Saturday, May 17, 2008

Promises Kept

Promise little and do much. Hebrew Proverb

Most of us are so good at making promises! But how good are we at promises kept? I mean, we are all familiar with the let down of broken promises. However, if we are honest, most of us will admit we have been guilty ourselves.

1. Over promising
Often a broken promise is about over promising. Many of us do this because we want to please others or we feel pressured in certain situations and don't know how to say no.

2. Not thinking
So many of us just don't think beyond saying yes. We don't think of the reality of honoring that commitment.

Why Stop?
How big of a deal is this anyway? I mean, truth be known, over promising is everywhere.....

1. Relationship trouble
When we break promises to others, we compromise the trust that others have in us. This can take its toll on friendships, relationships and even our work.

2. More relationship trouble
If we promise too much and do it, resentment and anger can bubble under the surface. Or, as we know, pop to the top. This makes for more relationship trouble.

3. Stomach trouble
Over promising gives us anxiety. We get that knot in our stomachs, that sense of one more thing to worry about that we don't want to do.

4. Brain trouble.
Most of us don't feel great about ourselves when we are doing things we don't want to do, or, adversely, breaking commitments. It's just not good for our self worth.

How to keep promises and keep from over promising!

1. Know yourself.
Know your Achilles' Heel. Know the places and people you tend to over promise to, including pressure you may give yourself.

2. Know the situation.
Ask yourself: Am I able to do this? Do I want to do this? Will I do this?

3. Know how to say no.
a. Buy time. "I can call you about that tomorrow." "I will let you know tonight."
b. Say no. "I am sorry. I wish I could help."

4. Know what's right.
Remember you don't help others and you don't help yourself by over promising. Whether you aren't paying attention to your promises or you are struggling to stand up for yourself, try promising less. And remember, everything you practice over and over your get better at. Have fun working on this and imagine how great you will feel without unwanted and unfulfilled promises hanging over your head!

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