5 rules about promises

I'm thinking about that moldy oldy rock song that goes: "don't make promises you can't keep."

That's how I live my life. If I say I'm going to do something, then, by God, I do it. This helps me sleep well at night, but sometimes it also makes me really, really tired. Why? Because I often over-commit when it comes to friends and family.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of grumbling because of all the favors I'm asked to do. Sure would make life easier sometimes if I just blew them off the way so many citizens of our modern world do. Still, I hate it when someone tells me they'll do something and they don't follow through. I just can't live that way.

If you are commitment-challenged and want to become better at keeping your word, follow these 5 rules:

1. Don't make a promise if you can't, won't, or don't intend to keep it.

2. Learn to say no. That's a biggie and one I need to work on.

3. Write it down so you won't forget the commitment you made and when you have to follow through. I won't begin to tell you what happens if I don't log something on my calendar.

4. If you create deadlines or contracts in business, plan on absolutely making sure you follow through. Future business may be on the line. This applies to getting that book manuscript to the agent on time or that article to your client on time. It also applies to showing up for meetings on time and everything else under the sun that is time-oriented.

5. If you can't keep your promise, contact the person immediately and try to negotiate another time. Sometimes it's okay to renegotiate if you find you can't keep your promise. This is assuming that it is a business promise.

Personally, your seven-year-old isn't going to understand the concept of renegotiating if you miss her school play when you promised to go.

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