How to Keep Your Promises

6 steps to commit and deliver

You’ve done it again! You promised to keep to a specific time or task, only to find you’ve got too many balls in the air and one of them keeps falling. Give yourself a break. It’s important to try to keep the promises you make, but you’re not the only one unable to juggle the demands of life all the time. There are strategies to help you become a promise keeper. There are also ways to make promise-keeping easier.

Psychotherapist and life coach Dr. Michael Hurd suggests that keeping your promises and goals simple and realistic is the basis for success. Take baby steps in order to ensure that promises made are promises kept.

Step 1: Keep the promise realistic

It’s important to consider the feasibility of the promise. The more difficult the commitment, the harder it is to keep. And the more complex the steps are to fulfill the final promise, the greater the demands on your time. Keeping it simple, real and entirely doable is sound strategy for fulfilling the promise you’ve made.

Step 2: Keep promises in sight

You can do this in a number of ways. The promise can be written on a sticky note and posted to the fridge, or pasted onto your computer screen. Alternatively, you can keep your promise in sight by reminding yourself of it whenever you look at the person or group of people you’ve promised something to. As long as it’s there, it’s not easily forgotten or put aside.

Step 3: Get accountability

Have someone you trust hold you accountable for keeping the promise. This person doesn’t need to be the recipient of the promise. They can act motivationally or lend a helping hand if necessary, assisting you to stay on track with the commitment.

Step 4: Report promise-keeping problems early

If you’re encountering difficulties keeping the promise, let someone know as soon as possible. The timeline for the promise can be discussed, and modification made if necessary. The earlier the problem is known, the better you will feel about the sense of difficulty, and the sooner you can negotiate to make things right.

Step 5: Plan your actions

If the promise is complex, it’s advisable to plan the steps needed to complete the entire process. If promise-keeping is simple, you may still choose to keep things visible and plot the easy steps needed to make sure the commitment is kept.

Step 6: Learn from mistakes

If you’re unable to keep a promise no matter how hard you try, look upon it as a learning experience. The next time you need to make a commitment, you might use specific strategies to assist with the process.

Everyone struggles to keep promises at some stages of life. It’s important to realize this and not berate yourself too forcefully if one or two promises are broken along the way. Keep positive about the promises you make. Admitting to breaking them in the past can remind you of your intentions to keep them in the future.

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