Not doing what you say you’re gonna do is a habit. — A habit that is unsupportive of your success.
That’s what my old group coach used to say. In every single session.
Of course, we’re not just talking about not taking out the trash when you said you would, or not buying milk when you said you would. (Although those things might be symptoms of a bigger problem).
We’re talking never getting around to writing that novel. We’re talking friendships dying because you never took each other up on those empty words of “we should totally hang out”.
This is level not-having-the-guts-to-go-up-and-talk-to-that-someone-who-might-just-turn-out-to-be-the-love-of-your-life here.
The whole thing about not doing what you say is actually fairly simple, and I’m not gonna wait ‘till the end to say it:
Doing what you say feels natural. You say something, you do it. Whoomp; fair, square and simple.
But NOT doing what you say you’re gonna do causes, as I love putting it, a disturbance in The Force. We feel a certain discomfort. A dissonance. A discrepancy.
In one of my former articles, I’ve written about how the one source of unhappiness in the world really comes down to a discrepancy between how things ARE vs. how we WANT them to be. And it’s basically the same mechanism at play here.
Think about it. If someone claims the Earth is flat and you happen to know what 2nd graders know about astronomy, you probably wanna call them out on it. Because there’s a discrepancy between what you KNOW, and what someone else THINKS, which makes them questionable.
And if someone says they’re gonna do something and then don’t, at least you’re gonna notice, if nothing more. Because there’s a discrepancy between what they SAY and what they DO, which makes them questionable.
So when you notice this discrepancy in yourself, you’re the one who’s questionable — to yourself.
Not exactly a nice feeling.
In fact, if you keep on not doing what you say you’re gonna do, it becomes the rule rather than the exception. This means, you will effectively make a habit out of something harmful, like with any toxic addiction.
And yes, I deliberately use the word “toxic” here. Because eventually, you’ll either be incapable of carrying out anything important you say, or you’ll care so little that you’ll have exactly zero aspirations towards your entire life.
Think I’m kidding? Go ahead: Try and prove me wrong; see for yourself how it plays out in 10 to 20 years from now.
(In fact: Don’t!)
Okay, so ideally, doing what you say should be practiced by everyone. And NOT doing what you say should be practiced by no one. Big whoop.
… But yes, I deliberately use the word “ideally” here. 🙂
Because we’ve all been there. We’ve all said we were gonna do something and then didn’t. For whatever reason.
We might’ve postponed it until we forgot. Maybe we just didn’t feel like doing it any longer.
Or maybe we deliberately procrastinated. Because deep down, we knew that doing it would take us to the next step. — Which could mean responsibility for our lives, other people getting expectations towards us, or rewards of which we basically felt unworthy.
While not doing what you say you’re gonna do is fairly common, these last mentioned fears are especially common amongst people with low confidence and self-esteem.
To confident people, doing what you say comes just as natural as thinking it and saying it. Confident people do what they say, say what they mean, and think before they say it. Confident people aren’t afraid of responsibility or expectations.
In fact, they gladly take responsibility, and, in addition to what other people might expect, they set expectations for themselves. And they don’t consider themselves unworthy of any kind of reward. They accept it gladly, gracefully, and gratefully.
Just to make it clear: It’s not that confident people never have any slip-ups or problems with balancing what they say and do. It’s the fact that they want to improve at it, and are therefore willing to accept and learn from these slip-ups and problems which makes them good at keeping that consistency.
Want confidence? Doing what you say you’re gonna do is mandatory.