The Abandoned Exercise Bike…and Other Broken Promises

We purchased that piece of exercise equipment because it promised to make us fit and slim. We bought that expensive ‘miracle’ cream because it promised to reduce our wrinkles. We ordered the latest and greatest cooking gadget because it promised to save us time in the kitchen.

When we buy an item, what we are really buying is the promise that is marketed to us.

How many items do you have in your home that broke their promise to you? If you are like most people, you probably have quite a few.

For many of us, it’s hard to let go of these items, not because of the thing itself, but because we don’t want to let go of the dream – or the illusion – that this item will one day prove it’s worth by making our lives better.

What we are really holding on to is a wish that things were different.

But holding on to these items won’t make things different. If they were going to fulfill their obligation to you, they would have done it by now. Letting go of them, and all the ‘shoulds’ that go with them (“I should be slimmer”, “I should look younger”, “I should be a better cook”), is what will actually make our lives better.

Once you let go of these items, you’ll release the unrealistic expectations – and the guilt that perhaps comes along that that. And you’ll eliminate the reminders of broken promises and money wasted. These items owed you something but they didn’t deliver. You don’t owe them anything, especially your loyalty. Rather than continuing to give them room and board, kick them to the curb!

So tell me, what items broke their promise to you? And are you ready to let them go?


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This post has 11 comments

  • Awesome article…but I’m keeping my wrinkle cream! lol

  • Funky Lily says:

    Actually, what takes up the most space in my closet are clothes that no longer fit me, but that are too nice to let go. The souvenirs I bring home from a vacation are beautiful T-shirts – not the cheap kind. So I’m hanging on to the souvenirs!

    Funky Lily

    • AMS says:

      If the t – shirts no longer fit have you ever thought of having a t-shirt quilt made out of them? You get to keep them and cuddle up under them on the sofa!

  • LolaAloha says:

    Wow, this was an amazing article.

    I thought about many of the things that I’ve purchased over the years, but I had never really thought about the deeper meaning behind those purchases. I once bought a beautiful suit in a size that was a bit too small (of course hoping to fit into it after I lost a few pounds), but also because I was pursuing a new career (in middle age) in which I should look sophisticated and pulled together. I didn’t get the job I wanted (not yet anyways), but I have lost the weight so the suit now fits. Now I really do need to build the confidence to pursue my dream of a career overhaul.

    But I have loads of other things (especially clothing) that have not fulfilled their promises (and never will) so I’ll be gathering them together to get rid of.

    Thanks for a great article Hellen. You rock!!!

  • Anita says:

    This article and picture of the exercise machine speaks to me in volumes!!

    I bought an elliptical machine last Christmas. It is now October and I have only used it about 7 times since then. I had great hopes and dreams of using it 5 times a week so I can lose weight, but it sits there at the edge of my bed – unused and untouched. It stares at me making me feel guilty each and every morning. Thank you for this article…it is indeed timely. I am going to get rid of it, and the empty promise it came with, this weekend.

    • Anita, I’m sure you are not alone, especially when it comes to the guilt we feel around unused exercise equipment. I want to congratulate you for having the courage to get rid of it. I think you will find it very liberating. And thanks for sharing this with us. You are an inspiration!

  • audreyd says:

    Hi Hellen:
    Thank you for this interesting article. Even though I try to exercise regularly, my exercise bike just doesn’t work as well as I’d like it to. My answer to that is to get rid of it and get one more suited to what I need, which I will do sooner than later.

    Hellen, you have always given me the strength to get rid of things that aren’t needed in my life, especially after the passing of my Mom and in-laws, there was so much and for that I commend you. Now I just have to organize other things for my husband and I, so we can enjoy our life together.

    Thank you for inspiring me and keep sending for e-mails.

  • Karen M says:

    Yeah we all have that stuff! Things I bought that don’t work anymore, (probably never did to begin with just wishful thinking), things given to us by friends and relatives, that mean well but either you have no space for, or use for. I have that stuff, and it seems a lot of it, I have been gathering together stuff, but missed the garage sale season, so now as my home becomes comfortable my garage is a mess, will organize before it gets to cold, and set the date for next years garage sale in pen and bold letters! (funny how much stuff I had, I think I own a mountain 🙂

    • pisgah2005 says:

      If you don’t want to wait for yard sale season, it’s remarkably easy to just donate everything to charity. It’s a win/win/win situation…you get your house and garage cleaned out quickly and get a deduction on your taxes, the charity gets items to sell to support its missions, and the customer that shops at the charity gets items at a discount. Some charities will even pick up donated items. I come from a family that loves to both have and shop yard sales, but I’ll go the donation route every time!

      • You bring up a very good point – you can receive immediate gratification from donating rather than waiting for a garage sale (which maybe keeps getting put off till later – let’s face it, they are a lot of work and who has the time?). Anyone else want to chime in? To donate or to sell at a garage sale?

  • […] Hellen Buttigieg posted an amazing column about holding on. The image of “The Abandoned Exercise Bike…And Other Broken Promises” first caught my eye – a picture of an old exercise bike in the middle of an empty and […]