I caught up with a colleague the other day that I had not seen in some time.
We both said it had been too long.
He promised to call me the following week to do lunch.
That never happened. And I kind of didn’t expect it to.
Why do we say things that we know we won’t do?
Stop Saying What You Won’t Do
Chances are you have made promises this week that you won’t carry out.
Or you have said things that you know that you can’t do.
We are good at telling ourselves and others what they want to hear,
Not necessarily the truth, or what they should hear.
We are good at saying to others…
- I’ll get back to you next week.
- You’ll have the finished report by tomorrow.
- I’ll call you right back.
And just as willing to saying to ourselves…
- I am going to get in shape.
- I am going to write a book.
- I am going to stop doing <insert bad habit>.
Yet in most cases, these are hollow statements.
Mean What You Say, Do What You Say
Life is much easier when we don’t make false promises.
We load ourselves up with false obligations and promises that burden our mind and time.
Instead, stick to the truth. Stay within the bounds of what you can and will do.
Here are some tips to ensure that you mean what you say, and that you do it:
- Say No – When the answer should be “No,” then make sure you say “No.” This one skill can save you much time and effort in things you shouldn’t be doing in the first place.
- Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep – If you know you can’t do it, then don’t even go there in the first place. “Don’t write checks that your body can’t cash.”
- Tell the Truth – The truth isn’t always what people (yourself included) want to hear. Yet, it is usually the shortest and best answer. Don’t be mean, curt, or rude. Just stay true to the facts.
- Write It Down - If you want to make sure that you do it, then write it down on your list. Things not written down tend to slip our mind. Write it down so you don’t have to remember it later.
- Schedule It – Even better, schedule the follow-up… now. If you are promising someone you will do something for them, put it on your calendar. If you are promising yourself that you will do something, put it on your calendar.
- Have the Discipline – Doing what you say is about the discipline to follow-through. Many people lack the willpower to actually do the work. Commit yourself to doing the hard work even when you don’t feel like doing it. (This is how progress is made.)
Start With The Truth
Don’t burden yourself and others with false promises.
Stop tell yourself things you aren’t going to do.
Stop telling others things that you have no intention of doing.
It makes life simpler.
The truth is always more productive.
Question: Do you catch yourself saying things that you know you won’t do?