Broken Promises

January 28, 2021by Hoy Grimm

As the calendar moves away from January, 2021 is kicking into gear. We have a new government in Washington, DC that is busy pulling the strings on their new priorities. COVID vaccinations are proliferating. 2020 is in the rear-view mirror and we are moving forward. Question: how are you doing on your 2021 resolutions?

…a broken promise is just a lie in disguise.

Did you promise to address your physical condition? Did you set new spiritual goals? Did you vow to make better decisions with your money? Grade yourself then probe, “What made me successful this time? Why did I mess up again?” You may arrive at the realization that a broken promise is just a lie in disguise. We aren’t intentionally malicious when we make promises to ourselves or others. We just don’t enact a behavioral plan that fosters success. Without it we are being dishonest with ourselves.

If you are a chronic promise breaker, forgiving yourself will get harder over time. Rebuilding trust in your self-control is difficult and requires more work than making necessary behavior changes when we start out on a new path. Let’s take a stab at fixing this.

Did you set a reasonable goal to begin with?

If your expectations were unreasonable, be honest with yourself. Re-calibrate your goal for success. Acknowledge and accept your own limitations. Instead of promising to max out your company 401k contributions every paycheck, try to just get the form from HR to increase it by $50 or $100 every paycheck. Set yourself up for success that will flow through to improved self-esteem.

Are you using the same excuses over again?

If yes, ban them from your head. Write down your most common excuses and focus on expunging them from your life. Did you chase a hot stock that you saw in the news instead of sticking to a disciplined investment strategy (greed)? Did you allow political or health care concerns to handcuff you from acting (fear)? Did you allow the post-holiday “busyness” of the new year to consume your attention away from keeping your promises (procrastination)? Recurring excuses are more difficult to remedy but eliminating them will yield significant results.

Did you encounter an unexpected distraction or difficulty?

Don’t beat yourself up over this one. Acknowledge the obstacle, plot a course around it and move forward. You can not let something outside of your control invade the space in your mind that you actually have control over.


Let’s collectively promise to make February a behavioral reality check so that we can make progress towards our goals instead of discarding them in frustration.

Oh, and don’t forget some roses on February 14th. They go a long way toward mending broken relationship promises.

Hoy Grimm

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