If you decide on a goal— for example, “I’m going to write a novel” or “I’m going to run a 10K”— your subconscious will formulate the likelihood of that happening based on past experiences. So when it’s day four and you’re feeling tired and you don’t want to head out for a run, you will revert to the highest level of mental training. What happened the last time you found yourself here? Did you push through and form a habit and get it done? Or did you make an excuse? Did you put it off until later?

Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis

Whatever standard you’ve set for yourself is where you’ll end up . . . unless you fight through your instinct and change your pattern.

That’s how I changed my own patterns and behaviors— how I established the rule in my life that I would no longer break a promise to myself no matter how small it was.


Starting with one small goal. [Giving up my] Diet Coke felt like my great white whale at [one] time, but in retrospect, giving up a soda was a million times easier than running marathons, hitting [my company’s] annual budget goals, or writing a book. When someone tells me they want to start a diet, I’ll suggest they start by aiming to drink half their body weight in ounces of water every day. It’s much easier to add a habit than to take one away, but the water goal is a challenge. When they conquer that for the month, they’ve set a new standard for achievement and can add on something tougher.

Being careful with my commitments. We easily jump on board with anything that sounds good for us. A diet? Of course. Volunteering this Saturday? Absolutely. We know these things are important and good, so we say yes, assuming the value of the commitment will motivate us into following through. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Slow down your yes. Only commit to things you know you can accomplish because they’re incredibly important to you. Otherwise you set yourself up for continued failure.

Being honest with myself. Be honest with yourself about what you’re blowing off. A little cancellation here or a bow- out there can add up . . . but only if you refuse to acknowledge your actions. If you take a good hard look at what you’ve canceled on in the last thirty days, you might be shocked to discover how you’re training yourself to behave.

If you choose today not to break another promise to yourself, you will force yourself to slow down. You cannot keep every commitment, promise, goal, and idea without intentionality. If you recognize that your words have power and that your commitments carry covenant weight, you won’t agree to anything so easily. You’ll have to ask yourself if you really, truly have time to meet that friend for coffee this week. You’ll have to decide if working out four times before Sunday is a real possibility, or if it’s more realistic and achievable to commit to two beast- mode sessions and then one power walk with your neighbor. You’ll slow down and think things through.

You won’t just talk about a goal; you’ll plan for how you can meet it. You’ll set a goal and surprise yourself when you achieve it. You’ll teach yourself a new way to behave and set a standard for the type of person you truly are— not the one you’ve dreamed about becoming, but who you practice being every single day.

Lifestyle expert Rachel Hollis is the founder of the popular lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and is the CEO of her media company, Chic Media. She is a regular contributor for the Huffington Post and PopSugar, and she has appeared on The Rachael Ray Show, The Talk, Extra, and many other programs. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and four children.

Taken from Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis Copyright © 2018 by Thomas Nelson Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com.