“Quality of life depends on what happens in the space between stimulus and response.”
– Stephen CoveyHow are you doing with your goals for the New Year? I hope well. However, many of us start to get off track right about now. Things are going well, then life throws us the inevitable curve ball. Now what?It is at challenging moments like this that we must slow down and remember that we are not slaves to this “curve ball.” We have choices and must not let ourselves get pushed around by external realities.

Between stimulus and response lies the unique human gift of choice. It is also the key to living a quality life. Life is full of choices and defining moments. Learning to display integrity in the moment of choice will help you to stay on track and live the life you want to live.

Integrity is defined as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” Integrity is simply doing the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time, in the right way. When life throws us an unexpected challenge, we can increase our ability to act with integrity and make the right choice by learning to pause. As we pause, we can ask:

“What is the best use of my time right now?”
“What is most important right now?”
“What is the right thing to do?”

Asking such questions will immediately help us to connect to our core values. The next step is to listen to our conscience without excuses. This step can be challenging. The right thing to do is not always the easiest thing to do. We may begin to rationalize… to tell ourselves “rational lies” as to why we should make a different choice. When we succumb to these “rational lies” our integrity begins to break down. We forget about important commitments we have made and throw away our values for an easier, more popular or convenient choice.

The third and final step is to act with courage and in harmony with what our conscience is telling us. It is important to include the word “courage” in this step. The right choices are often most difficult. For many, it is easier to stay in bed instead of getting up early to exercise or to drive through a fast food joint instead of preparing a balanced meal at home.

Each day brings with it new circumstances, opportunities, reasons or excuses that will challenge our commitment to personal achievement and success. When we slow down, connect with our values and act accordingly, we feel at peace and on track. Every challenge we face will become an opportunity for us to define the moment instead of letting the moment define us.

Copyright 2011 Fitness Consultants Inc. All rights reserved.