I celebrated my thirty-third birthday last Tuesday. Most birthdays merely mark the turning of another page, another circle around the sun. They tend to pass without little notice or impact.
Birthdays, like other markers of time anniversaries, and holidays, provide great opportunities to pause and reflect. A chance to think about things. A chance to look at what’s going well, and where course corrections are needed.
The first six months of 2019 have been filled with great reading. Several of this year’s early reads are some of my new favorites. Among new favorites is James Clear’s Atomic Habits. It’s a joy to read, and helps you use habits to build a better future.
Near the end of the book, Clear shares a practice he uses to maintain habits and stay on the path to becoming the person he wants to be. Habits start to slide and deteriorate over time. If you aren’t careful, they’ll unravel completely.
That’s where Clear’s Integrity Report comes in to play.
“Reflection and review,” James Clear says, “offers an ideal time to revisit one of the most important aspects of behavior change: identity.” The mid-year review helps you consider the person you are becoming, and exactly where your daily habits are taking you.
Clear asks himself the following three questions:
What are the core values that drive my life and work?
How am I living and working with integrity right now?
How can I set a higher standard in the future?
I’ve adapted these questions and shared my findings below.
1. What are my core values?
Faith – Trusting Christ for salvation, provision, and all circumstances.
Family – To lead, protect, love, and support family. To place them as the highest priority before all others.
Grit – Striving to grow & improve in knowledge, skill, and character. Work hard, learn all you can, and prefer the difficult to the easy. Suffer in the short-term for gain in the long-term.
Stewardship – Managing all I have for God’s benefit because it belongs to Him. This includes health, finances, time, and opportunity.
2. What is going well?
Foundation Group. We have the pleasure of leading an outstanding group of young married couples. They are a real encouragement to Hannah and me. Their openness, authenticity, and commitment to building a great marriage daily increase our appetite to emulate the same.
Reading. My reading habits are improving. 2019’s reading list consists of several of my new favorite reads. The goal isn’t to plow through pages. The goal is to run into new ideas, interact with them, and grow as a result. Many of the books filling the list of 2019 reads are achieving just that, they are changing me for the better. Hopefully my wife would say the same.
Mindset. Mental toughness is vitally important. How you think is crucial to your life outcomes. “We cannot choose our external circumstances,” Epictetus said, “but we can always choose how we respond to them.” That choosing takes place in your mind. I am daily improving how I respond to the adversity life brings my way.
Complaining. I am on a war against complaining. I work hard to reprogram my mind in this specific area. “If it’s endurable,” Marcus Aurelius said, “then endure it. Stop complaining.” This and several other says ring in my ears as I encounter setbacks and uncomfortable situations. This is an area I am taking ground in. In fact, I’ll be writing on the subject soon.
3. What areas need growth?
Patience. Things don’t always happen on your timeline. How you respond when that happens matters. I must improve in this area. As much as I work to focus on things within my control and harness my emotions, I still need work at it.
Leadership. Leadership is a heavy word. It takes many varying forms and touches every area of life. It presents a destination you never reach. You will always chase after it, never quite grasping it fully. There are massive areas I need to grow as a leader. For those around me to receive the very best, I have to remain vigilant in pursuit of becoming the best leader I can.
Trusting the Lord. My struggles in patience and leadership directly relate to my trusting the Lord. I intellectually know He is good and worthy of my trust, but practically I far too often live as though I need to control things. I have to daily lay down my feeble attempts of control and trust the Lord. Thankfully I know I can trust Him based on His faithfulness throughout the ages.