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  • Sheila Kamuda

I Promise...

Resolutions don't really work for me. What about you?

It's just an empty word. And not a pretty one. Words need to resonate with me. This one doesn't. What it does is send me into hiding. So how do I get things done? How do I not waste my precious time on this earth? Especially when everything seems topsy turvy. I can't just sit on the couch and watch Mystery all day (well I can, but I'd really prefer to move forward with my life).

I've tried setting intentions, and inasmuch as I do love that, and it works pretty well, I have found something better for me. Maybe for you too. Making a promise to myself was the answer. I had to wonder why this worked for me.

I'm pretty sure it goes back to when I was a kid. I don't recall how old I was, but one day I felt the impulse to write my name about 20 times on the gaudy (I mean lovely) red flowered wallpaper in the kitchen, as if it were a grocery list. (I must have just learned cursive and wanted to try it out.)

My mom saw this "art installation" and asked me if had done the dastardly deed. (Like who else would have scrawled my name on the wall?) I kind of recall my mom trying to hold back tears of laughter as I tried to find a way out of my crime.

At first, of course, I denied it. And then...she said the magic words: If you tell the truth, you will not get in trouble. You will not be punished. If there's anything I remember about growing up (and there isn't a ton), it was this event and these magic words.

Something made me believe her at that moment, or maybe I was riddled with guilt. After a bit, I said I did it. I figured I'd find out soon enough if parents could be trusted and waited to be clobbered.

But nothing happened. Mom kept her word. I told the truth and she kept her promise. And I thought - is this how the world works? I can do this! For some reason, being honest (and a lot of my pals would say "I'm too honest," although I attribute that to being a New Yorker), became part of my being, my soul, my nature, and one of my strongest values.

Telling the truth and keeping promises work together for me. When it comes to promises, I keep them. Plain and simple. Sydney (the kid) always says Mom, you cannot lie so don't even try. You always start smiling or laughing. You totally give yourself completely away.

So instead of making resolutions, or trying to motivate myself, or setting intentions, I make promises to myself. Now, the trick is to not overdue it. I don't promise to do something that is so outlandish or impossible that I fail. I have a variety of promises. Some are easy, and some are more complex. And, when I keep a promise to myself, I reward myself. I'm big on celebrating.

So here are my "general" promises as I begin 2022. Maybe you'll find this technique works for you too. I'd love to hear if any of these promises resonate with you. What's your favorite? Mine is Choose Bliss. Those two words uplift me and carry me through my day.


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