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5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Promises

promises photoWe make commitments to others and ourselves all the time. The question is: Do we keep them?

When we fail to keep a promise, it communicates to the other person that we don’t value him or her. We have elected to place something else ahead of our commitment. This can result in an erosion of trust in our relationships.

More importantly, we are telling ourselves that we don’t value our own word. Not keeping a promise to yourself is the same as disrespecting yourself. Eventually, it can harm our self-esteem, confidence, and experience of life.

Make it concrete

Make sure that are certain that you will be able to do something before you commit to it. Then be clear on the expectation, action, or result that is agreed to. Then set a firm deadline. Firm promises that are set in stone are more likely to be kept. Never make a promise that you are not sure you can keep.

Get it in writing

Businesses and professionals most often get themselves into trouble when they have made a verbal agreement. The difficulty with verbal agreements is that they are often vague and tend to be perceived differently by both parties. You may not even agree when a promise or agreement unfulfilled, because you have differing views on what precisely was promised.

Memories are faulty, perception is skewed, and wording tends to be unclear. Make it a practice to get professional agreements in writing. This makes is much easier for both parties to keep their word. When both parties are very clear on what is expected; it is more likely that agreements will be upheld.

Small promises count

People often dismiss small promises as unimportant, but that is just not true. You don’t call back when you say you will, you don’t repay a loan that’s outstanding, or maybe it just doesn’t seem important to keep a confidence. If you fail to take the minor promises seriously, you destroy trust and damage your reputation.

Failing to keep these small promises gives the appearance of being disorganized and irresponsible. You make the other person feel dismissed and unimportant. Conversely, you can build trust by demonstrating that you keep your word even on seemingly inconsequential things.

Perhaps even more important, when people realize that you consistently keep smaller promises, they will reasonably believe that you can keep your word on important things. This will actually help build your reputation as a trustworthy person.

Do it anyway

Don’t rationalize or make excuses for yourself. Push yourself a bit, work a little longer, sacrifice something else, persist, and persevere, despite what it costs you. Both the external and internal cost of failing will be much higher.

Following through on a difficult promise not only gives you satisfaction, but also raises the level of respect you receive from others. If you truly want to be successful in life, have high quality relationships, and advance your career or business, hold promises as sacred agreements, don’t miss deadlines, and make a practice to follow through on your commitments. Don’t make excuses.

That said, on rare occasions something truly unavoidable prevents you from making a deadline or keeping a promise. When this happens, ask to alter the promise or be released from the agreement. Most people will understand if you have consistently kept your promises in the past.

Expect the same of others

Most often, people will keep their word. You should expect the best of people and give them your trust until they prove they are not worthy of it. Don’t make the mistake of taking agreements you make with others lightly. Be clear about what they are promising, and then hold them to it.

However, when someone fails to keep their word, don’t excuse them. Be clear and honest in your disappointment. Remind them of their broken promise and let them know how failure to act on their part has inconvenienced you, cost you, hurt you, or let you down.

When this happens, don’t expect them to keep their promise in the future. Trust once damaged, must be earned again. Be sure to surround yourself with those types of people that you can depend on. Then you can be relatively confident they will follow through on their promises and you don’t need to check up on them.

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15 Really Simple (and Inexpensive) Ways to Go a Bit Greener

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I’d share some really easy ways to “Go Greener.” It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money, just a bit of commitment. If everyone did just one thing in a little bit more earth-friendly manner, we could make a huge difference in the world we are leaving to our children.

Thanks to the website The Daily Green for sharing these 15 easy ways to go green.


1. Avoid Waste: Recycle

For every trashcan of waste you put outside for the trash collector, about 70 trashcans of waste are used in order to create that trash. To reduce the amount of waste you produce, buy products in returnable and recyclable containers and recycle as much as you can.

2. Give up Paper and Plastic Bags

Twelve million barrels of oil were used to make the billions of paper and plastic bags consumed in the United States last year. The best option is reusable shopping bags made of cotton, nylon or durable, mesh-like plastic. Keep the reusable shopping bags handy so you have them on your next shopping trip.

3. Stop Buying Bottled Water

Did you know that it takes 26 bottles of water to produce the plastic container for a one-liter bottle of water, and that doing so pollutes 25 liters of groundwater? Start using reusable water bottles instead made from materials like stainless steel or aluminum that are not likely to degrade over time. If you choose a plastic water bottle, check the number on the bottom first: Plastics numbered 3, 6 and 7 could pose a health threat to you, so look for plastics numbered 1, 2, 4 or 5.

