People are terrible at keeping promises.
prom·ise /ˈpräməs/ a statement telling someone that you will definitely do something, or that something will certainly happen in the future.
Promises are important contracts that we make every day. If you think I'm a little over the top in calling it a contract, ask this Texas teenager about the power of a promise. When his parents were killed in a motorcycle accident days before his high school graduation, the police officer who delivered the news to to the teen made this promise about his graduation: “You are going to walk! Your mom and dad will have front-row seats looking down from heaven, and I’ll stand in their place. I’ve got your back.” He did... and he did.
There are tons of broken promise statistics out there, from New Year's resolutions to divorce rates to a typical day in Congress. Why are we so bad at keeping promises?
Well, for one thing, we have terrible memories. We may believe we remember exactly what we said, exactly when we said it... but the fact is study upon study has shown that our memories fail us more times than not.
===> Want to keep a promise? Write it down.
Another reason is that we get caught up in the excitement of the moment and we believe we're going to keep that promise. Then the weak spot comes. That's when we need someone to hold us accountable. You can do it through social media or you can do it by telling a trusted friend. Either way, knowing you can't walk away will get you through the valley.
===> Want to keep a promise? Share it with friends.
A third reason is that we don't think it through. If you've ever been held hostage by a deadline, you know how bad we can be at perceiving time. How much time a task might take... how much effort it really involved... how much of a commitment you are opening yourself up to. So when a promise becomes hard, unpleasant, or inconvenient we tend to just sweep it under the rug and walk away.
===> Want to keep a promise? Have a well thought-out plan.
Integrity comes down to 7 words: Do What You Say You Will Do. Don't throw promises around; with each broken promise a small measure of your integrity and credibility is chipped away.
Want to know more about the power of promises? Because I Said I Would is a non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Check out BISIW's founder, Alex Sheen's recent TED talk, the source of today's message. Or you can visit his website here.