Following through on self-made promises

BoraBora April 2019


I was reading Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis where she said “never break a promise to yourself”. It felt like she was talking directly to me. 

That hit me hard.

This past December I noodled with the idea that I should make a new year’s resolution. Every time I thought of it, I had to keep myself from laughing feverishly at the though.

Because no one – including myself – ever follows through. Why?

How have I let it become so easy to break a promise to myself and bend over backwards to keep promises to others? Why did I stop taking care of myself?

I thought – 

“If I can re-teach myself to keep one tiny self-made promise, I can create smaller achievable goals to make progress towards my bigger lifetime goals.”

So, after careful consideration, I promised myself that I was going to stop biting my fingernails.

( I cringed at even writing that last sentence. I KNOW! I KNOW! IT REALLY IS THAT AWFUL! )


What was my plan?

One goal making method that I use in my profession is the SMART method.
(What the hell. Use what you know. Am I right?)

S – Specific
M – Measureable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timely


Attempt #1

I want to stop biting my fingernails in the next 90 days.

Hmm….that’s probably not good enough. It is specific and time based, but I’ve set this goal for myself before and never been able to follow through.


Talking to myself…. 

  • Why do I want to stop biting my fingernails?
    I want to be healthy. I want to have presentable hands.
    (lol – I really think about that kind of stuff) 
  • Why have I failed in the past?
    I let my stress get too high. I don’t really understand what was causing me to need to do it.
  • When do I bite my nails?
    When my hands are idle.
  • Why do I bite my nails?
    To soothe myself when I am stressed? ——- Possibly?
  • Why do I really bite my nails?
    I can’t stand the way it feels to have anything touching the tips of my fingers.
  • How can I alleviate this internal stress so I can stop biting my nails?
    I can try desensitizing my fingers using a “brush method”.


Attempt #2

I will start brushing my fingers when I take a shower to alleviate my internal stress to curb my urge to bite my nails.





I kept that promise. I am no longer a nailbitter. (Yuck!)


I feel so much PRIDE that I have kept this small promise to myself. I looked deep and found the real root cause for my problem and was able to attack the real issue.


Now, what’s next? Hmmmm……..