This year I beat myself up heavily about not keeping my word to someone on a project that literally would have taken me a week tops to complete. After speaking with them about it later and expressing my guilt, they were fine but I was left feeling like a disappointment. I vowed to do my best to never feel that again.
Maybe you struggle with it too? The feeling like you have to dodge people in the mall because you promised to do something you haven’t done yet? No? Just me?
Here’s five ways we can ALL better keep our word to people.
- Stop telling people you’ll do things you haven’t had time to truly consider.
I can be the queen of making impulse decisions. I get it. We want to help people. We can’t help everyone though. When it’s crunch time, and you’re in the midst of that exciting conversation, take a moment to take a deep breath. It’s okay to say, “you know what, that sounds awesome. I’d love to help in some way! Let me check my schedule. Even if I can’t be there in person, I can *enter an alternative*.” Sometimes we commit ourselves to things in excitement until the event actual comes up. We no longer want to go, or we no longer want to be attached to it. Whatever the reason, negate all of that by not committing yourself to anything until you give yourself the proper amount of time to consider if it’s really what you truly want to do.
- Say no a few times. It eventually gets easier.
If you’re anything like my sister, you have a habit of saying yes to things you don’t necessarily have time for. A lot of times, the reason people keep asking you to do things is because you keep saying yes. Say no to some people and yes only to those things you know you genuinely want to do. Don’t just say yes because you know people expect you to. You have a choice. If your choice is no, say so.
- Don’t tell people about decisions you’ve made unless you plan on keeping them.
Don’t get me wrong. You have the right to change your mind. But outside of close mentors, make those decisions by yourself. Stop taking other people on that roller coaster with you. If you are one of those people who are always changing their mind, eventually, people will stop believing you.
EXAMPLE: “Hey man, I’m thinking about starting a clothing line. I’m really excited.”
*Six months later* “Hey, whatever happened to your clothing line?”
Your word no longer carries any weight and those who believed in you start doubting you.
- Don’t make decisions based on how someone else feels about it.
You value EVERYONE ELSE’S OPINION OVER YOUR OWN.
Your best friend thinks the idea is dumb – you hate it too. Your mom tells you you should just do it – you go for it. Two months later, your sister asks questions (because you haven’t made any plans) so you start doubting it too. Make up your mind and stick to it. It’s your life, do with it what you will. This one basically goes hand-in-hand with number three. James 1:8 says “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Have clear direction or sit still until you get it. Find out the root of this problem. Why are you so indecisive? Why are all your decisions based on how someone else feels about your life? Being considerate is one thing. Missing out on potentially life-changing opportunities because you don’t know how to make up your mind is another. Is it fear? Or is it that you really don’t have direction?
- Stop disappointing yourself.
It becomes second nature to promise things to people and not keep your word when you do it to yourself all the time. I’ll be first to say that I’ve told myself on several occasions that I will commit to my health….read that book by the end of the month….get more rest…..not beat myself up. The amount of times I’ve followed through with those promises is a different story. In order to honor what you tell someone else, honor what you tell yourself. If YOU can’t depend on you, why should anyone else? Don’t pass along that feeling of disappointment and failure to other people. Commit to yourself first. Once you can successfully do that, then start lending yourself to others. As the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty vessel.”
All my Love,