The more you plan, the freer you will be.
What a strange concept right? I value freedom and spontaneity. The idea of creating and sticking to plans makes me cringe. But I recently decided to give the planning thing a try, and let me tell you, my productivity has tripled and my joy has drastically increased!
Integrity is something I value. Honesty and transparency are important to me. I stick to my word, and if plans have to change, there must be a really great excuse on my end. But do you want to know something strange? While I do practice integrity towards others, I don’t honor commitments I’ve made to myself. My relationship with myself is something that sits on the sidelines waiting for me to take notice and begging for my respect.
I recently took notice of this and began practicing living in integrity with myself and not just with others. It’s important to understand that if I wanted to evolve and grow, honoring myself needed to become a priority. We all have a survival mode that functions naturally without any time and energy on our part. It kicks into high gear whenever we feel stress or discomfort. If we didn’t tend to lean toward survival mode, self-discipline would be a piece of cake. But when we feel stressed or have to stretch ourselves, we hibernate into old habits such as binge watching Netflix, overeating, staying in bed all day, or for me, being a workaholic. The survival brain tells us to hide in our cave and ignore the hard stuff.
We believe that if we don’t make plans, we can’t fail or we won’t feel controlled by something other than ourselves — only then will we be free.
But what we don’t realize is that when we don’t plan healthy things for our lives, we end up filling our time with busyness that is actually the opposite of being productive. In fact, the control we think we are instilling into our lives through our lack of planning ends up having reverse effects. We become controlled by our circumstances instead of taking ownership and planning our time to gain the results that we want.
If we truly wanted to honor ourselves, each part of our day would be intentionally planned to help us reach our goals, create something new, feel accomplished, or simply to make room for rest.
So where should you start?
Dissect your thoughts and acknowledge your actions.
Do you respect your own needs? Do you honor your goals and live with integrity to yourself? Probably not all the time. But think about what DOES make you feel respected and love. What nurtures your relationship with yourself?
For me it’s flexing my kids’ exploration and self-discovery muscles, reading a self-help book, listening to a podcast, drinking tea, writing a letter to a loved one, or creating something new that serves those I love. When I am crafting my day around those things, I am living in integrity. It’s when I step outside of those things and try to become who everyone else wants me to be that I find myself taking the rabbit trail to nowhere.
Follow these five steps to improve your integrity to self:
1. Examine your respect and loyalty to yourself. How can you repair your relationship to self? What thoughts do you need to incorporate into your daily life to replace those that steal your self-respect?
2. Write down a vision — the ONE result you want from your life.
3. Write down 3-5 daily things you can be sure to PLAN for your day to help you make that vision become a reality and COMMIT to doing those things. Change your inner talk from “I will try” to “I will do.”
4. Check in at the end of each day to evaluate how you honored yourself or the ways you’ve failed. Be honest! And remember that failure isn’t scary! It puts you back on the path that leads you where you want to go and shuts the doors to the paths that don’t.
5. Tweak and make changes for the following day or celebrate your wins from the day before.
Tell me in the comments how planning goes for YOU! Would love to encourage you along the way!
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