Promises and Chops

How to keep your word to yourself

Olabanji Stephen
3 min readApr 17, 2021


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This is my 101st article and as I write this, I have absolutely no idea what to write. I just got off an intense 5-hour session and I think I’m attention bankrupt. You should probably go read something else…

You stayed. If you’re still reading, you stayed! Let’s make this about us, me and you.

Sometimes, our word to ourselves is the easiest to violate because no one is watching. So, we go “I’ll read 1 hour today” and we don’t and we don’t feel so bad… “I’ll do it tomorrow”, we’d say.

“I’d do 30 pushups in the morning”, then we stop at 10. “Phew, I can’t go any further”, we’d say.

The problem with that is, things don’t get done and if things don’t get done, we let go of our greatness. We allow “what is” and let go of “what could be”. We chose to wish rather than wield what we want.

The simple hack is, do the “minimums” and make it a duty.

So this is how it works. Rather than saying to yourself “I’d do 30 pushups” and failing, say, “I’d do a minimum of 10 pushups”, then keep your word.

It is far more important that you keep your word to yourself than the ‘word’ itself. Here’s what I’m saying, the greatest part of the act is not the act, it is in keeping your word to perform the act.

By practicing keeping your word to yourself, you are able to keep up with the act and scale it to your desired level. So if you do 10 pushups consistently, it’s easy to scale to 12 and 15 and 30, as long as you keep fulfilling your word to yourself.

Many of us have public integrity, we go all out to keep our words to others but we lack private integrity and we do so little to keep our words to ourselves.

When we keep our words and show up for ourselves, we don’t just give gifts to others, we become the gift.

So, if you set out to do something, do it. Do it because you can, start minimal, start with small chops, start with what you can, and keep your promise to yourself.

The brain has a reward system and studies show that when you keep your word to yourself, it doesn’t just make you happy with yourself, the brain releases dopamine and it makes you feel ‘pleased’, it heightens your ability to plan and reason, and it enhances reward-related memories, creating an avenue for you to create them again.

If you got to this point. You stayed. Thank you

I’ll write about ‘coping mechanisms’ tomorrow. I hope you read… and yes, let’s give this one a title. We should call it “resolve” errmmm…. “Building capacity”… no, Promises and Chops. That’s it!



Olabanji Stephen

I see the world differently and attempt to interpret it in ways that inspire genius