How To Reliably Live Up to Promises You Make

Aristoteles said, “A promise made must be a promise kept.” I’m sure we all agree with that. However, what do we see as a promise?

How often do we say “Yes” to something, and we don’t live up to it – or, at least not by the time we said we would? Is that “Yes” a promise?

An Example: My Promise to Write Brilliance Nuggets Every Day for One Year

I committed to writing daily Brilliance Nuggets for one entire year. I made that commitment after testing it for a few days. My accountability comes from you, the readers. You would know whether I kept my promise. Given the nature of the Brilliance Nuggets, not keeping my promise would feel awful to me. Instead of demonstrating that it is possible to keep writing every day, I would prove the opposite. Thus, I have set myself up for success. No matter what, I will keep writing every day for the entire year. Only a dire emergency could stop me.

This philosophy, aka commitment, is working. I have been writing every day, through every holiday. I kept writing when I got sick. I wrote yesterday’s nugget in the car while driving to a spontaneous gettogether with friends. (Yes, it would be great to write some nuggets ahead of time – sometimes that works; often it doesn’t.)

There is a lesson in that experience.

How To Reliably Live Up to Promises You Make

  1. Be thoughtful about the promises you make. A casual “Yeah, I can do that” when someone asks you to take on a task is a promise, too. Consider, can you take it on? Are you committed to taking it on?
  2. Set up accountability when you make a promise that is not a “slam dunk,” but it needs additional commitment from youA public declaration of your promise is potent. Or, declare your promise to a coach. Saying it to a friend can work, too, IF that friend doesn’t let you off the hook too quickly (most friends are too nice to give you real accountability).

Declaring A New Promise

I’m declaring that I will not eat or drink anything (other than water) after 8 pm for one week. This promise starts today.

I’m Inviting You!

I am extending two invites:

  1. Let’s celebrate! This coming Thursday, March 10, I will reach my halfway point on my journey to write for a year. 
    • If you are in the DFW area, I invite you for an evening gettogether at my house in Flower Mound, Texas.
    • I will set up a 30-minute Zoom session for those who want to celebrate and talk about things on your mind for those not in the area. 
    • If you wish to participate in either the in-person or Zoom gettogether, please send me a comment, and I will share details with you.
  2. Do you have a promise you want to make publically? Please send me what you want to promise through the comment section. 

I’m Curious

  • Do you have a promise you want to declare in this blog?
  • Will you celebrate with me?

Live Brilliantly,

Dr. Stephie

P.S.: I appreciate you commenting and sharing this Brilliance Nugget with others. Thank you!

Stephie Althouse

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