As many of you know from reading my blogs, I’m a procrastinator. For years I procrastinated about losing weight until I finally became serious about my body and got healthy. After that, I really took on my procrastinator trait in several areas of my life and “leashed it.” As you may have guessed, I still procrastinate sometimes, and this past December, my procrastinating included breaking a promise I made to you.
If you’ve not been reading my blog, here’s the quick backstory. Between 2006 to 2008, I lost 130 pounds. I’m a size 4 and have kept the weight off for almost five years. Even though I look great for my age and I’m typically one of the thinnest women in the room, I need a tummy tuck and a lift. (Having lost all that weight has left me with extra skin.) I’ve been talking about having surgery for the past four years, but haven’t set a date yet.
In September 2012, I made a promise in my blog that I would book my surgery by January 1, 2013 and if I didn’t, my consequence was I couldn’t watch season 3 of Downton Abbey (which premiered January 7, 2013) until I made the surgery date. Well, guess what? I didn’t book my surgery by January 1, and all my friends have been watching Downton Abbey except for me. (Though there is one friend who is waiting to watch with me!)
Now, in my mind, I have a great excuse for why I broke my promise and haven’t booked my surgery yet. Over the past year, I’ve been to several top plastic surgeons in New York City and couldn’t make up my mind on which doctor to choose. Over Thanksgiving, as the deadline was fast approaching, I asked my brother, an orthopedic surgeon, his advice on my decision. He suggested I see one of his colleagues who has an incredible reputation as a plastic surgeon. I did some research on him and he sounded great. I called his office on December 26 (yes, meet my procrastinator trait) to make an appointment. I bet you can predict what happened: I wasn’t able to get in to see him until the end of January.
Anyway, I figured I’d just pay the consequence and not watch Downton Abbey for a few weeks. But on January 1, (the day I officially broke my promise), I woke up unhappy. I felt bad that I broke my promise. A week later I still felt “off.” I thought about my surgery promise. What was going on with me?
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I decided to really look at my promise. After some thought, I admitted I wasn’t really connected to the promise. Why did I want the surgery? What was it about for me? The obvious reason was because I wanted to look good in a bikini. Okay, fine but what else? I thought longer about it. There were other reasons, but I didn’t want to talk about them. Okay, fine. Since I do some of my best thinking while writing, I’m going to share them with you.
Even though I’m thin, I feel disconnected from my body, like I did when I was fat. I don’t like feeling disconnected. I don’t like the way my body looks or feels with the extra skin. It reminds me of my old life, almost like a “Scarlet Letter” that I wear, but this one is under my clothes, to remind me of all the mistakes I made in my life. I want to move on from that.
Now, I’m going to go even deeper. I use my body (not having the surgery) as an excuse not to date seriously or fall in love. I keep telling people that once I have my new body, I’ll find the right man and fall in love. (Can you hear the “someday” in that and no author?) And deep down, I want that, but I’m scared of that, too. This is where my procrastinator trait has been thriving, the past year. I’ve been procrastinating my surgery to bolster procrastinating falling in love. No wonder I felt bad about breaking my promise. I’m selling out on two of the most important areas of my life.
My pitfall is I make promises out of a sense of obligation rather than understanding why I am specifically making the promise. (You’re going to have to connect to your own “whys.”) It’s not just about a tummy tuck; it’s about moving on with my life and letting go of my past. It’s about taking off my “Scarlet Letter” and embracing who I am today. It’s time to quit procrastinating about the surgery and to stop waiting to fall in love. If I had connected deeply to those thoughts when I was making the surgery promise, I don’t believe I would have broken the promise so easily. I would have more deeply understood what it was about for me.
Lastly, I don’t like the way I feel when I break a promise. But it’s not just because I think that’s the “wrong thing” to do. It’s because it disconnects me from my dreams. In addition, it disconnects me from you. When I share my story, a lot of people listen to me: people who care about me and people who don’t even know me. I diminish everyone’s trust in me when I don’t keep my word. Given my dream is to help other people love and heal their bodies, I need to be trustworthy. I am hereby elevating my relationship to my integrity. I promise to care about both the letter and the spirit of any law I make for myself. Thank you for being willing to listen and be on this ride with me. (Can you tell I’m in coaching?)
So what’s going on with my surgery? Well, I had that consultation and booked it for August 16. Obviously, I still have fears, but I am making progress. Setting a date certainly helped. I am now in alignment with the “letter” of my law. Even better than finally keeping my word is the peace I feel from being emotionally connected to my dream, even though it’s scary.
What’s your relationship to your promises? Is it all head, all heart or the perfect combination?