Don’t make promises unnecessarily, Don’t break promises period! The damage done from breaking them is immense. Don’t be known as someone who breaks promises. This is a nasty reputation. People will stop taking you seriously. Your promise, your word is devalued! When that happens your promise means nothing.
If you are going to make promises, go for the easy wins, the ones you are sure to keep, all things being equal of course. Promise on the obvious, if there is such but not to the extent of being silly (for instance promising that the sun will rise). Underpromise and overdeliver. Promise to do things you know are already taken care of. Be conservative, be cautious when you promise. Do not raise expectations only to sink them again. Do not build something only to destroy it.
Before the age of voluminous and extremely detailed contracts came about, a handshake was enough. It was all that was needed to get things in action and even today it’s enough for some people. But for others signatures, witnesses, jargon and penalties are still not enough to ensure that a promise will be kept.
You know there is a problem when you are spending more time making promises than keeping them. You know there is a problem if after one breaking one promise, you make yet another, even more ambitious than the first one. My goodness!
If you are put on the spot to promise something you are not sure of rather be embarassed briefly for than a long time after breaking the promise. Take your time to promise but be swift in keeping it. Do what you can to keep it. Do what it takes to keep your good name. Sometimes your good name is really all you have. Look after it and treasure it.
Keep the promises in check but if you really must make them, keep them!