7 Easy ways to keep your word and make good life agreements

Part of the art of successful living, successful working and successful relating depends on learning how to make good agreements and either keep them or change ones that aren't working. Many relationship issues rise out of conflict about agreements.
See agreements as contributing to your vitality and energy. Many of us approach agreements as something that someone else is making us do. This approach keeps us from making clear agreements and contributes to our breaking of agreements. Learn to see when an agreement is necessary and how to proactively create agreements that you want to make, how to make agreements that are important to you. When you learn that making and keeping agreements is in your own best interest and when you learn how to do so easily and successfully, you will notice your life working better.
Think carefully before you make an agreement. It is much easier to not make an agreement than it is to get out of one you no longer want to keep. An agreement is anything you have said you would do, or anything you have said you would not do. Typical agreements that we need to make for our lives to run smoothly range from mundane things like "who does what" to important agreements about relationships.
Make the right agreements. Make only agreements that you believe in: agreements that you want to make and keep, agreements that your whole body/mind says "yes!" to. If you don't have your whole self behind the agreement, whether it's your child's sports game or attending the annual shareholder's meeting, why bother? Agreements that are unimportant to you, but that you make anyway, have a tendency to come back and haunt you later because some intuitive person will perceive that you are not really there, or because something will stop you from keeping them.
Make agreements only about things that you have control over. For example, you can't control how you feel but you can control how you express your feelings. It's also not helpful to agree to do something or be somewhere, if you know that you have something else planned or aren't going to be able to do it.
Make it safe for yourself and others to speak freely about any facts or feelings that are relevant, as you are formulating your agreement. Share any significant facts that will impact your ability to keep the agreement. Share your feelings, specifically:
  • Anxiety, fear, nervousness
  • Irritation, anger, aggravation, resentment
  • Discouragement, sadness, resignation
  • Excitement, happiness, exhilaration.
Keep tossing your agreement back and forth until it feels right to both of you.

Write your agreements down. Taking them out of your mind and putting them on paper frees up more of your creative energy. It helps you remember them, and minimizes the chance of conflict later over what exactly the agreement was. Use the following format to formulate your agreement:
  • We agree that ______________________________ (who will do what by when).
  • We agree to make any change in the agreement by direct communication, mutually agreed upon.
  • If failure occurs, we agree to review the reasons and identify our learning edge, doing our best to take 100% responsibility and avoid blaming.

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