For the past two months, I’ve been doing a deep dive into my personal habits and thought processes in an attempt to finally come home to myself. Some of that has involved listening to podcasts, reading books, and renewing my involvement in some coaching groups I’m part of. The rest has been forcing myself to really sit with the gunk that was being dredged up and writing about it.
One podcast that really kicked me in the shins was Elizabeth DiAlto’s interview with Nancy Levin back in August. There’s an entire section where they talk specifically about integrity and how NOT being your word is the primary source of suffering in our lives. I swear I heard the screech of the needle across the record. This felt both extremely accurate and incredibly painful simultaneously.
Because it’s true. I can’t SAY I’m doing X but then go do Y. I can’t say I’m trying to pay down my debt and then spend frivolously on high end food stuffs. I can’t say I’m trying to lose this last 10% body fat and then have an entire week of birthday nutritional debauchery (which I did).
When you say one thing then do another, it creates a loop of hiding and shame. It perpetuates the internal dialogue of “I’m not good enough.” It is definitely the definition of misery.
Something I’d seen years ago but was recently reintroduced to was the concept of having a list of 20 things that I eat. Sometimes, a list is the best way to keep yourself on track. When I sat down to write my list, I discovered how hard it was to come up with 20 things. When I’m committed, the list of things I eat is quite small, though it adjusts seasonally. Does that mean I’ve been absolutely perfect? Not in the least. What it means though, is that I’m conscious of my decisions. I know exactly why I’m choosing this over that. I make the best possible decision in each moment, regardless of perfection (because life isn’t perfect) and then move on. Mom’s Chicken Soup wasn’t available on the hot bar so I had to settle for the Chicken Chowder with Yuca and Corn? It was clean enough, so that’s what I went with and then moved on with my life.
Something else I was introduced to a couple years ago is Pearson’s Law. Essentially it says that anything you measure, grows. Want to get stronger? Track the amount of weight you use. Want to get faster? Track your times. Want to get healthier? Track the days where you (honestly and sincerely) did the best you could nutritionally. I have 3 habits I track: move, write, and meditate. That’s it. The days that I do all three are consistently excellent for me (and not surprisingly, my nutrition game is strong those days too – when I feel awesome, I eat awesome). I don’t specify the specifics because I don’t care HOW I do those things, just that I do them. The how doesn’t matter, especially when you’re getting started. What matters is how many days you can string along.
Commitment, though, is what keeps you going when life hands you a set of circumstances outside of your control. Because that’s what life does. This is where being your word (integrity) saves you from misery. My commitment to my health removes the appeal of caramel corn…
Your turn: What commitments are you really struggling with right now? What do you get out of not acting with integrity? Hint: there is always a payoff, whether positive or negative (e.g. by choosing to stay in an ill-suited marriage, I got to be angry). Comment below or shoot me an email: barbara@whathealthcoacheseat. I’d love to hear from you.