Keeping Agreements: See Yourself Differently

The purpose of this blog is to give you a foundational step before I go into the HOWs of making and keeping agreements. This foundational step suggests that, as a preliminary matter, you change how you are seeing yourself. One of the best ways to do this is, listen to how you talk about yourself. And if the way you talk about yourself does not support the person you want to be, change how you talk about yourself!

Often by the time we realize we are going to break an agreement, it is too late. Often then we criticize ourselves or call ourselves “unreliable” or “flakey”. None of this is useful. Sometimes it seems that this self-criticism will get us on track the next time. It won’t. Beat-up does not serve to give you the energy and commitment to make change. In fact it often serves as a punishment that on some level allows the same behavior to continue.

Characterizing yourself as “unreliable” or “bad with time” or whatever label you tend to put on yourself is similarly not useful to creating change. The way our minds work is to look for evidence of what we state as truth. Humans like to be right. As such, one of the most self-limiting things you can do is to state a name for yourself. (Ex: procrastinator, lazy, bad listener.) lazyWhen your mind hears the label, it then lives into it. If you call yourself “procrastinator,” you will not only look for evidence of this behavior, but you will also do it more. When we label ourselves, we support that label with behavior.

Challenge: Listen to how you talk about yourself. Listen to your characterizations about yourself and, rather than label you can describe the behavior. Rather than saying, “I am a procrastinator,” you can say “I did not schedule appropriate time for this project and I chose to do another project before I did this one and as a result I was late.” Describe this behavior rather than describing who you are as a person. This will give you space to learn and change. Because if you were late this time, even if you have been late other times and even if you seem to have a pattern of putting off something important to do something seemingly less important, if you do not describe this as who you are, you can change it. If you describe it as who you are, change is highly unlikely.

So for this week, notice where you don’t keep agreements and what you say about yourself. Describe the behavior rather than making a characterization about you. If, however, you want to describe yourself as “trustworthy” and “reliable,” go right ahead. That will support what you are after!
When is the right time to get ready for 2017?

We are 3 1/2 weeks from the end of the year. We are, most of us, distracted by the holidays in between. This can cause us to get wound up in being overwhelmed rather than focusing on setting ourselves up for success in the new year.

By all means, be present here in this winter season of love and joy and family. But do not allow the busyness of this season or the feeling of overwhelm stop you from setting yourself up for success in 2017.

Register today for our goal setting workshop on January 17, 2017. Do it today and get it on your calendar and you will have laid the groundwork for next year!

A recent comment from a current client:

“I had a long conversation with [my accountability partner] today and figured out that I am in overwhelm and unfocused.  I also feel like the end of year is soooooo busy and I was feeling drained.  Then, something interesting happened.  I started talking about planning for 2017 and, suddenly, I had more energy.  I felt the shift.  Changing my focus from “this is the end” to “this is the beginning” felt really good.  I’m taking it one day at a time right now.  I’m also going to the gym tonight.”

I love this!  Shift your focus from the overwhelm of “this is the end of the year aaaaugh,” to “this is a new beginning.”  It is just a matter of perspective.

About the Author

Cami McLaren

Cami McLaren

is the owner of McLaren Coaching. She has been coaching professionals and leaders since early 2008. She runs Transformative Coaching Essentials, a coach training program that produces first rate Professional Coaches and "Coach-Style Leaders." She coaches individually and works with organizations to improve communication, time management, productivity and ultimately bring greater results.

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