7 Tips to avoid broken promises

Integrity is a highly valued attribute in the modern world. It is important that you be seen to keep your word. A reputation for broken promises will quickly damage your credibility and trustworthiness. This is damage that is difficult to repair. If you lack credibility and trustworthiness, nobody is going to want to employ you or do business with you. Outside of the workplace, your relationships will also suffer. Therefore, it is imperative that you avoid broken promises.

When you live with integrity, people know what to expect from you. They know that you can be trusted to keep your word. It makes it easier for them to let you into their inner circle and you can quickly move from being an acquaintance to being a trusted aide.  People learn your values and what is important to you. One of the easiest ways to demonstrate integrity is to avoid broken promises.

Integrity improves the quality of your relationships with others. It also improves your relationship with yourself. When you live with integrity, you are clear on your values and beliefs. Difficult decisions are easier because you know that you must make decisions in accordance with your values and belief system. Making decisions this way allows you to accept the consequences of these decisions and live with a clear conscience. Your stress levels are reduced and your happiness and quality of life increase. Again, it is imperative that when you make a commitment to yourself, you keep it and avoid broken promises.

7 Tips to avoid broken promises

If you want to avoid broken promises, the following tips will help you to do so:

1. Learn to say ‘No’

If you agree to do something which you do not want to do, you are likely to break that promise if a better opportunity arises. For example, you reluctantly agree to go for a drink with your friend John. Another friend, Paul, has a spare ticket to see your favourite band, on the same night, and offers it to you. If you go to the concert, you let John down. If you keep your promise to John, you miss the opportunity to see your favourite band. All this arises because you agreed to do something which you didn’t really want to do.

It is easier to avoid situations like this by learning to say ‘No’. The quickest step to reducing the number of broken promises you make is to make less promises.

 2. Know your assertiveness rights

It is easier to say ‘No’ to the things which you do not want to do if you are familiar with your rights. You do not have to agree to anything. If somebody tries to pressure you into it, remind them of your rights. Know your rights and defend them.

 3. Make promises which you intend to keep

It seems obvious, and it is, but many people put little thought into something before they agree to it. When another person makes a request of you, take the time to consider it carefully. Consider what implications it might have and take as much time as you need. Only give your answer when you have made a clear decision.

Other people might find this behaviour strange at first but when they see that they can trust your word, they will soon learn to embrace it.

 4. Be clear and specific with your promises

When you make a promise, you need to know exactly what you have promised.  Know in advance what you agreeing to. If there is any doubt ask the other person to be more specific. It is important that you leave no room for assumptions e.g. if George asks you to help him on Saturday, ask George to be specific about the help he requires .It may be something which you cannot do or which you do not want to do. Be specific from the start; it will help you to avoid disappointment later on.

 5. Record all promises

In the early part of my working career, I used to make a lot of promises. I genuinely intended to keep all of these promises. The problem was that when I was busy, my memory occasionally slipped. I’d forget a commitment which I had made and somebody would be upset.

You can learn from my experience – keep a written record of all the promises you make. With calendars and task managers available on mobile devices, there really is no excuse for not recording your promises. One key point though; only use one calendar and one task manager. You then know exactly where to look to ensure you are keeping your commitments.

 6. Communicate early

There will be times when you cannot keep a promise, e.g. something important crops up, technology fails, you or a loved one falls ill etc. This is a normal part of life and if managed correctly, the affected people do not necessarily view it as a broken promise. There is one golden rule to manage these situations – communicate early. As soon as you know there is a problem, or potential for a problem, let the other person know. Even if the time you agreed has passed, contact them at the first opportunity. Your sincerity and honest will shine through.

 7. Suggest an alternative

If you would like to agree to a request but something doesn’t suit; suggest an alternative. You may not be able to offer the exact help that they are looking for but you can offer an alternative. Also, when you find yourself unable to keep a promise which you have made, you can offer an alternative to the other person.

Offering an alternative demonstrates that you do really want to help but you cannot meet all of the other person’s requirements.

When you have a clear set of values which you are committed to living by, you will find it much easier to live with integrity and avoid broken promises. You can learn more with Values Based Living.

Integrity is a highly valued attribute. It builds credibility and trustworthiness which, in turn, help to build strong relationships. When you live with integrity, people know where you stand.  They know that you don’t make broken promises so, if you say you will do something, you will do it. They take you at your word. If you decline their request, they are more understanding. The same is true when you make promises to yourself. If you make broken promises, your confidence and self belief will suffer but if you keep those promises, you will become more confident. Your health and happiness will steadily increase.

Avoiding broken promises is just one step on the path to living with integrity but it is a very important and powerful step. If you have any tips for avoiding broken promises, please share them in the comments.

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