4. Stop Receiving Unwanted Catalogs

Each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers. All those catalogs require more than 53 million trees and 56 billion gallons of wastewater to produce — and many of us don’t even know how we got on so many mailing lists! Save the millions of trees and billions of gallons of water by putting a stop to unwanted mail. Go online to for help.

5. Give up Conventional Detergents

Many natural detergents today are made to clean clothes just as effectively in cooler water temperatures. Choose detergents and other laundry products that are plant-based, concentrated and biodegradable.

6. Give up Hot Water in the Washer

The Daily Green says that almost 90 percent of the energy is used to heat the water, and most clothes will come clean in cold water. So switch your washing machine’s temperature setting.

7. Give up the Clothes Dryer

The second biggest household energy user, after the refrigerator, is the clothes dryer. Overdrying your clothes can end up costing you money as well. When using the dryer, clear the lint filter after each load and dry only full loads of clothes. Dry heavy fabrics separately from lighter ones, and don’t add wet clothing in the middle of the drying cycle. And remember that hanging clothing outside in the sun and air to dry is the most energy-efficient method — or use a folding indoor rack all year long.

8. Check for Leaks in Your Toilet

A leaking toilet can waste anywhere between 30 and 500 gallons of water every day, so any leak should be repaired. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl after 15 minutes or so, the toilet has a leak. Leaking is usually caused by an old or poorly fitting flapper valve, which can be replaced by any amateur DIY-er!

9. Give up Conventional Toilet Paper

If every household in the United States bought just one four-pack of 260-sheet recycled bath tissue, instead of the typical tissue made from virgin fiber, it would eliminate 60,600 pounds of chlorine pollution; preserve 356 million gallons (1.35 billion liters) of fresh water and save nearly 1 million trees. The best news is that a four-pack of recycled toilet paper costs about the same as a four-pack of conventional toilet paper.

10. Give up Paper Towels

Paper towels create a lot of unnecessary waste. Instead of loading up on them, buy some reusable microfiber towels, which grip dirt and dust like a magnet, even when they get wet. When you are finished with them, toss the towels in the wash and reuse them again.

11. Run a Fully Loaded Dishwasher

Running a fully loaded dishwasher — without pre-rinsing the dishes — can use a third less water than washing the dishes by hand, saving up to 10 to 20 gallons of water a day. Simply scrape large pieces of food off your dishes and let the dishwasher handle the rest. And by using the air-dry setting (instead of heat-dry), you will consume half the amount of electricity without spending a dime.

12. Lower the Temp in Your Fridge

First, set the refrigerator thermostat to maintain a temperature between 38 and 42 degrees (F). This temperature will protect your food from spoiling while saving electricity. Twice a year, make sure to clean the condenser coil at the back of your fridge. Condenser coils tend to get dusty, making them less efficient.

13. Give up 2 Degrees

According to The Daily Green, electric power plants are the country’s largest industrial source of the pollutants that cause global warming. By snuggling under a blanket on the couch on a snowy winter night instead of turning up the heat, or enjoying the breeze from a fan in the height of summer instead of turning up the air conditioning, you can save pounds of pollution. Set your thermostat in winter to 68 degrees F (20° C) or less during the daytime and 55 degrees F (13° C) before going to sleep or when you are away for the day. And during the summer, set thermostats to 78 degrees F (26° C) or more.

14. Give up Dry Cleaning

Until recently, almost all dry cleaners used a cancer-causing chemical called perchloroethylene, also known as Perc or TCE. Traces of this toxic chemical remain on your clothes after dry cleaning and will evaporate into the air in your car or home. If you have to use a traditional dry cleaner, take your dry cleaning out of the plastic and air it outside or near a window before hanging it in your closet. To avoid the need for dry cleaning, choose fabrics that don’t require dry cleaning at all.

15. Stop Wasting Gas

You can increase your gas mileage by checking your tire pressure. More than a quarter of all cars and nearly one-third of all SUVs, vans and pickups have underinflated tires, according to a survey by the Department of Transportation. If every American kept his or her tires properly inflated, we could save 2.8 billion gallons (10.6 billion liters) of gasoline a year — and help curb global warming pollution — so inflate the tires on your car or truck and continue to do so once a month or as necessary.


