🌠 Aligning Monthly Self Leadership with Values Based Living

Mentally Tying Together Daily Habits, Weekly Goals and Monthly Self Leadership

I just wrote a post about my new “Life Improvement System” which combines my values, the idea of Lōkahi (harmony) and my Clifton Strengths Assessment results into a cohesive system based on Demitri Martin’s Life Improvement Plan, yet now personalized to me (strengths, values and goals) and my life (farmer, writer, martial artist, mother, teacher).

How to Align My Strengths with My Goals

I usually won’t splurge on expensive tests, but I was satisfied with the Clifton Strength Assesment. Finding my values took me many tries and at least three years, it was nice to pay and have my strengths accurately mapped out in less than an hour. My particular strengths are restorative (adept at finding solutions for problems), learner (enjoys the journey of continuous improvement), intellection (deep thinking), input (idea collecter), responsibility (proactive, honest and loyal).

Thinking about how to apply my top five strengths to the self-leadership formula:

πŸ’‘ 1. THINK What good can I do? Intellection
πŸ“˜ 2. DREAM How to live my values? Resolver
πŸ› οΈ 3. PLAN What can I get done? Resolver
πŸŽ‰ 4. DO Celebrate where I am. Responsibility
🐒 5. LEARN Something from today. Learner
🐘 6. NOTICE What to change? Input

How to Remember All the Goals and Habits and To-Dos Easily

After redoing the weekly goal system I adjusted my Habitca Dashboard habits to reflect my new weekly goals. The life improvement system is a “fancy” system of storing my weekly goals. Habitca lets me store weekly and daily habits together in an easy to use way. Habitca is a free productivity, list app, that works either on the web or via mobile app, it has a catagory for “Dailes” (daily habits), To-Dos, Rewards and Habits. I like it better than Fabulous, Habit Bull, CheckList.com and Coach.Me for keeping all my habits in one easy to use location. I still use Coach.Me, but I prefer to use it secondarily to Habitca.

This is My Updated Habitca for the New Version of My Life Improvement System

I used to use rewards for tea, coffee, sweets, steaks and new books, but I didn’t really check in when I got any of those things, so instead I was able to use it to make some of my weekly habits into rewards themselves. That way my lists are not as long and also I start thinking of the habits of connections as rewards, and they really are, since I feel really good after checking in with my friends ext. Habitca is a little silly, it makes real life into a game, but I love it! Having a party (group) of a few people makes me more accountable. There are little game functions to do, like fighting bosses and changing equipment to boost stats, but it’s overall a habit list with just a little bit of fun flair to it. I’m in the Jack of All Trades guild if anyone wants to join me there. Dailies loose health points if you don’t do them everyday, so that makes me really conscious of if the habit needs to be done on the weekend or not, if not it goes into the habit section instead and it’s great being able to add to-dos in the same page because I check in with my habits everyday. I like to add links to the activities I do online, that saves me time when I go to do the activity. In the end it feels like the school planners that I used to list all my homework when I had a lot of different classes at once.

Connecting the Day to Day to My Inner Values

I watched a show about the brain with John Medina (The Life of the Brain), he talked about how it was important to learn “schema,”(a representation of a plan or theory) and that knowing the overarching idea about what was going on aided learning and memory. It felt kind of like cheating when I changed the schema of my life improvement play based on the habits, instead of the other way, yet it was important to better organize and customize my life improvement system. The purpose of the system is to give meaning and value to my life, while not unbalancing it. It’s supposed to be filled with meaningful, but not impossible things that are achievable based on my strengths in reality and also significant to me. Demitri Martin said the unexamined life isn’t worth living, for me the system was more about fighting a malise and getting rid of the feeling my life doesn’t matter because I’m mortal and average and I can’t do anything important because I have many responsibilities to my kids ext and I’m just a normal person (not wealthy, nor famous ext).

I wanted to stop being persistent and start being perseverant. Instead of pushing rocks up mountains without stopping, I wanted to push the right rock up the right mountain.

