Deliver on your commitments and meet deadlines every time. This includes being on time for phone calls, appointments, meetings, and promises. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. If a commitment can’t be fulfilled; notify early and agree on a new commitment to be honored.

The ability to follow up on what is promised may be one of the most important qualities you can ask for in a person, and the most important mechanism behind a successful working team. If you don’t honor your commitments, it has a domino effect that quickly influences everyone around you and the ultimate success or failure of the team. When someone delays their part on a project, the time has to be made up somewhere, and its usually on the back of someone who can be depended upon to take up the slack.

A person who honors commitments will exhibit these three features:

  1. Respect – They respect the other person, their own word, and their own self. This person isn’t looking to get away with anything or cut corners.
  2. Communication – They make sure to communicate their intentions as clearly as possible so as to prevent failure.
  3. Productive Effort – They put 100% into honoring the commitment they have made.

If you’re worried that you don’t have what it takes to honor your commitments, here is some really good news: Honoring commitments is a choice, not a trait.  One choice at a time, commitment by commitment, you can become an honorable and dependable individual!

And here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Write down the commitment that has been made. Outlook is a great time management tool that can be used to invite others to join your calendar so everyone is in the loop.
  • Take every commitment seriously! Each of these commitments are little moments of truth, and an opportunity to create a positive impression about your character. TRUST is the seed for growing relationships, and healthy relationships are at the heart of successful, sustainable business.
  • Don’t over-commit. Believe it or not, people actually will respect you more when you know when to say “No” and recognize your own limitations. And when you take your commitments seriously, you’re less likely to over-commit.
  • Let the other person know as early as possible if you CAN’T keep a commitment. Schedule a new time to make it up and make every effort not to miss that deadline. Take responsibility for being unable to deliver–it will train you to better keep your commitments in the future.
  • Try to live by the old saying that “a deal is a deal”. No matter how agonizing it may be to keep a commitment that you ought not to have made in the first place, suck it up, keep your word, and learn for the next time!
  • If nothing else REMEMBER THIS: You can only honor and respect people and commitments when you honor and respect yourself. So if you need to start at the beginning, then start by keeping your word to yourself.

Most people who can’t keep commitments or won’t make commitments either don’t want to put in the work or they are afraid of failing. Others are perhaps afraid of their own power. It can be scary to think of failure, and even scarier to think of success. But honoring our commitments is just one small piece in the great puzzle of life, of self-expression, and why go through life with any other goal in mind than to bring forth the “highest expression of one’s self”? Nothing is free, so YES! Making commitments comes at a price. The price is your time, energy and effort. But the sometimes heavy load of responsibility is much lighter than the weight of disrespect or disappointment.