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“True Grit” May Be Your Best Weapon



No I’m not talking about true grit the movie, though John Wayne certainly played a character who had plenty of grit to go around…

I’m talking about that thing inside of us that allows us to do what seems impossible…

To knock on yet another door

To pitch the idea one more time

To keep walking when we so badly want to turn around

To dig in our heels when we desperately want to flee

To get up and put one foot in front of the other and do what needs to be done, when we really want to crawl into little ball and let the world pass us by

To pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and try one more time

It’s that point, that moment, when we take a deep breath, pick up our head, take hold of the steel in our spine and do that thing which we think we cannot do. Grit is that mysterious and unexplainable quality that allows us to do it anyway.

We see it in the writer who submits yet another proposal when the first 50 have been turned down. We see it in the painter who keeps on painting though no one has ever bought a painting. We see it in the single mother who works two jobs trying to provide for her children. We see it in the entrepreneur who believes so strongly in his idea that he will not quit.

We see it and those who have managed to triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. If we look around, we can see examples in the people we encounter every day. And if we look carefully, we can hopefully find it within ourselves…

Think about your life… When have you shown grit?…Or when do you wish you’d shown more?

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Mini-Mission: Know What You’re Committed To


Have you ever given this question serious thought?

Some people are committed to their career, some their marriages, others children, perhaps a cause, their religion or spiritual beliefs, maybe being true to their inner selves, finding and serving their purpose, possibly having fun, avoiding conflict, keeping the peace, learning, fitness, health, and the list goes on and on…

This week’s Mini-Mission: Consider, Decide What are you committed to

Ponder this for a minute. One caution though, your first knee-jerk response may not be the truth…It may be what you think the truth “should be.” What you think you ought to be committed to, what others expect of you. Sit with that just for a moment. Wait until the answer really feels true. You aren’t going to broadcast this; it’s private, solely for your own personal awareness.

No guilt here, no expectations. The truth is the truth. And it may well be that there is more than one answer. We are complex creatures, it’s reasonable for us to be committed to more than one thing, but there’s usually some form of hierarchy or priority.

What if you say you’re committed to fitness, yet you don’t exercise regularly? Are you truly committed? Probably not. You purport to have a strong commitment to your career, but you have to drag yourself to work every day. That’s not commitment, that’s just something you have to do to pay the bills. And, that’s OK.

The value in asking this question, knowing what you’re committed to, helps to set your priorities in life and in your days. It also helps you to set better goals if you wish and more importantly to understand why you have difficulty changing habits in some areas more than others.

What you do with the answer is up to you. Start by asking the question. Ponder the answer. Do you wish the answer were different? Do you want to be more committed to certain things? Why aren’t you? What’s going on in that mind of yours?

If it’s a should and not a YES, accept that, acknowledge it. It moves down on the priority ladder for sure. That’s valid. That’s simply honoring your truth. On the other hand, if you truly want to increase your level of commitment in some area, ask yourself what it would take to up your commitment. Do you need to shift your thinking? Ask yourself if you can look at the situation in another way? Use some fresh eyes…

So, this week’s Mini-Mission: Consider, Decide What are you committed to

It’s a good one. Possibly life-changing.

Care to share? Leave a comment or share on our Facebook page!

(Just joining us… Find all of the Mini-Missions here…)

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Put It Back! Adopt This Surprisingly Simple Life Truth Now

Book shelf


It’s a deceptively simple, yet surprisingly comprehensive rule that we should all subscribe to. Life would certainly be better if we all did.

Put it back!

It’s just that simple. I try…never perfectly…but I try to live by this mantra. I think this is one of those rules that we either learn at an early age…or we don’t. But it’s never too late to adopt, try it on, see how it feels. I promise it really does make your life easier and more pleasant for everyone around you as well. A better life all around.

It’s a good and wise philosophy. Whether it’s a stapler you’ve used, a coat you’ve worn, or peanut butter you’ve taken out of the cupboard. Whether it’s money you’ve borrowed or the last piece of copy paper you’ve used. The philosophy is still the same.

Put it back. Put it away. Hang it up. Return it. Replace it. Refill it.

If you’ve never thought about it this way before…I’m suggesting that you start thinking about it now.

Your thoughts?

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