All year I’ve been thinking about Einstein’s quote “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”

I think I’ve finally expanded my consciousness enough to solve the problems I was ruminating about going into the year, how to fix the relationship with my daughter, how to fix my life, how to stop feeling overwhelmed, how to find meaning beyond chores, how to cope with the feeling of debt, how to step back from emotional codependence, where to go with homeschooling my kids.

It’s interesting because stepping back and trusting my daughter solves most of my problems.

To fix the relationship with my daughter I needed to be not exhausted, so I needed help caring for her and to spend less time with her. Instead of filling her with love I stepped back telling her love comes from within and that although I love her if she can’t find the love within her heart she won’t feel loved. I stepped back from my expectations that my daughter would be “good” (quiet, calm, polite, conscientious, socially appropriate) while keeping non-violent boundaries for both of us and letting go of my expectations that I would be “good” as in able to make my daughter quiet, calm, polite, conscientious, socially appropriate. I accepted my daughter how she is (wild, loud and spirited) and accepted myself how I am (needing calm, needing more breaks and rough at speaking the truth nicely) and decided on boundaries that I would need to survive and possibly thrive living together.

To stop feeling overwhelmed, I also stepped back from trying to make my daughter “good” (still make her clean ie brush her teeth and respectful ie no yelling or hitting in the living room) and stepped back from trying to be “good (showing up as a teacher for my kids too much at the cost of rest and health),” redesigning the school curriculum and expecting a slower, yet steady, learning pace, as well as doing a lot of writing to solidify my wants and needs and help clarify my values vs abilities to use time management.

With that extra energy not spent trying to be “good,” I found meaning beyond chores through redesigning the value-based living life improvement system I’ve been using for six weeks, writing on my blog (https://bubblegummonkey.com/) and starting a family farm.

By letting go of the feeling of debt (still have a student loan, but let go of shame and regret) I had time to center myself and know that I do have integrity and values, even though I am in debt.

I learned that I was trying to prevent my daughter from being angry and throwing fits because it made me tired due to emotional codependence, instead of because I really cared about helping soothe my daughter and I surrendered her emotions to her, while still being open to soothe her if I can and when she comes to me.

I got new inspiration about homeschooling because I let go of competing with other moms/teachers/kids to be the best/know the most and instead thought about what my daughter’s strengths were, how I can help her build on her strengths and what basics would be the most helpful to her potential. So instead of trying to learn what everyone knows faster or more, I’m trying to teach what could be the most helpful skills or what is interesting to my daughter mentally or foundational for building her personal skill set for life balance, being a human being and also as a potential worker who serves humanity in her preferred ways.
I could only do that from taking a step back from normal and taking a step back from a competitive mindset that was based on ego of being a parent with the smartest kid and fear of being a parent who cheats a kid out of the best education they could have had to not have to worry about them being shot or molested in public school.

So taking a step back was the key to being able to move forward in new, healthier directions from today onward. A direction of love towards my family, friends, and humanity, a direction of taking breaks as a parent and a direction of customized education, which was the original reason for homeschooling that became corrupted over time by fear and ego.

I have daily habits, I have weekly goals, I think I will do this self-leadership monthly. Because the trend of stepping back has been a good one lately.

My Values Based Monthly Plan

This month of October:

πŸ’‘ 1. THINK What good can I do? I can finish up as much farm work as I can do, possibly leveling, weeding and seeding the moss lawn and putting weed cloth, mixing soil and adding transplants to the veggie grow beds and leaving the major weeding and morning glories for another year.

πŸ“˜ 2. DREAM How to live my values? In particular, it would be nice to live by “aloha ‘aina” this month, because I won’t have access to our nursery for the rest of the year. Setting the food plants in order and decluttering the garden would be great goals.

πŸ› οΈ 3. PLAN What can I get done? I can spend at least 10 minutes and maybe up to an hour doing the above goals, moss lawn, veggie bed prep, kaizen blitz clean up each day.

