Stop Flaking Out: The Art of Keeping Commitments
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Valentine’s Day is just a couple days away and National Marriage Week is this week! I’ve been commemorating these occasions by sharing the love story of my husband and
While I won’t go as deep as the topic of marital relationships today (believe me…that’s coming), I want to start at the foundation. Do you find yourself making plans and then texting at the last minute to cancel? Do you make a commitment to do something for others and then fall short of your intentions? It doesn’t make you a bad person. However, being aware of your flaking is the first step to making an improvement. And it is important to improve. Why? Because when you’re a flake, you come across as untrustworthy, irresponsible and rude. I don’t think those are ways we want to come across. So here are some steps you can take to be intentional about keeping your commitments in the future.
1. Set Your Priorities
Before you commit, you’ve got to know what is most important to you. Don’t set these priorities after you make promises; this has to happen beforehand. Your faith should always come first. God is the foundation of my life and if that’s not tended to, nothing else can be successful. If God doesn’t come first for me, then I might as well make Him last. After that comes my relationship with my husband. Then comes your relationship to your children, family
Knowing your priorities will help you to determine what things you can commit to and which things you can’t. For instance, my husband and I have a weekly date night. If my family wants something from me on that night, I prioritize my husband over them. Now, there are times when the family matter is important and, at that point, I go to my husband and present the issue and then we make the decision together to deal with the family. At any point, he comes before everyone else (but God).
If you’re faced with potential commitments that conflict, consult your priorities and make your decision based off of that. Think you can commit to both? Not a good idea. The two may be in such conflict that flaking out on either becomes much too easy.
2. Know Your Capabilities
The next thing that is key to keeping your commitments is knowing exactly what you’re actually capable of. Don’t over-promise and under perform. You may think that you are pleasing people by immediately committing. However, if you say, “Sure I can be there!” Then you come back and say, “Actually, I was wrong. I can’t be there.” Then that’s a flake moment. It’s better to say, “Let me check on that and get back to you.” You’re not committed to anything and, if you can’t do it, you’ve not let down the person asking.
Check your calendar. Ask your spouse. Consult your schedule. Then if those things are in check and not in conflict with anything in priority, you’re free to make the commitment. Doing this makes those commitments easier to keep and less likely to be cancelled. This should make the people in your life very pleased at your level of commitment and your responsiveness to their needs.
3. Know Your Boundaries
Not only should you know what you’re capable of before committing
On top of that, if it’s not actually something you want to do, you have to be honest with yourself about that. Otherwise, you’ll be looking for reasons to cancel. Sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone is a positive thing. However, if it’s putting someone else’s feelings in jeopardy, it’s not worth the risk.
As you can see, keeping your commitments is more about when to make the commitments to make it harder to flake out. And, quite honestly, it’s up to you not to give into flaky tendencies. Know that commitments are important and they involve the feelings of other people. Flaking out might give you relief, but it causes the people around you to question their trust and dependence in you. Ultimately if you want to be seen as trustworthy and dependable, be seen as a person who keeps their commitments.
What about you? Do you think you have flake-out tendencies or do you have friends and family who are constantly flaking out on you? Could these steps help improve that tendency?