my laptop, doing the thing, keeping the promise, even if I’m not quite sure where it’s taking me. Why? Because I believe that what I say with great conviction to someone I love who’s straddling the fence between taking risks for themselves and staying in the safe zone, is also true for me. I believe in the power of doing hard things every day that don’t produce any fruit or results right away. I believe in planting in patience, watering faithfully, and growing in the process. I believe we all have something to say, something to contribute, a dream in our hearts, and the only thing standing between us and that thing is a promise kept or broken.

Maybe for you, it’s healthy living. Giiiiiirl, been there. You just want to be someone who works out consistently, and does it from a healthy frame of mind, not a self-loathing place like the women before you or around you. You make this a resolution every darn January 1st, but here we are again, it’s May 10th, and honey, you’re not even close. What’s the deal? What happened? Well, we could sit down and talk about how you need a strategy, how best intentions aren’t practical enough, etc. But at the root of it, you just need to stop breaking this promise to yourself. You just need to prove to yourself that 15-20 minutes every day of thanking your body through exercise is something you can do.

My pastor at the church I was a part of in SoCal said this thing from the pulpit one time that completely rocked my world. I don’t know if this thought is original to him (is anything?), but it was the first time I had heard it. He said, “It is easier to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action.” I’ll type it again in bold letters for those of you who haven’t had your coffee yet.

It is easier to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action.

COME. ON. SOMEBODY.

Now, you might be reading those words, thinking, “But is it?” Oh shut it, you negative-freaking-Nancy and listen to me for a second! If we’re honest, so many of us have stopped keeping promises to ourselves because we just don’t feel like it anymore. Some of us keep waiting for that inspiration, motivation, etc. to get our booties up and do the thing we said we’d do.

We live in a world full of people who have started to care less about the words coming out of their own mouths, the promises they’re making, than their feelings. Feelings matter ya’ll, but you and I both know they can’t always be trusted. Feelings are about as inconsistent as the weather forecast in the Bay. (Another complaint for another time, but for goodness sake sunshine...stay a while!!!)

So instead of waiting until we FEEL like doing that thing that’s good for us, we need to DO IT and that feeling will follow. Don’t get me preaching, but this is true in so many areas...marriage, relationship with Jesus, participation in communities, you name it, and it’s true when it comes to the promises we break or keep.

That’s why I’m sitting here, typing these words, and let’s be honest, rambling a bit. I’m writing like I’m talking to you, because that’s how I know how to write, and because right now, it’s not really about what I’m writing. I mean, it is, but the point is more that I write in the first place. I didn’t feel inspired this morning, I didn’t jump out of bed with a brilliant idea in my pocket, and genius in my fingertips. Honestly, I barely woke up. But I’m here. I’m doing the thing I told myself I’d do because I’m learning I need to love myself and believe in my dreams as much as I love you and believe in yours.

With my time, my actions, and my attitude, I’ve decided that the me who writes with bravery and belief in herself is the me I prefer to the one sitting in the corner waiting for a reason to start. I know the words in my heart matter and in keeping promises to myself, maybe you’ll feel convicted to stop breaking yours.

The things we say to ourselves matter.

The way we show up for ourselves matters. The thing you dream of doing, the thing you want to be good at or consistent in...well baby, it’s not that far off, it’s really only one pinky promise away.

I’ll go first. I pinky promise I’ll keep writing...because I refuse to buy into the narrative that I have nothing important to contribute, that it’s all additional noise, that I don’t have a gift to give to others, or that whether I do or don’t...it won’t make a difference. Not today, Satan. I won’t suddenly turn into a NYT bestseller after I press publish on this piece...but I’m getting closer. I’m growing. I’m becoming better. I’m showing up. And 7 days a week, 10 times outta 10, I’d rather be the girl in the arena, taking a risk, than the girl in the stands.

A lot of cheap seats in the arena are filled with people who never venture onto the floor. They just hurl mean-spirited criticisms and put-downs from a safe distance. The problem is, when we stop caring what people think and stop feeling hurt by cruelty, we lose our ability to connect. But when we’re defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to be selective about the feedback we let into our lives. For me, if you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.
— Brene Brown

Waking up at 5am to write every day feels a lot like getting my ass kicked. Nonetheless, I enter the arena, not worried about the critics, and it’s teaching me a whole lot. I hope you’ll enter the arena in your life today. I hope you’ll have the courage and the gumption to believe in your dreams and goals and to revisit that well-intentioned resolution list with a new fire in your belly. Keep that promise. Even if you broke it all the days before today, it’s never too late. Start today. Be someone you can trust.

V.

What’s one promise you want to keep to yourself today? Share in the comments below, I’d love to know. xx