Girl, Wash Your Face Lie 2: Flaking on Yourself Is OK

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is lie 2 from Girl, Wash Your Face? How important is it to be accountable to yourself?

The book Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis is broken down into the 20 lies we’re told by society and that we tell ourselves and how to combat them. Lie 2 says that it’s okay to lie to yourself. Women go to great lengths to keep their promises to others but break promises to themselves easily.

Continue on to learn why lie 2 is so detrimental.

Lie 2: Flaking on Myself Is OK

Many women have developed the bad habit of making promises to themselves and then breaking them. Lie 2 says that that’s okay. They talk about going to the gym, walking a mile in the morning, training for a marathon, or whatever their goal is, but then don’t follow through. Often the excuse for breaking a promise to yourself is flimsy — you just didn’t feel like it, or something good was on TV.  Women go to great lengths to keep our promises to others, but break promises to themselves easily.

Blowing off a commitment to yourself — working out, cleaning your closet — doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is. You’re teaching yourself not to count on you. Yes, life does sometimes interfere with our plans, but if breaking promises to ourselves becomes a regular thing, we need to be aware of it. 

If you continuously break promises to yourself it becomes a deeply ingrained habit that will be difficult to overcome. Our subconscious holds a history of how we’ve responded to challenges in the past. The standard we’ve set for ourselves in the past is where we’ll end up — unless we push through and make a change.

For example, if you decide on a goal, such as running a race, what happens if you’re tired after four days of training and don’t feel like doing your workout? Do you push through anyway? Or do you make an excuse and put it off? Your subconscious remembers what happened last time you were in a similar situation. If you are used to putting off the difficult task, it’s more likely you’ll slack off again. Stop believing lie 2: you can push through and create a new standard, setting yourself up for success the next time.

Imagine you had a friend who constantly flaked on her promises and commitments to you because she didn’t feel like it or something good was on TV. What if this friend announced a new diet every three weeks and never stuck to it? This is likely someone you wouldn’t respect and wouldn’t trust or count on. Just as with a friend, when you are the one flaking on promises to yourself, you begin to lose faith and trust in yourself.

Now imagine a friend who always keeps her word. She arrives early and never flakes on commitments. If she announces she’s training for a marathon, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind she’ll do it. This is a friend you’d admire, respect, trust and count on. Do you want to be this kind of friend to yourself? Or do you want to believe lie 2 and keep lying to yourself? Don’t lie to yourself. You can become your own greatest ally — someone you can count on. 

Don’t Lie to Yourself

You may know it’s time to stop making and breaking promises to yourself, but you may not know how to break these bad patterns.

Hollis learned how to change her own self-defeating behaviors after vowing to no longer break a promise to herself, no matter how small. For her it began with an addiction to Diet Coke. During an unexplained bout of vertigo, she tried to cut out anything harmful in her diet to see if it helped. She decided to give up her beloved Diet Coke for a month. Even though she’d never successfully stuck to anything before, she vowed, just this once, to really see it through. She was successful — able to give up something she loved that wasn’t good for her.

Her lesson: Being successful in keeping this one small promise showed her that the ability to build on past success was the key to achieving her goals. She applied this lesson to other areas, such as writing her first book. Where previously she’d started and stopped many manuscripts, when she was able finally to push herself through to a completed first draft, she then knew that she was capable of writing a book.

The next time she is on a deadline or stuck, she just has to remember how she got around a similar roadblock and overcame lie 2 last time. She knows she can do it because she’s done it before.

Committing to keep every promise you make to yourself will create powerful changes. First of all, you’ll have to slow down and think things through. You have to choose your promises carefully if you know you have to fulfill them. Do you really have time to meet your friend for coffee? Is four workouts this week realistic? If you don’t lie to yourself, then you can’t flake on yourself.

When you become intentional with your promises to yourself, you set a standard for the type of person you really are and who you will practice being every day.

Tips on Keeping Promises to Yourself

When you commit to keeping every promise you make to yourself, these strategies will help.

  • Start with one small goal. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a big general goal, such as starting a diet. Rather, start by adding a new, good habit, such as drinking water. When you achieve that for a month or so, you set a higher standard and can add on something together.
  • Slow down your commitments. Only commit to things you know you can finish because they’re important to you. Otherwise you set yourself up for failure.
  • Be honest with yourself. When you blow something off, acknowledge what you’re doing. If you look at all the commitments you’ve canceled in the last month, you’ll see how you’re training yourself to behave.

Girl, Wash Your Face Lie 2: Flaking on Yourself Is OK

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Rachel Hollis's "Girl, Wash Your Face" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Girl, Wash Your Face summary :

  • Why you should accept that life can be messy
  • How seeing that you're in control of your life can help you live more joyfully
  • The 20 lies you might be telling yourself

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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