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If you can’t follow through on what you say you will do, no-one will ever trust you. But worst of all, you will never trust yourself.

This is a huge lesson for me, as someone who always talked a big game but then slunk away from my responsibilities. It wasn’t until I was having a conversation with a Jewish rabbi about philosophy that I really learned this lesson.

This man, so wise and engaging, was very interested in what I was studying at uni. At the time I was doing a philosophy subject and writing a major essay. He offered to read it through and give me a hand. I said “of course! That would be great!” Later that evening, after he went home, my mum took me aside and said “make sure to send that essay through to him. He really values when people do what they say they will”.

Instantly the thought of losing respect of this man was a scary prospect. So I made sure I followed through.

And it felt good.

It felt better than good. It felt right.

I’ve since learned that it is healthy for our brains and our self esteem when we follow through on our promises. Each time we back up what we say with actions, our brains get a hit of endorphins (cue good feelings) and our self esteem increases. Trust is built on a foundation of reliability and credibility – both of which depend on follow through.

Therefore it is really important to honour your word. When you say you will do something, whether it is to someone else or just yourself, that you do it. Stand by your promise. Stick with your commitments. If you have to, schedule time in your diary to take the action you said you would.

Also, really consider what you say before you say it. Don’t make promises on the fly that you might not be able to see through. Don’t be afraid to say no out of fear that someone might not like you. If you end up falling through on your promise I can guarantee you that they won’t like you. It won’t disappoint them to say no – you are being honest. It will disappoint them if you say yes but don’t follow through.

Words without actions are just empty promises.

Words with actions are powerful.

Be powerful. You are powerful.

 

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