How do we make our promises easier to keep?

Check out these three tips from five-time TEDxTalk speaker and accountability expert Alex Sheen.

1. “Dishonesty charges interest”

I don’t struggle very much with being honest because I tell myself “Dishonesty charges interest.” I’d rather pay the cost of disappointing someone right now then to allow that disappointment to build unstoppable momentum. As you wait to tell the truth, other parties are working, making plans, spending resources, burning precious time… all with a false assumption. If I am going to have to pay the cost that comes with being honest, I’d rather pay it now. My reputation is too valuable to destroy it with surcharges.

2. “Does that need prep time?”

When I look at an entry in my calendar I ask myself, “Does this require prep time?” I have broken a lot of promises and showed up unprepared to many moments because I used to never ask this question. Scheduled meetings without scheduled preparation breeds a false sense of confidence. For example: Let’s say you have a weekly meeting scheduled with your significant other to talk about your relationship. This provides you both with a routine outlet to share your feelings and the awkward feeling out of bringing up serious or emotional matters. However, you never schedule time to prepare for this interaction and a couple examples you wanted to talk about escape you in the moment. In fact, you accidently choose the wrong words to express yourself and it sends the conversation in a bad direction. Scheduling time to prepare for this discussion could have helped you share your feelings in a more productive way and made a big difference in building a stronger relationship.

See something on your calendar? Ask yourself “Does that need prep time?” Schedule prep time for your promises.

3. Make a reason to routinely share quotes

After having literally thousands of in-person conversations with our supporters about their goals, I have noticed a significant pattern. People often recite quotes or sayings they learned from parents and grandparents. Many people have told me explicitly that these quotes helped them make a difficult, but correct decision.

Because of our work in character education and social media, researching and sharing quotes is part of my job. I do this so often that I have strange number of quotes memorized and this practice has changed my life. I come to a challenge and I match it to a quote that helps me move forward confidently. I am recommending that you create a reason to routinely share quotes in your life. Whether it’s a weekly text to your family or new slide in a weekly meeting at work, make quotes a part of a routine. It is one of the most effective ways to become a practical philosopher.

Is there a saying that runs in your family that you have found yourself repeating?