It’s easy to make promises. You just have to say that you will do something. It’s just talk. We make promises to our coworkers, family, kids, and friends. We make promises to everyone. But it’s a lot harder to keep them. Keeping promises means actually doing what you said you would do.
One solution to keeping promises could be to not make promises at all, but that means you are no longer reliable and trustworthy to others. So instead of taking the inactive path, think of applying some new tactics:
1. Don’t over-promise
The bigger the promise, the less likely you are to live up to it. Don’t just say what the person wants to hear. Tell them what you think you can reasonably offer. For example, if someone asks if you can come to their graduation party, but you have another party the same day, don’t say yes because they want you to say yes. Say that you might be able to and stick to it.
2. Deliver well
Give it your best. When your boss asks you to do a special task, complete the task to the best of your ability. Don’t under-do it. If the task involves several requirements, don’t just do some of them. Do them all!
When is the last time you forgot a promise that you made? Write it down the next time, even if it is something small. Every promise counts. If you are finding your schedule filling up, try prioritizing so that the most important things get done first.
4. Be cautious
When someone is asking you do something or when you are expected to do something, think before you speak. You might promise someone too much if you respond to quickly. By taking your time, you are more likely to promise exactly what you can give.
5. Be communicative
When you make your promise, be as concise as possible. If the description of your promise is vague, then the other person may assume more of you. Say exactly what it is that you are willing to promise. After you make the promise, communicate with the person often. If you find that you cannot deliver on time or as well as you thought you could, then communicate that as soon as possible. By keeping in contact, you are showing the other person that you are making an effort to keep your promise.
6. Be consistent
Make promises that are similar in nature. In this way you can be sure of yourself and that your are not making too big of a promise for yourself. Similar to running long distances, the runner needs to pace him or herself. If the runner goes to slowly, they will not finish in time, and if they go to fast, they will tire out. Balance is key.
7. It takes effort
It isn’t easy to deliver on your promises, and it will never be easy. Like most things, delivering on your promises requires effort. They will not make themselves. Keep pushing yourself until you get absolutely everything done.
8. Follow up
If you stick to your word, then maybe ask if there’s anything else needed. Stay present and available. If you didn’t follow through on your promise, then follow up. Explain why you could not keep your word and how you will make up for it. Then, actually do it.
9. If you can overdo something, then overdo it.
Give it everything you’ve got… and then some. Keep your promises at your own pace, don’t offer too much, and deliver more than expected. You will be responsible, and people will have more trust in you.
Even as a baby, you were making commitments and sometimes you just didn’t deliver.: How to Cope When You Fail to Honor a CommitmentFeatured photo credit: Praying Hands in black background via Shutterstock