If you find yourself not living up to the promises you make to other people around you, you should definitely read this, it might help you.
Whenever you give a promise to somebody (whatever “unimportant” person that may be and whatever “tiny” issue it is about) you have to live up to that. This is crucial even for the smallest promise you give and I will explain you why. Whatever it is you tell others that you will do, they give you in exchange some of their trust. They believe you that you will actually do it, just as you promised it. If you live up to that promise, their trust in you is strengthened and everybody is happy. They will easily trust you again, and if it was just a little issue, there will be no problem to handing you over bigger challenges later, since they already know that you are the guy who gets things done. You work your way up to become the person who stands for his words. You generate integrity and authority. Whatever you say, MEANS something. And the more often you prove others, that what you say has some value and pure honesty, the more often and the more people will actually follow your lead.
On the other hand, if you do give promises just to get out of an uncomfortable situation or talk, or because you think that it might impress the other person, and in the end you do not live up to that, it is the worst you can do to the other person, your relationship with that person and to yourself (which is the most crucial part of all). Not only has the person you gave your word to now lost a little bit of his trust in you, you are also diminishing your self-worth big times. You might not realize it the first couple of times, since you might believe that these are just little issues like “not calling back when you say you will”, “coming late for an appointment”, “saying you do something and then forget to do it”, etc. But although they might be “tiny issues” their impact in the long run is big. People will no longer trust you, people will no longer love to work with you, people will no longer see you as a trustworthy person, and therefore maybe talk poorly about you behind your back, they might get an impression of you being lazy, they might avoid you and go to more efficient people, etc. The effects on yourself are even worse. Because people no longer trust you, you begin to doubt yourself too. You might do this unconsciously, but you will realize that people no longer have faith in you and your words and you therefore begin to “believe” them. This can lead all the way to thoughts like: “I cannot do this”, “I am not good enough”, “how should I know?”. To prove them wrong you might give bigger and even more unrealistic promises the next time. It is a vicious circle.
It sucks and it leads nowhere.
To get out of this (or never fall for this trap) value your word as the most important thing on this world. You have to protect it. You have to be clear about what you stand for and what you think about and live up to it. If somebody asks you for help and you know that you cannot do it in time or at all, tell them. It does not mean to chicken out and cry “I suck, I cannot do it!”, but to be honest with yourself and others. Try your best, but don’t give others hope just to make them happy. They will always appreciate your honesty more than you saying unrealistic things just to impress them first and fail in the end.