It is important to pause every now and again and evaluate the direction that our habits, goals, and life are taking. If we don’t stop to examine them occasionally, they can begin to wander without direction.
James Clear, a popular personal growth blogger and author that I look up to, has come up with a perfect accountability system to do just that.
Every year, James Clear does what he calls an “Integrity Report”. The purpose of this report is to review his life for the past year, and determine whether or not his actions, thoughts, and habits have been in line with his own personal core values.
Core values are the qualities or characteristics that are most important to you and who you want to be as a person. Think bravery, honesty, kindness etc.
If your thoughts and behaviors are in line with your core values, that is referred to as living a life of integrity.
In his annual integrity report, James Clear invites others to do their own reports, and I have decided to accept the challenge!
Presenting, The Integrity Report!
James Clear’s Integrity Report is made up of three simple questions:
- What are the core values that drive my life?
- How am I living and working with integrity right now?
- How can I set a higher standard and live with more integrity in the future?
So let’s get to it!
1 – What Are The Core Values That Drive My Life?
After much thought and introspection, I have settled on 10 core values which are the most important to me.
Here they are listed in alphabetical order, (because why not?) along with what these core values mean to me.
Courage is the ability to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and to take well-calculated risks for my own personal growth, even though the uncertainty might make me feel anxious or afraid. Courage is also about speaking up when I see something wrong in the world.
Diligence is the ability to work hard and give things my full effort, without trying to cut corners.
Diligence is putting my head down and doing what must be done without complaint. It is synonymous with my “work ethic” and my willingness to roll up my sleeves and put forth effort to do the task at hand whether it is a hard one or an easy one.
Generosity is more than just being “nice”. To me, “nice” is a basic human courtesy. I want to embody more than being nice, or even kind, so I decided to go with “generosity” instead.
Generosity is unselfish. It is caring for and accepting others for who they are. Generosity is going above and beyond and being willing to do things for others out of the goodness of my heart rather than for any sort of personal gain.
Gratitude is the ability to recognize and appreciate the good things in my life. To be thankful for what I already have and the situation that I am currently in, despite the difficulties that I may face.
You may have heard that the grass is always greener on the other side. If you do not have gratitude, that saying may well be true. You may always think that whatever you DON’T have, is the thing that will make you the happiest.
But, if you have gratitude, you will understand that the grass is greener where you water it. If you are grateful with what you already have, then you can be happy now.
Growth is about always seeking to learn something new and improve myself. It is actively pursuing my goals, passions, and dreams. It is pursuing new experiences and adventures, as well as learning the lessons that everyday experiences have to offer.
“The most successful people are lifelong learners; they constantly ask questions and never cease to explore the wonder-filled world around them.”– Tal Ben-Shahar
Honesty is about telling the truth and being straightforward with people. Honesty is refraining from lies, deceiving, or misleading others for my own gain or because it might be the easier thing to do.
Loyalty is offering my unwavering support or allegiance to a person, cause, or organization that I care about. It is standing by what I believe in, even if times may be tough.
Patience is the ability to stay calm and avoid getting frustrated, angry, or annoyed when things are not going as planned.
Perseverance or grit, is the ability to persist even when things get tough. It is the ability to push through difficulty with my head held high and not to give up even though the odds may be stacked against me.
My tenth and final virtue or core value is sincerity. To be sincere, is to be authentic. It is to be vulnerable and transparent – to have no ulterior motives, to say what I mean and mean what I say. Unfortunately, I feel that sincerity is a rare virtue these days.
2 – How Am I Living With Integrity Right Now?
In this section of my Integrity Report, I will go through each of my 10 core values and reflect on how well, or if, I have lived up to these core values in 2020.
How am I exhibiting courage in my everyday life?
For me, courage is the ability to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and to take well-calculated risks for my own personal growth, even though the uncertainty might make me feel anxious or afraid.
I think I am actually living up to this core value pretty well right now. For example, I am finally going out on a limb and exploring my passions and the possibility of another career change at the age of (almost) 35. That’s a little scary for me, as I always thought that I would have things figured out by now.
