Life in the 21st century is fast-paced, self-focused and distraction-heavy. Most of us handle dozens of decisions on a daily basis regarding what we say yes to and what we decline. Often times, it’s easy to mis-prioritize or renege on commitments. We value freedom and flexibility (especially in a community as active and engaged as Denver); but what we forget while striving to protect those options is that integrity is a rarifying commodity that can set us apart from the crowd.
In order not to be ensnared by the traps of over-commitment and/or selfishness, here are three simple tips that may seem commonplace, but are often forgotten in the swirling dust devil of daily life.
One, keep your calendar balanced and check it often! Make sure your yes means yes and your no means no. Simplifying your social calendar may even reduce stress! Saying yes to everything can be exhausting. There is freedom in saying no. Consider your routine. You might schedule just one or two evening social activities per week and assigning the other nights to getting things done at home and focusing on quality sleep or exercise. Commit firmly to those two exterior activities rather than give a wavering “maybe” to five or six options and floating around between a few or changing plans last-minute. Remember, flakey friends are frustrating and if you do it too often, you may notice your amount of invitations decline. To avoid being ostracized, follow through on your word to the initial commitments. It won’t go unnoticed. I am truly impressed and value my friends who follow through on their word consistently – it’s a trait that I respect immensely.
Two, if you choose to express your personal values and opinions, make sure your actions line up with them. Don’t use social media as a personal journal or platform to spark heated dialogue with friends you’d never discuss these topics with face-to-face.
Three, find ways to get the same gratification you are used to by pleasing yourself by instead giving to others. Make one intentional phone call per day to a friend or family member you usually text. Cook a meal for someone rather than meeting them out for dinner. Take a look at local charities in your area and see if they need volunteers. Create altruistic acronyms, sayings and phrases or memorize songs or proverbs that keep your thoughts others-focused and off of yourself. Recite them in your shower at the start of your morning.
Many of you reading this might already be practicing virtues and good habits reflecting your integrity. Maybe this article uncovered other great ideas you may have about how to improve your integrity. Feel free to respond to this article on our Facebook page and share your ideas with our community – it will make Denver a better place to live and perhaps maintain that Colorado Spirit we’re known for: Friendly, approachable and helpful.