πŸŽ‰ 4. DO Celebrate where I am. I’m so happy I fixed things with my daughter, us fighting and power struggling and me trying to soothe her dozens of fits every day was wasting all my time and energy. Between fights and over teaching her I had no energy left for personal goals or well being even though I had some time. I’m glad that period of my life is over.

🐒 5. LEARN Something from today. The only way through is not forward, sometimes if you are going through hell, take a break or step back and go a different way around.

🐘 6. NOTICE What to change? If there is a way to clarify my goals and make the many things I want into more streamlined, easier to remember chunks I think that would help. Making a visual reminder of my goals may help me stay on task. The inspiration is there in my heart, but my brain needs more mental clarity to be more effective.

Want to Find Out or Clarify Your Own Unique Values?

By the way my self leadership template is at the bottom of the Inner Citadel (home page) it comes from the free Life Values Invetory program’s “Optimal Self-Leadership” supplemental guide to florishing. That’s a really cool free website that is a great place to start examining your values based on the 14 most universal values and how they interplay. Russ Harris has a really cool list of 60 values in his book The Confidence Gap (also available as a free PDF). My family used this list of 51 Hawaiian Values to pick our 3 family values earlier this year (which was really exciting for me, since I knew other families that had them and we never did). I also have some Japanese values. I find not all Japanese or Hawaiian values do translate and perhaps that is what makes Earth so beautiful, that there are so many diverse values. I started with the 14, but quickly found using the list of 60 gave me more personal results and reconnecting with my cultural (where I was raised) and ethnic (my blood) heritage deepened my personal connection to my values even further. Each step gives you more understanding, but there isn’t really a limit to the satisfaction of living a life of virtue that agrees with your own particular soul.

πŸ“± My Experience with the Fabulous Motivate Me App

Written in 2017, when my daughter was two and I was working full time:

Wow, I have so many feelings about this app. I committed to it deeply in my heart and soul, since I finished reading the Power of Habit and I felt that I can no longer go on “being a sleep walking murderer, gambling the family’s money away on the party boat and killing thousands of English people in subways by doing a shitty job at work.”

After reading the book, I started experimenting with the habit loop. It went poorly though.

I would get pretty excited and then think of 100s of changes I wanted to make to myself, and my life, and my home, “that day”… so surges of overwhelming change would happen, and then I would collapse in an overworked pile of shame and regret, mostly the same person…

Then I found the Fabulous app and it seemed like it would be a good way to start off, and then I would just keep going on my own, but I was so much more effective with Fabulous than I was without it, that I committed to using it for at least one year straight.

Lesson One from Fabulous: Don’t try to make more than one meaningful change at a time, my brain rewiring itself takes time.

Lesson Two from Fabulous: Don’t think I know how to make things work in my life, that I already know I have’nt made work yet… sometimes arrogance is a prison.

Lesson Three from Fabulous: Don’t work around poorly stored items, put what you need where it will be easiest to use without hunting around.

I started with the Energize yourself journey, because I felt too tired to think straight after work, the baby, and the work of a marriage. I had mixed success following what the app told me to do, but using Fabulous as a tool and brainstorming what I needed to do for myself to meet the end goal, I had complete success. Say what! Yes, I followed their program with my whole heart, but it left me short on energy, so because the desire and the commitment were real, I forged onward to find the caffeine drip system, that in combination with the Fabulous habits of drinking water, eating breakfast and exercising, did energize me enough to stop being a walking zombie-cow (cow because I breast feed all night and day so I can’t sleep or be a real human being – some of you know what I mean).