And to be totally honest, I thought that I did. Just over 3.5 years ago I moved over 2,500 miles from home to make a big career change – from teaching health and wellness courses at an online school to becoming an outdoor adventure guide.
But in came 2020 and completely crushed the tourism industry in Hawai’i (and many other places around the world). There is nothing I could have done to have foreseen, or prevented this of course.
But I can control how I react to the situation – with courage. By putting myself out there and doing the scary things – like committing to blogging for 25 days straight in the month of October even though I was struggling to post 1-2 posts a week prior to making that commitment.
But so far so good! I chose to step out of my comfort zone in this way because I knew it would help me improve and grow as a blogger and entrepreneur, and that it would possibly open doors for me career-wise.
How am I exhibiting diligence in my everyday life? Diligence has to do with work ethic and giving something your best effort.
This one is a little complex, to be honest. On January 2nd 2020, I injured my shoulder at work, and after 6+ months of physical therapy on it, I ended up having to have surgery, and now am working hard to recover from that surgery.
So I haven’t worked diligently at my job per se as I haven’t “worked” in over 10 months… but I have worked extremely hard at getting healthy again – even though it can be easy to get frustrated that I can’t work or do my usual hobbies.
And I have worked very hard on this blog after starting it in late March. So I am going to give myself credit for practicing the core value of diligence.
How am I exhibiting generosity in my everyday life?
This one is also pretty tough in the year of 2020 as I have not been working and not going out and being social due to social distancing recommendations. So I really haven’t had a lot of daily interactions with people this year aside from my partner, and you lovely people here on the internet.
I would like to explore ways that I can exhibit more generosity, even in this new world of social distancing.
How am I exhibiting gratitude in my everyday life? To me, gratitude is about appreciating and being thankful for what you do have rather than longing for the things you don’t have.
So I suppose I could feel bad for myself about not having a job or for my shoulder being injured, or for not being able to do this or that. But to be perfectly honest, I am extremely grateful right now for what I do have.
I have an amazing partner who nursed me back to health after my surgery and is supportive of everything that I do. I have enough money from my workers compensation to eat, and pay rent and bills. I have good doctors and am making progress with my recovery. My friends and family are healthy. I live in beautiful Hawaii, and I have free time now that I never had before. Time that I am using for self-discovery and time that I am using to pursue my passions.
So, gratitude, check!
How am I exhibiting growth in my everyday life? I feel that I am doing a pretty good job of both intellectual as well as personal growth – actually, (maybe you’ve noticed) personal growth is one of my passions!
Each day, I try to make a point to learn something new. In 2020 I have learned a lot about blogging, search engine optimization, social media marketing, as well as a lot about current happiness research.
As far as personal growth, I have dedicated a lot of time to my goals in the past year. Take this Happy.Healthy.Whole project for example!
[Related: Check out my current Happy.Healthy.Whole Project goals if you haven’t already.]
How am I exhibiting honesty in my everyday life?
In general, I feel that I am a very straightforward person. If you ask me something, I will tell you the truth about it. I have learned that lies are far more trouble than they are worth. And personally, I’d always much rather know the truth, even if it is unpleasant.
So, honesty, check!
How am I exhibiting loyalty in my everyday life?
Loyalty is an interesting topic for me. I value loyalty very much. But if you ask, my partner would tell you that I am loyal to a fault… and, I think that is an honest assessment.
In the past, I have stuck by people or things for too long, even when it was harmful to me. One example of this from the year 2020 was my job.
I loved what I did for work as the manager of an outdoor adventure company, but the director of operations and owner… they continually overloaded and overworked me for the profit of the company despite my speaking up and letting them know this on multiple occasions. In 2019 I tore my hamstring at work and missed time and paychecks for that. And then this year in 2020, I got injured again, as you know, this time more serious.
At first I was very upset about it – at my employers who were just worried about what my injury would cost them, but also at me for feeling some weird loyalty and sticking around when I should’ve gone.
