Promises are only as strong as the person who gives them.Stephen Richards
We live in a world of broken promises. We live in a time when people treat their words lightly. We tell a friend we will call her next week for lunch knowing full well we do not have the time to do so. We promise a co-worker we will bring in that new book we love so much knowing full well that we never lend out our books.
We promise our children a fun-filled holiday knowing well that our jobs don’t allow that. And we promise ourselves this will be the year we will get back into shape, simplify our lives and have more fun without any real intention of making the significant life changes necessary to achieve these goals.
Why Don’t We Keep Our Word?
We make promises for an awful lot of reasons, and our intentions are usually good. For example, we want to help other people, to make them happy, or to make something happen. But, sadly, our actions don’t always measure up to the promises that we make.
Some of the reasons we don’t keep our word include:
- We don’t realize that we’ve made a promise
- We forget what we’ve said.
- We get distracted by other events.
- We lose that zeal when we realize that keeping our word is harder than we anticipated.
- We lack the power to do what we’ve said we’d do.
The Impact of “False” Promises
Saying things we don’t mean becomes a habit when we practice it long enough. The real problem is that when you don’t keep your word, you lose credibility. When you lose credibility, you break the bonds of trust. And breaking the bonds of trust ultimately leads to broken relationships.
Some of the impacts of false promises include:
- You may get away with letting someone down once or twice. But the consequences can be deep and enduring if you go back on your promises too often, whether or not it’s intentional.
- Your co-workers will likely hesitate to ask you for help again, and you might find yourself excluded from discussions.
- your coworkers and loved ones may disappoint with your behaviour, or lose respect for you.
Are You a Promise-Breaker?
Chances are, you do occasionally break a promise – you’re human, after all! But it’s worth thinking about how dependable you are as a colleague or as a friend. When you break a promise, no matter how small it may seem to you, but they can damage a relationship or your reputation. Think about it — when someone else breaks a promise to you or gets caught in a lie, doesn’t that make you feel violated or cheated? You can’t help wondering whether you were wrong to ever trust that person. I know we have to be realistic. Life moves at the speed of light and we often have to pick and choose how we spend our time but I feel
5 Tips To Keep Your Promise
we sometimes need strategies that will help us to stick to what we say.
Here are some tips to follow:
1. Go on a “Truth-Fast”
To develop an honest philosophy, begin to monitor how many small untruths you tell over a week. Go on a “truth fast” for the next seven days and vow to be completely honest in all your dealings with others – and with yourself.
2. Don’t be “Impulsive”
We often make promises impulsively. But, it’s wiser to stop and think before you agree to act. Check your availability. Be sure what you’re committing to. Don’t say “yes” if you’ve any doubt that you’ll be able to keep a promise. Instead, politely decline the request.
3. Be “Motivated”
It’s much easier to keep a promise when you genuinely want to do so. You’re excited and you’ll not let anything get in your way.
4. Be “Honest”
It can be hurtful to refuse the requests for help or to admit that you don’t have the capacity or the ability to do something. But, it’s far better than giving people false hope to people, or to be dishonest.
5. Be “Forgivable”
Some mistakes are excusable. If you can’t keep a promise because of an uncontrollable event, such as a family illness, most people will understand that the lapse was unintentional. On the other hand, breaking a promise intentionally is different — you’ll have to face the consequences.
How you fulfil your promises either strengthens or weakens your relationship with your loved ones. Every time you fail to do the right thing, you fuel the habit of doing the wrong thing. Every time you do not tell the truth, you fuel the habit of being untruthful. When you promise someone you will do something, do it. Be a person of your word rather than being “all talk and no action.”
My promise to you? I will be back next week with another interesting article.