Interestingly, a blogger I follow, known as Kate Courageous, wrote a guest post that I read a while back. It was a great read, but a quote she found to go with it really struck me, and seems to be the best definition of integrity that I can find:
“Integrity: When your words and actions match, and are aligned with your commitments, values, and life vision.” –Matthew Marzel
Whoa, whoa, wait! Did you see that? I have always thought of integrity as being about your words and actions. But it really resonated with me what this Matthew Marzel combines in his definition of integrity–that your words and actions should be aligned with your commitments, values, and life vision.
How do commitments, values, and life vision connect with health and fitness?
I don’t know a single soul on this earth who can honor these three things without maintaining their health and fitness. Maybe I’m a fanatic, but, I believe health and fitness are foundational for the rest of life. No–I don’t just believe it. I KNOW it to be true.
These things take energy and strength to maintain.
They take vitality.
They take a clear mind.
How can we be expected to live a life of integrity if we don’t have the energy to follow through on what we say? How can we be expected to live a life of integrity if we don’t have the mental clarity to discover our life vision?
It has always been a great desire of mine to live a life of integrity. I want people to remember me as someone who did what they said they would do, who lived according to their values, who treated people with integrity. I know I fail at this a lot, and usually it is because I’m overcommited. I’m overcommitted because I don’t yet have that “balance” of mind that is necessary to be clear about what I should be doing, what I want to do and what I can do. That’s a level of health that I have yet to obtain. For me, it’s a higher level of health for I feel I have figured out how to be physically healthy, at least, relatively. But mentally healthy–not so much. I’m not saying I’m a mental mess. I’m saying, I want my mind to be as healthy as my body is.
Everyday, I make choices for my health and fitness. I eat certain foods because I know they are good for me–maybe I need the protein at that moment, or the fiber, or maybe I drink an extra glass of water because I can feel that my body needs it. I exercise–do some cardio and some weight lifting exercises because I want to protect the integrity of this body.
What do I do for my mind? Surely, I read and learn a lot. But what about exercises of the mind for integrity?
I said it is my desire to live a life of integrity. And this desire grows stronger the older I get. But what do I actively and consciously do to protect this integrity? I know I think about it, and I know I make some decisions based on this. But is it something that I spend time on practicing or exercising? I guess what I’m saying is that I need to spend the time actively working on this thing if I want to increase and stay steady in it. If this is really how I want to grow, then what do I need to do to increase in it?
First, I know, I–we must look at our lives and see where we lack integrity. We can ask ourselves, “where do my words and actions NOT align with my commitments, values, and life vision?” Go ahead. Ask yourself that today. Take some time to do this and let me know what you come up with. I have vacation coming up next week, so I know what I will be doing as I lay on the beach.
Until next time . . .