It is a good plan to develop a habit of promising only that which you truly plan to do and are capable of doing. When someone points out to you that you didn’t follow through, see if you can make it right somehow. Do that thing late, if possible (and relevant) or do something that will add value to the person you may have let down. Ask for forgiveness…and accept it if/when given. Forgive yourself. Learn from the process. Try to do better next time. One way to limit your exposure to disappointing people with your promises, is to make fewer! I am known for offering to do things for people…even when they haven’t asked me to, or (I hate to admit this) sometimes, even when they are perfectly capable of doing it. To modify this behavior, I need to be more aware of my thoughts & words. Thoughtful about whether and why I might make an offer (promise) and if yes, to commit to follow it up with specific, timely action. I once promised to loan a cool DVD to a newer friend, only to disappoint her entirely when I discovered that I never got it back from the last person I loaned it to! Then there’s the fact that I don’t even recall who that is. I started keeping a lending library record long after the last time I loaned out that particular DVD.
When you say you’re going to be available to someone at 1:00 p.m. and then string out your own needs or other priorities until 3:00 p.m. or later, you’re showing that special someone that you don’t keep your word or value their time. Is that the message you want to send? I doubt it. So be honest! If you really need that extra hours, try to be upfront about it. People generally understand delays far better if they are part of ‘Plan A’. That’s been my experience! When we are honest about what we need (first) then we honor other people with our truth – and we encourage them to care for themselves well, too!