“Integrity means that you are the same in public as you are in private.” – Joyce Meyer
Recently I realized that if I wanted to have integrity, I needed to watch Season 1 of Downton Abbey. Does that sound strange?
I had never seen Downton Abbey and promised myself I would watch Season 1 as a reward for running a 5K race at my goal weight. I told people about this plan in Walking the Talk. Although I achieved my goal in November, in early March I still had not collected my reward.
I tried setting another goal for running but was unmotivated given that I never collected my reward from the 5K race. Setting another goal and reward seemed futile. I figured even if I met the goal, I might not collect my reward. Watching Downton Abbey became a high priority so I could set another goal and know I’d reap the reward. That is integrity as well as motivation.
I finally watched Downton Abbey in mid-March and loved it. I watched Season 2 just for pleasure, with no goal to meet. (We have to enjoy our lives!)
My step forward in integrity grew into other areas, not always tied to concrete rewards. One day, I told myself I’d run two loops at our local arboretum. I went there and found that my headphones were dead. My initial reaction was “I’ll do just one short loop.” But keeping integrity in mind, I realized, “I didn’t say I’d run two loops if I could listen to music. I said I’d run two loops.” After running five miles, I felt a sense of accomplishment for completing that distance alone with no music. That feeling was all the reward I needed.
Sometimes I have more integrity with others than with myself. If I told my boss I’d do something, I got it done. The same is true of my family—I feel responsible for tasks like getting dinner on the table and toilet paper in the bathrooms. Where I struggle, still, is with my writing.
Some of you hold me accountable—“Where’s your next blog post, Sue?” or “How’s your book coming along?” I appreciate your pokes as I share my struggles to take one slow baby step at a time. I say I want to be a writer but don’t actually write much. I hope as I grow in integrity with myself that I’ll overcome this resistance. Perhaps you have an area in your life where you need more integrity, too?
I’ve decided my next goal for writing is to write chapter 2 of my book and have it reviewed in a writers’ group. If I do this by June 20, I will celebrate by going to a creperie that I’ve wanted to try.
Meanwhile, I’ve been making progress with my running. For the past few weeks, I’ve been training for a 10K race, which will be held tomorrow. If I run the entire race without walking, I will rent Season 3 of Downton Abbey—soon. And I’ll enjoy every minute of the race as well as my reward.
Do you set goals and rewards? Do you have integrity with others? What about with yourself?