Solid Method For Keeping Promises

I recently started thinking how could I make sure that I keep the promises I give. I noticed that I’ve had 2 major factors that have influenced this. The first one is simply promising something that I can keep. I remember I promised to give interview with the makers of Lord of The Rings Online. I made that promise after I received an email from them to send them the questions. After I sent the questions I remember mentioning that “I will be interviewing them in GP blog”. Well, I never got the responses to my questions – and I could not publish the interview. And I’m not blaming LOTRO people for this. They didn’t give my promise to blog readers, I did.

While it might sound like keeping some small promises is not that important for you, they might be very important to others. If you promise to tell a good word about somebody – but you don’t – then that somebody simply might not want to waste time with you in the future, since you didn’t keep your promise. That’s why it’s important to keep all the promises, even the smallest ones. I personally have made small promises in the past, and while it has taken some time, I will keep those promises the way I can.

I’ve learned that I have to be careful when promising interviews or anything. If I’m not sure, then I might as not give the promise – or tell that what I’ve done. Like in the LOTRO’s case, I could have told that “They’ve accepted my request and I’ve sent the questions. Now we have to wait and see if and when they find time to respond”.

In summary, the first lesson is: think carefully before you promise something.

The second thing I learned was that I cannot rely only on my memory. I simply cannot remember all the tiny promises and words I’ve said. I believe I’ve promised at least few things here on my blog, but might have forgotten them afterwards (notice: if you want to remind me about some promises, now it’s a good time for that). I believe there aren’t many promises like this, but I suppose there might be something that’s simply lost somewhere. I’ve also noticed this when talking to some people. Some people simply promise to do this and that… yet, they fail to keep those promises. They might be like really small things, but small things might have a big impact.

I came up with a simple solution: use of a text file. I have made a text file for my promises. It’s really simple and fast to use. I will put headline, possible date and description for each promise I’ve given. That’s it: write down your promises.

Since I just started using this system, there’s only one promise at the moment:

In the future I will tell more about our team, and our team members – so that those who do things actually get the credits.

From that text I can see that I’ve made a promise to GP readers about Edoiki game.

I believe this is an extremely simple and efficient way to keep track on what you promise, when you promised and to whom you’ve promised. Certainly beats just relying on my memory.

Bottom line: Think carefully before you promise something. Write down your promises: what, to whom, when, with a brief description.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Yeah I hate it when people promise you to do something and then don’t or you have to chase them multiple times before they do. These people I never ask again for anything as they have proved themselves unreliable.

    It’s even worse if they are not your friends/family but are a professional of some kind – the least they should do is give you a “I haven’t done it yet” progress update, or a “I’msorry, I overcommitted myself to that at the time, can we work out a c ompromise?”.

    I just put my promises on my main to do list which is split into Work, Home, Aikido and Personal. An interesting point: How do you feel about breaking promises to yourself? I suspect people do this all the time e.g. Give up smoking, start going to Gym etc.

    Also is a promise just when you say “I promise”? I don’t think so, it’s when someone (or you) says “sure I’ll do that for you” and you take that to mean that they actually will. Really, I think the mark of a man/woman is doing what you say you will do…It’s something very important in martial arts, which build good character traits of course. It’s also linked with making a decision. If I say “who’s going on the next Aikido course” and some people half put their hands up, I say “make a decision – either way doesn’t bother me, but once you’ve made it, stick to it, otherwise you may let others down if you change your mind”. Ever had friends all say “sure we’ll go to X with you” and then most of them bomb out at the last minute, how annoying is that?

    /rant off :-)

Comments are closed.