Communication Tips for Following Through on Your Commitments

Here are a couple of relationship questions that are worth thinking about…

How good are you at following through with what you say you’ll do, especially with your loved ones?What do you value and what are your true commitments in your life?

Because our lives can “get away from us” for any number of reasons from time to time, these are great questions for all of us to ask ourselves periodically.

What we’ve found is that many times we can have a distorted view of how good we are at follow through. Very often it’s just not as good as we think.

Here’s a specific question from one of our readers that touches on this topic and a couple of other ideas about relationships…

“How come we can follow through with consequences with our children but we can’t seem to find or follow through with our significant other…and because of that¬† your feelings expressed and the ultimatums¬† you have set for them never get answered or resolved so the roller coaster affect continues?”

First, let’s talk about commitments and follow-through.

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s this…

What you place your importance on, what you value and are truly committed to having is always visible in your life.

Now you might be arguing with us right now but we’ve seen it in our own lives and the lives of others, over and over again.

It’s usually not difficult to follow through on what brings us pleasure, joy, happiness–and what we really want to do.

It might be something that we’re good at or feel good doing–and follow through is never an issue.

The bottom line is this–results in a persons life reveal a person’s true commitment and what he or she values.

So, in our reader’s case, her significant other is committed to something other than following through on what she wants.

There could be any number of reasons that a person doesn’t follow through on a commitment and here are a few…

–passive resistance to following through with anything that other person wants

–rebelling against something that has nothing to do with the partner

–placing a higher value on other things in the person’s life

–not actually agreeing to do what the other person assumes will be done

–agreeing but not really meaning it

So what about agreements?

In our work with people over the years, we’ve seen a lot of “mushy” agreements and a lot of assumptions made about who agreed to what.

Because the reader who asked the question used the word “ultimatum,” she did not have a clear agreement with her partner about the issue–so we’re not surprised there isn’t any follow through.

An ultimatum is clearly one-sided and not an agreement.

If you are in a situation and you want to get someone to do something or not do something–and follow through, here are some ideas…

1. Get clear with yourself what it is that you want, why you want it and why you’re asking that person for help. Become aware of what you are feeling about this situation. Get clear of your bottom line if needed.

2. Approach the other person with openness– curiosity and openness–not with your own resistance. Make a connection first.

3. Talk to the other person from your heart, saying what you are feeling and why.

4. Listen to what the other person is feeling without judging or interrupting.

5. Come to a clear agreement from what’s best for your relationship and for both of you. Each of you repeat your agreement, write it down, post it or whatever works for both of you to remind you of it.

6. Re-negotiate your agreement if there’s no follow-through. Take a look to see if there’s a discrepancy between the
agreement and both of your values and commitments.

Look at the situation as truly is and see if this agreement is possible for each of you to keep–given your different values and commitments.

Remember, when follow through is easy, it’s because there’s no resistance.

When follow through of ANY kind is difficult or not happening, it’s because something is causing resistance.

To create or encourage more or greater follow through, all you have to do is eliminate the resistance and the follow through becomes much more effortless.


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