Integrity – adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

Integrity, in my humble opinion, is a very important part of a person. Think about it…if your integrity is high you feel better about yourself. If your integrity is low, then odds are you aren’t feeling too great about yourself. You see, integrity and self-esteem are interconnected. How about an example?

Say you have dinner plans with a friend and you are going to meet at 7pm. You show up at 7:10. That 10 minutes damages your integrity and your self-esteem whether you realize it or not.

I know that’s a very generic example, but it’s one most of us can relate to. If you’ve ever been late before (you have, don’t lie), then you probably apologize for your tardiness upon arrival. That’s something we call clearing your integrity. We’ll get to that later.

During my year with Chris Powell on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition we spoke about integrity quite a bit. He is a big proponent of keeping your integrity high because if your integrity is high you can be more productive and accomplish more. There were times throughout the year when my integrity was low and so was my self-esteem. Story time:

During phase 2 (the second three months) my integrity and self-esteem were very low. Granted I had already lost 97 pounds, but that really didn’t matter. I was supposed to work out for 5 hours a day, 6 days a week. There were days where I just didn’t want to do it and I didn’t even though I said I would. I committed to Chris and myself that I would do 5 hours, 6 days. The fact that I said I would do it and then failed to do so damaged both my integrity and self-esteem.

Story #2: I didn’t bail on the 5 and 6 all the time obviously, but when I didn’t bail I had a difficult time getting my butt to the park on the schedule Chris and I created. Showing up 10, 20, 30 minutes after I said I would hurt my integrity and self-esteem. I wasn’t meeting anybody there. It was just me, myself, and I. So, I was only accountable to myself. By not getting there on time I wasn’t hurting anyone other than myself and doing so showed in the results I had in phase 2. They sucked.

Something Chris impressed upon me was to commit to what I would actually do. Don’t commit to 5 hours if you’re only going to finish 3. You’re only hurting yourself. Commit to 3 and finish those 3 and you’ll feel much better because you did what you said you were going to do. You kept your integrity intact. If you fail to follow through it could turn into a vicious cycle. One day turns into two. Two days turn into three. So on and so forth. So, if you have one bad integrity day don’t tell yourself you’ll do it again and just succumb. Make the next day better. Commit to something and follow through. That will raise your integrity and self-esteem and the feeling that brings will make you want to continue on that path.

Eventually I started feeling better about myself and committed to 5 hours and rocked 5 hours. It was a mental war I fought with myself. I may have lost a battle here and there, but I won the war. 216 pounds later I am committed to keeping my integrity and my self-esteem sky-high. Come join me up here the weather’s nice!

This is what happened when I took my integrity and self-esteem to new heights!