At a young age, most of us are taught the importance of integrity. We are told that a person who has integrity is honest and consistently adheres to strong moral and ethical principles and values. But people who have integrity also keep their word—to others and themselves.
If you have integrity, you stand by your commitments. You do what you say you will do.
So, do you have integrity?
How to Tell if You Have Integrity
If you aren’t sure you have integrity, answer the following questions. Even if you feel sure that you are a person of integrity, answer them anyway. (You might be surprised at what you discover.)
Do you stand by your commitments?
Do you keep your commitments to others?
Do you keep your commitments to yourself?
Can people trust that you will do what you say you will do?
Do you trust that you will do what you tell yourself you will do?
If you are like most people, you have a lot of integrity when it comes to commitments you make to others. You stand by those commitments.
Also, if you are like most people, you lack integrity when keeping commitments made to yourself. You aren’t self-integral.
The Problem with Lack of Self-Integrity
You may think it’s most important to keep your commitments to others. Indeed, that’s essential if you want to be a person of integrity and have others consider this as one of your positive traits.
However, having integrity with yourself is just as important—maybe more so. A lack of integrity with yourself leads to many other problems.
For instance, when you tell yourself you will do something, and then you don’t keep that commitment, you lose trust in yourself. Your word to yourself becomes worthless. As a result, your self-esteem and self-confidence plummet. Without self-integrity, you stop believing what you tell yourself.
Let’s say you tell yourself you will start exercising every day, and you will begin tomorrow. But when tomorrow rolls around, you find any number of excuses not to exercise. By the end of the day, “exercise” isn’t an item you have checked off your to-do list.
As a result, you feel lousy about yourself. When you realize that you didn’t do what you told yourself you would do, your mind offers a constant stream of negative self-talk. You never do what you say you’re going to do. You have no backbone. You are lazy. You aren’t committed. You’re doomed to be fat and out of shape.
And then you look for ways to feel better. You don’t say to yourself, I’ll go exercise right now. No…instead, you think, I might as well not even bother…not happening…no way, no how. I’ll just watch Netflix and eat pizza.
In other words, you give up…
Your Level of Commitment
You give up because you lack trust in your ability to follow through. Each time you say you will do something and don’t, you feel worse about yourself. Therefore, it makes sense that you would want to avoid that awful feeling—not to mention the knowledge you failed…again.
The other reason you give up involves your level of commitment to whatever you said you would do. If you don’t follow through, you aren’t committed or committed enough.
Your Life Indicates Your Commitments
Look at your life. It’s an indication of your commitments. You are committed to the things you see and do.
If you see squalor. You are committed to squalor. If you see stacks of bills you need to pay, you are committed to late bill payment. On the other hand, if you see a neat and tidy home, you are committed to neatness and tidiness. If you have no bills to pay—and no debt—you are committed to prompt bill payment and only spending the money you possess.
Let’s say you tell yourself you want to exercise every morning right after you wake up. Yet, you hit the snooze button four times before getting out of bed and then have no time to exercise. You are committed to snoozing, not exercising.
If you claim you want to read before bed but watch television each night until it’s time to go to sleep, you are committed to your television watching habit. You are not committed to reading.
If you say you want to develop a healthy eating habit, but you eat a massive bowl of ice cream every night after dinner, you are committed to eating ice cream—not to eating a healthy diet.
Habits Come from Commitment
Your habits are the things to which you have committed. You do them consistently and by rote.
Maybe you have the habit of meditating daily. That’s a commitment you made to yourself and kept. If you have the habit of journaling every day, you are committed to that habit, too.
But the examples used earlier—exercising, reading, eating a healthy diet—these are not habits because you aren’t committed to them.
You have the habit of not committing to the things you claim you are committed to. And that means you lack integrity with yourself.
Break Your Habit of Breaking Your Word
So, how do you break your habit of breaking your word? First, decide who you want to be. Then be that person every single day.
I used to hit the snooze alarm three or four times every morning. I told myself I really wanted to get up earlier and have a morning routine that included exercise, meditation, and journaling. When I was still hitting snooze several years later, it was apparent that I wasn’t committed to getting up earlier or the morning routine.
Then I decided I would be the type of person who gets up when the alarm rings.
The next day, the alarm rang, and I habitually hit the snooze button. As I rolled over in bed, I thought, *I am no longer a person who hits the snooze button. I am a person who gets out of bed when the alarm rings.” I turned off the alarm and got up. And I’ve been doing that every day since.
Who do you want to be? A person who exercises daily? A person who eats a healthy diet? A person who reads daily?
Then be that person. As a result, you will see your commitment come to life. And you will become self-integral.
Don’t Negotiate with Your Mind
Another way to develop more integrity is to stop negotiating with your mind. Consider the affirmation Tony Robbins recommends: Now I am the voice.
Decide what you will think at any given time. Shut down the “Habit Voice” in your head that wants you to continue what you have been doing. It’s the voice that says, “It’s okay…you don’t have to exercise today. You can do it tomorrow.”
Only, that’s what it tells you every single day.
Stop listening! Don’t just ignore the voice; it will only get louder. Instead, dismiss it. Then think a thought of your choosing.
Your mind likes habits. It sees them as safe, which means any new thoughts or behaviors are unsafe. Thus, your self-talk will always tell you to keep things as they are.
When your mind says, Let’s not do that today or *But you could just do ___ instead,” remember it is your Habit Voice talking to you. Dismiss it. Put your attention on what you have committed to do instead. Affirm aloud, “Now I am the voice!”
Also, remind yourself who you want to be. Say aloud, “I am a person who does ____, and I am not going to do just that right now!”
Then, do it. Keep your word to yourself. Be self-integral.
Integrity: As Good as Your Word
You’ve likely heard the saying, “You are only as good as your word.” While you could argue that there is more to integrity—or your character—than keeping your word, it is an important piece.
Words have enormous creative power. Whether you speak to others or yourself, your words create. Each time you say you want to do something, you start the creative process. When you keep your word, you put energy behind it. You make an affirmation of action.
That’s why self-integrity causes transformation even if the action is as small as exercising daily, getting up with the alarm goes off, or reading before bed.
If you keep your word to yourself even once, you know you can do it again. And the ripple effect creates transformation in you and your life.
Do you struggle to be self-integral, or do you keep your word to yourself consistently? Tell me in a comment below, and, please, share this post with someone who might benefit from reading it.b55
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