How to keep commitments

Do you know how to keep commitments? Are you the type of person who will follow through with what you say? How you keep commitments tells people a lot about who you are, and if they can rely on you coming through in their lives. 

These are big questions. We don’t think anyone goes around making commitments they cannot keep on purpose. However, we’ve all been let down by a friend who bails at the last minute. Learning how you can keep your commitments is a skill, and one which we’ve worked on ourselves with over the years. Here are our strategies to make commitments happen. 

How to keep commitments

We’re going to keep it straight to the point today. While there are many ways to ensure you follow through on your word, here are the top three we like to use.

Develop a list of automatic no’s

If you want to immediately open up your calendar, understand what you absolutely never say yes to. Most people simply say yes without understanding what yes means, or if they actually want to say yes to this commitment. It can be really tempting to be a “yes man,” but try your best to avoid this sort of personality. Three ways to not be a yes man: 

  • Define your priorities. If these things are scheduled (or if you know they will lose out to this ask) say no.
  • If your Saturday mornings are about spending time over coffee with your significant other, you know you can say no to your friend inviting you to a random Saturday workout.

Write Down your commitments

This is really simplistic, but putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and writing down your commitments is a great way to keep from forgetting them. This is especially useful with online calendars, which can be set to give you an alert at a designated time before your meeting / due date / etc.

For appointments and other exterior commitments, we like putting the event into your phone calendar, and telling it to alert you at the time you need to leave in order to be on time. This way you really can’t forget to go to Starbucks and meet that new business opportunity.

More more personal things, such as your intrinsically motivated goals, there’s something powerful about physically writing it down and sticking it somewhere you can’t miss it. For many people that is a bathroom mirror, car dashboard, or even taking a picture to save as the background of your phone. This is a great lesson in how to keep commitments to yourself.

Share your commitments and goals with an accountability partner

This tip builds on the idea of writing goals down where you cannot miss them. If you happen to be married or living with your significant other, sharing your commitments to yourself (aka your goals) can be extremely helpful. This person can ask you how things are going, and if they’re really a great partner they’ll remind you of your goals when you go back for that second piece of cake.

If you don’t have that sort of built in accountability from a human, use technology! You can have Google Assistant or Siri set a daily reminder and it will alert you of your goal. It can be as simple as, “hey Siri, will you remind me to make a healthy choice at dinner tonight at 6:00 pm?”

It will pop up on your phone, you won’t miss it, and you’ll hopefully skip the after-dinner cheesecake this time.

Learning how to keep commitments is a personal thing, as well.

Normally we think of keeping commitments to others as the focus. However, how many times do we let ourselves down on a daily basis? We quit on our goals, say tomorrow will be the start, and generally don’t know how to keep commitments with ourselves. Our challenge to you is to implement a couple of these strategies and see if they help you follow through with yourself, as well as the outside world.