I love words. They inspire me to go past the surface to explore origin and meaning.
For the meaning we give things changes everything.
Meaning also changes due to external forces like society, culture, and evolution.
Meaning makes all the difference to what and how we create in life.
Promise vs. Challenge
When I first created The 100 Day Promise, I had a clear intention, and I knew what I wanted to deliver.
I was initially inspired by the idea of a 100 day challenge, but something about it didn’t feel quite right.
So I turned to my dictionary, where I found that the origin of the word challenge was not as inspiring as I thought.
: a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength; from Latin, to accuse falsely, rebuke
As an Aries, I love a good challenge, but I also resist feeling dominated. The older meaning of the word challenge was what I’d understood energetically, and why I resisted the word.
Then I read the origin of the word promise.
: from Medieval Latin, literally, to send forth into the future; a declaration made about some act to be done or not done
“to send forth into the future” – this phrase sent a shiver of positive energy up my spine, and I wondered what it would be like to give myself 100 days to send a promise into the future.
Not as a commitment to act every single day, but as an intention to create the future.
That intrigued me, and formed the basis of The 100 Day Promise.
Why 100 Days
Mother Teresa said, “Life is a promise. Fulfill it.”
Break that down into manageable bits, and you have a life made up of many promises.
Each promise is a seed planted in your consciousness, that with the right amount of time and nourishment, comes to fruition.
Each promise deepens your relationship to your word and your capacity to create change.
“Reality making is reciprocal. You make it, while it makes you.” – Deepak Chopra
In the world of personal development, we’re too often inundated by challenges and blueprints; 21 day programs that promise to [fill in the blank__________].
Sometimes they fail because these programs don’t live up to the hype.
Sometimes though, they fail because we move on, failing to implement what we’ve learned.
Is that a failure of commitment or a failure of inspiration?
I looked for an answer, and a possible solution. I wanted a new way of being that could empower our intentions in the world.
The first thing I discovered was research from The European Journal of Social Psychology that suggests while the average length of time in forming a habit was 66 days, it could actually vary anywhere from 18 to 254 days.
On the one hand, experts are still promising the 21 day panacea, while on the other, research is pulling back the curtain and exposing the myth.
I knew from experience that it usually took longer than 21 days for my clients to make the kinds of changes they wanted. Yes, it could take as little as 18 days, but often they never got past 3 or 4 weeks because of the almost inevitable vicious cycle that emerged.
The problem with change isn’t that we want to change, but that we beat ourselves up when we don’t change the way we want. This endless loop of disappointment and self-recrimination does a number on our confidence, which impacts how we commit to future goals.
When we really want to make a change, but feel defeated before we begin, is it possible to reach our goals?
It’s not impossible, but it’s hard because the cycle is reinforced every time we make a promise to ourselves and don’t follow through.
I committed myself to research, reading books on neuroplasticity, how to create lasting change, and even spiritual growth. While these topics may seem distinct, to me they were inextricably linked, overlapping in many ways.
For example, your brain will continue to evolve if you invent new things for it to do, and if you introduce that new thing as a ritual, or devotional practice you’ll integrate it more effectively.
What better way to do so than to create a new promise periodically.
I discovered key elements that help us not only change, but implement the change in a lasting way, and these elements turned into The 100 Day Promise.
100 Days to Get There from Here
1. The Making of a Promise
Instead of spontaneously blurting out a promise in a flash of inspiration, think about what you really want.
Are you ready to make the change required? Do you know specifically what you want and why?
In The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp says your plan has to be sufficiently thoughtful and solid to get started, but flexible as you progress.
This is where we begin.
2. Start Where You Are
Forget about someday, and take a look at where you are right now.
What meaning do you give where you are?
If your emotions are in control, you’re unconscious to your current reality.
If your emotions are in perspective, you’re becoming awake and aware.
And if your emotions are simply a part of the whole, your awareness acts as a guide.
3. Invoking the Real You
You have to know who you are to know what will work for you.
You’ll explore and deepen your connection to your values, as well as your core desired feelings – how you most want to feel in your life.
This lays the foundation for your promise to grow authentically, given your unique needs.
This awareness of your essential nature will guide you in ways that work for you rather than against you.
4. Doing the Work
There’s nothing sexy or inspiring about doing the work, but when your vision is clear and the foundation is laid, putting one foot in front of the other is just what there is to do.
What energy is going out and what’s coming in? What’s fueling your promise?
It’s about deciding what you’re going to do instead of letting old habits decide for you.
5. Embracing Ritual
After a while doing the work can become boring and repetitive, but when you discover the right practices – the ones that resonate with your soul – routine becomes ritual, and boring turns into devotion.
What practices plug you into energy, Source, God?
Energy inspires action, which inspires more energy, which inspires more action.
This is the path to profound state changes.
6. Transform Any Obstacles
When you’re trying to change, obstacles will arise in the form of fear, resistance, and self-sabotage.
You can reduce your unconscious reactions by becoming aware of your emotions and where they come from.
When you understand why the emotions are there, you become more willing to do the work that’s required to create your promise in reality.
7. Embodying the Promise
How does your promise live in your body?
How does it show up in day-to-day actions, and movement?
You have to make room in time, energy, and space, or your promise will be squeezed out by the minutiae of daily life.
8. Welcoming the New Reality
You have to look back, and acknowledge your progress.
Get real about what worked, what didn’t work, and what you’ll do differently next time.
What’s needed from you now to create the next phase of the promise?
How will it mature and move into the stage of mastery the wise ones speak of?
As you fulfill your promise and feel the emotions along the way, your brain will change, forming new patterns which will create your new reality.
When we’re inspired to change and make a promise to ourselves, that promise comes from a real and true intention.
The 100 Day Promise is about creating a promise because it feels like the best thing for you at this time.
Not a promise born of someday thinking, obligation, or external motivators.
A promise that comes from within, inspired by your soul’s desire.
That’s the kind of promise you’ll be making when you say yes to The 100 Day Promise.
Say yes now, and join me in the upcoming 100 day journey.
The theme for January 2016 is Living Abundance.
What could you create given 100 days and the right kind of support?