When it comes to ethical boundaries, the obvious ones are pretty clear: don’t transgress against others, don’t steal, don’t kill, etc. Yet, when it comes to transgressions of a lesser level, how do we hold ourselves accountable? When boundaries aren’t as obvious, how do we keep ourselves on the straight and narrow?

A simple, ethical boundary that I aim to never transgress is losing my temper, yet it’s inevitable at times that it will happen. My concern is, if I shame myself for it, then all I’m going to do is continue the behavior. So, the question is, how do I motivate myself without shame? Furthermore, this can apply to eating foods that aren’t good for me, or any behavior I seek to change and continue to fail at; how do I get back on the bandwagon?

How do you pick yourself up and get back on the bandwagon? What tools do you use to motivate yourself?

I was having a conversation with a friend and he said to me, “Well, if I were a basketball team and I won 80% of my games, I would be the best of all time, so why isn’t that good enough”?

Like all good questions, my answer was “it depends”, since if I use that logic with murder, it wouldn’t go over so well. For example: I haven’t committed murder for 364 days this year, so maybe today I should get a pass. See, it sounds ridiculous when applied to something like that, yet if I apply the 80% rule to exercise, anger, eating, etc., then it’s an overwhelming success.

My further response to my friend, was to remind himself that even if he failed at his goal, he doesn’t have to be a failure. The key is to get back up; to use the sports analogy, just because I lost the game, I can still finish the season and win many more games. Beyond that, the key is to not use it as an excuse to give up the fight. If my goal is to not lose my temper, then even when I do my job, I need to look at how I can do it differently moving forward, so I don’t lose my temper again.

This week, let’s take a balanced approach with the behaviors we want to change. Let’s not give ourselves permission to fail, and let’s look at failure as a lesson, a guide, and as a message– not the message.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love


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