Why You Should Stop Making Commitments

Have you ever committed to something knowing you wouldn’t follow through? Unfortunately, I have. What does false commitment do to our self-confidence? By not keeping those casual promises, what are we doing to the faith others place in us?

If we’re going to increase our self-confidence and earn the trust of others, we have to stop making commitments. (Tweet that!)

Stop Making Commitments

Question: In a bacon-and-egg breakfast, what’s the difference between the Chicken and the Pig?
Answer: The Chicken is involved, but the Pig is committed!

Commit is a heavy word! It really has some weight behind it.

According to Webster, the word commit can mean as much as “to trust, pledge, obligate and bind.” Those are some serious words!

So, why should we stop making commitments?

Because each commitment that we fall short of decreases the trust we have in ourselves, as well as the amount of trust others are able to place in us.

Well, that just sounds like a challenge! I can keep every commitment that I make! Right?


Commitments come in all sizes. They can range from committing to another person in marriage, which is huge, to committing to wake up an hour earlier each day to work on personal development.

Telling your friend you’ll meet them for lunch at 12:30 is a commitment.

Whatever you’re committing to, you are obligated to follow through. If you make a commitment, you should have enough faith in yourself to trust that you will do what you said you will do, or DWYSYWD. You can read more about DWYSYWD, or dwizzy-wid, in the article here, and here.

Each commitment we make is a chance to prove to both ourselves and other people that we are trustworthy. There is no way that we can keep every commitment if we commit to everything. We have to learn to say “no.”

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If you say you’ll do something, you must do it. If know you can’t follow through, don’t set yourself up to fail as a result of over-commitment. Stop making promises you can’t live up to.

In The Speed of Trust, Stephen M. R. Covey wrote that we can increase our integrity by doing four things regarding commitments:

1: Don’t make too many.

“When you make a commitment to yourself, do so with the clear understanding that you’re pledging your integrity”

2: Treat a commitment you make to yourself with as much respect as you do the commitments you make to others.

“Whether it’s a commitment of time or a commitment to prioritize your energy and focus, treat it – and yourself – with respect.”

3: Don’t make them impulsively.

“Be careful about making commitments and…make sure they [are] made out of humility, and not pride.”

4: Understand that when keeping your commitment becomes hard, you have two choices.

“You can change your behavior to match your commitment, or you can lower your values to match your behavior. One choice will strengthen your integrity; the other will diminish it.”

Ouch! That last one really stung. We can either do what we told ourselves and the world we would do, or, we can become liars. Pretty harsh.

However, there is some hope for us both. Covey does offer some encouragement.

“There is absolutely nothing you can do that will increase integrity faster than learning how to make and keep commitments to yourself”

“Every time we make and keep a commitment to ourselves – large or small – we increase our self-confidence”

Question: How do you ensure that you follow through on your commitments? How do you build and develop trust?


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  • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

    Great topic – point number 4 is especially powerful. Nothing is neutral, these choices move us toward (or away) from who we want to be.

    it’s difficult when committing becomes a habit, thanks for sharing these freeing ideas.

    • http://www.ellorywells.com/ Ellory Wells

      You’re right Jon, nothing is neutral. I have people that I can count on and people I can’t, as I’m sure everyone does. Sometimes we have to have a built-in contingency plan.

      Thank you for commenting!

  • http://tithehacker.com/ Mike Holmes

    I actually agree with you on not making too many commitments. No one, except God, can be faithful to every promise. Great stuff Ellory

    • http://www.ellorywells.com/ Ellory Wells

      Thank you Mike. I thought this might be an eye-catching and important topic. You’re very right, thank you for sharing!

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    Great thoughts! Love the Speed of Trust book. I try and say no to the good so I can say yes and fully commit to the best.

    • http://www.ellorywells.com/ Ellory Wells

      Dan, I love that! We definitly have to learn to say “no” to the good, so we can say “yes” to the great!

      Anything good you’ve said “no” to that we can get motivation from?

      • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

        Personally I’ve been saying “no” for different online opportunities so I can work on my Ebook (Which will be out next month).