Next I continued being a better human being, with the Exercise Journey. I didn’t like most of the journeys that were offered, they weren’t all things I needed to learn (like weight loss, sleeping well). But I knew I needed the boundaries and structure that the app provided to grow my habit formation muscles. I hesitated to exercise more, because I didn’t see a reason. I am lucky to be healthy and at a healthy weight, so I really forgot that exercise affects mental flexibility, where I suck. Having a little mental flexibility really helps me not be as mean, to myself and others. If you are someone who always picks on yourself for not doing all 100 errands you were supposed to do, you may enjoy the life that mental flexibility can give you… but anyways, exercise has been really good at reducing my anxiety, helping me write, and helping me be mentally flexible to life changing what I need to, or get to, do that day.

For awhile I was on the Iron Will Journey, I made it a quarter of the way through, but then I fell off because I was having problems getting my check ins to count, I lost all my emotional momentum, and at the same time the Mental Fitness Journey came out, and I really didn’t want to have an iron will (I kind of know how to do that already… my parents were able to have an iron will at the cost of emotional connection to me, and I don’t really want to do that to my child…) so I would rather do the Mental Fitness Journey, which is where I am now, and it is amazing. Most of the suggestions Fabulous suggested I do are things I would not have done otherwise, but they really make my life better… it was a lucky coincidence that I ended up committed to trying whatever Fabulous says to do for two weeks to see how it went, but I now see that I would never have got my life unstuck, by doing what I thought would help, because what I thought would help created the life I felt dissatisfied within…

The concept I’ve been ruminating about the most over, the past few years: “Probleme kann man niemals mit derselben Denkweise lΓΆsen, durch die sie entstanden sind. Translation: Problems can never be solved with the same way of thinking that created them.” – Albert Einstein

It seems like if it is true, I can’t ever really solve my own problems and I need help, or maybe I can change my consciousness on my own?

Right now, I would rather have help, my consciousness is pretty steady, which has good and bad effects on my life, and my loved ones life. Yes, I am stubborn, my core is persistent, but the stubbornness that says something rude, also works hard everyday putting food on the table, one shouldn’t disregard all the good that comes of stubbornness. Farming is a stubborn way to produce food, being pregnant is a stubborn act, writing books is quite stubborn, when stubbornness is applied towards great things it produces the wonders of the world, the great wall of China ext. The key to really harnessing the core value of persistence, is to own the stubbornness, but learn not to use that one tool for every situation. What really makes stubbornness get out of hand is pride, if you can be humble and stubborn, you can do anything. If you can take the correction of the experts in every field, and stubbornly apply the knowledge, you can do much more with your life, than you could with only the knowledge you yourself bring to the table. But can you be humble enough to admit other people know more than you? Can you handle being wrong sometimes? Your teachers, parents, books, news ext give you incorrect information sometimes, you are wrong when you hold onto the misinformation, can you handle the emotional pain of being wrong? It’s hard to do, but I do because I want the fruit that comes from the pain of being wrong… I want to be better than am now, more than I want to feel right. I want to be right in the future, more than I want to feel right now.

Written in 2019, two years later:

I think it’s been about a year since I stopped using the Fabulous App, it helped me get my feet wet with habit formation and gave me a lot of great information about the science behind habits, but it didn’t offer me what I wanted. It had a lot of health options, but nothing specifically for art, writing, time management, family management, cooking, meal planning. I really benefited by knowing I could take ownership of my life and my time even with kids, but the paths that they wanted me to walk were not the ones I wanted to go down. It took a long time to make sure I wasn’t leaving the app because I couldn’t do what they asked, give up sugar ext. But eventually I realized that Fabulous didn’t allow me any leadership of my life and habits, only management.

Management is how you hack away at the jungle with a machete, leadership is if you are even headed the right way.

Eventually I had to stop managing my life filled with too many things people told me to do, or that I felt I had to do, and start living my best life filled with what truely matters to me personally and by then Fabulous had already helped me get the basics of habit formation down well. I really appriciate that I was able to start waking up early, make a daily schedual for the first time in my life and drink more water, but the eating and exercise recomendations were more pushy and less helpful and eventually taking the suggestions was getting in the way of doing what mattered to me and also taking up the free time that is a premium in my life.