So I am not sure what to say on this one. I believe that I do live up to my core value of loyalty… but maybe I ought to reevaluate whether that is a good thing.
To be continued.
How am I exhibiting patience in my everyday life?
Patience is the ability to stay calm and avoid getting frustrated, angry, or annoyed when things are not going as planned.
I would be the first to tell you that I am not a very patient person. When things don’t go as planned, I tend to get anxious which can make me pretty impatient. Strangely enough, it seems to be the smaller things that make me the most impatient. Like being in a hurry at the grocery store, or actually today is a great example.
Today, I was trying to sit down and write this post and had a ton on my to do list for my blog. But, we are puppy-sitting a friend’s dog, and it turns out my dog and the other aren’t very compatible. So I have been playing referee all day and am way behind on my to do-list. And that really stressed me out and made me impatient and irritable.
So these smaller things are a work in progress for my patience. Strangely though, I do notice that my… long-term patience (if that’s a thing) seems to be pretty good. What I mean by this, is that my patience for my shoulder getting better very slowly over a long period of time is pretty good.
Likewise, it is taking longer for results from my blog than I would like, but I am able to recognize that these things take time, and patiently work towards achieving that goal.
So patience… not so great in the short -term, pretty good in the long-term. Overall, I’d say, “needs work.”
How am I exhibiting perseverance in my everyday life?
I feel that I am doing a pretty good job persevering through my injury this year while keeping my spirits up and channeling my time and efforts into positive outlets. It might be easy to waste these months away taking naps and watching every show and movie on Netflix, but that’s just not me. Once I realized how long I was going to be out of work with my injury, I promised myself that I would make good use of this time, and I think I have.
How am I exhibiting sincerity in my everyday life?
On day 11 of my project, I described what sincerity meant to me in the following way: “To be sincere, is to be authentic. It is to be vulnerable and transparent – to have no ulterior motives, to say what I mean and mean what I say.”
For most of the year, I would say that I was just kind of limping along on this one, until recently. For example, when I started my blog in March I wrote about what I knew, health, wellness, mindset, and habits, all topics I am passionate about. But I wrote in more of an instructional way – not in a very personal way. I guess I kind of thought, these people don’t know me, why would my personal examples and stories be of any value?
But then I kicked off this Happy.Healthy.Whole Project – and I am really putting myself out there and being vulnerable. And, it is scary, I can tell you that for sure… but so far, in the short amount of time that I have been doing it, I feel like I have been getting a lot better response from you guys – my audience.
And I am realizing now, that if I want to help people, if I want to inspire them to take on their own goals and embark on their own personal missions… I need to step out of my comfort zone and be real and vulnerable.
So I’ll give myself points for the last month or so – and plan to do more of this going forward.
3 – How Can I Live With More Integrity In The Future?
Whew! Finally, we made it to the last question.
In this section, I will pick the top 3 core values that I feel I could use the most improvement on for the upcoming year.
First and foremost, I need to continue to improve my core value of “Patience”. In the heat of the moment, when things aren’t going as I planned, I need to stay calm, and not let myself get rattled, anxious, and impatient.
Second, I want to improve my core value of “Generosity”. I feel that I am kind, but I want to be more than that.
I want to find a way that I can contribute more to my community, and to help lift others up so that they can achieve happiness and live their lives to the fullest. I will continue to explore in what ways my personal skills and passions are best suited to serve others in this Happy.Healthy.Whole Project.
And third, I will say my core value of “Loyalty” needs some work, in that I need to figure out a way that my natural instinct to be loyal is not a harmful instinct.
What I Learned From Completing My First Integrity Report
Whew, that was a long one! I blame James Clear for all that inspiration. 🙂 But, I hope that you found it as enlightening as I did.
Now that I have completed this Integrity Report, I have a much better understanding of its purpose.
The number one take-away that I got from from having completed my first Integrity Report is:
If you live your life with integrity, you will like who you are as a person because you will embody all of the core values which you find important and meaningful.
I know that I will definitely be taking the time to do this each year from now on.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! If you’d like to do your own Integrity Report learn how and get a FREE template here!