“I will quit smoking!”
If you make a pledge to quit smoking, and then you smoke the next day, you have broken the pledge, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have made the pledge in the first place, nor does it mean that you should discontinue your effort to stop smoking.
A pledge is about trying to improve; to set a high standard and then make a commitment to achieve it, or abide by it.
A New Year’s Resolution is a pledge. We make them and break them each year, but we shouldn’t stop making them because we often, sometimes or always break them.
Marriage vows are also pledges:
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. I take you, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 40,000 people break that pledge every year. Greg Norman broke it very quickly and is now ready to take it again!!
Ben May wrote:
What [Sue Brooks] wrote initially was right – how can you say you will never speed. Intentional or Unintentional – saying that you will do all these things is being idealistic.
For some people, it is also being idealistic to make a resolution to stop smoking, or a vow to love your partner until death. So in future, please don’t make these commitments; be realistic and don’t even try to become a better, safer, happier or healthier person.
As Ben points out:
Sign all the petitions, pledges, votes or whatever – but until drivers actually do something, and take personal accountability and responsibility on the road, little is going to change.
I suppose what I’m pointing out is that a pledge is about your intentions. No one can guarantee that they will never smoke again, never divorce their partner or never speed again. As I wrote in my last post, people make mistakes. But that shouldn’t stop them from trying to do the right thing and make a pledge, a resolution or a vow to change.