๐ŸŒ  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 Lลkahi (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:

๐Ÿ’ก 1. THINK What good can I do? Intellection
๐Ÿ“˜ 2. DREAM How to live my values? Resolver
๐Ÿ› ๏ธ 3. PLAN What can I get done? Resolver
๐ŸŽ‰ 4. DO Celebrate where I am. Responsibility
๐Ÿข 5. LEARN Something from today. Learner
๐Ÿ˜ 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:

๐Ÿ’ก 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.

๐Ÿ“˜ 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.

๐Ÿ› ๏ธ 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.

๐ŸŽ‰ 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.

๐Ÿข 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.

๐Ÿ˜ 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.

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๐Ÿ•ฏ๏ธ Winds of Change ๐Ÿ•ฏ๏ธ

This year my heart is very unsteady, my emotions and mind are unsure, it’s a different world for me this year. In March I had my second and last (intended) child. I never knew a love like this before. My daughter brought me a different kind of love, a lot of joy and sweetness, laughter and tears. Failures and successes, an emotional rollercoaster. My husband brought me a feeling of safety, a feeling of being known and cared for by someone, being special to someone. My son is different, he brings me such a profound inner peace, he brings a harmony to all of us that is really difficult to put to words. I believe we all bring something different to the family, to the world. My world is better than ever before, but also shaken up and upside down.

For the past few years I have chosen values and tried to live by them for a long time before changing them, but this year feels very different, it feels neccisary to change my way of being distracted and busy, it feels neccisary to change being passively dissatisfied with a life out of balance doing too much for others until I’m an empty shadow of a human being, it feels neccisary that I change my consioussness to create a different life than the one I have come to hate (even though I made it myself). In my new life I want these value changes:

Proactivity replaces entitlement.
Resilience replaces complaints.
Perseverance replaces excuses.
Authenticity replaces courage.
Mindfulness replaces persistence.
Humility replaces wisdom.
Serenity replaces power.

It’s a lot at once and I don’t like that, I don’t think it’s easy to make a lot of changes at one time without falling off good habits, yet I feel a kind of emotional momentum to complete a larger metamorphesis than normal. I feel inspired to give myself and my kids a different life than they would have with me the way I was before.

It’s not that many changes in our physical life, but so many in our actual life, in the way we live. I was rushing so much before, that the habit I am trying to form of “not rushing,” becomes a thosand real habits. Don’t rush through morning, don’t rush through meals, don’t rush to clean, don’t rush people who are talking, don’t rush while you brush your daughter’s hair, don’t rush as your kids grow up, don’t rush as your life passes you by without reaching your dreams, don’t rush as you reflect on the week, don’t rush so that you don’t ever tell your husband that he matter to you, it becomes millions of habits.

Which is why I like having the free habitca app, it lets me add daily habits, regular (but non-daily habits), to dos…

Some daily habits I’ve made since my son was born are “Live my Best Life Possible,” “Don’t Rush,” “Check Email in the Morning,” “Mindfulness,” “Communicate Assertively,” “Brush Teeth Twice,” “Dry Dishes at Night.” Some other habits I’ve made are “Authentic Acceptance,” “Notice My Kids,” “Work on Blog,” “People Care,” “Teach School,” “Home Care – Laundry and Dishes,” “Plant Care,” “Earth Care,” and “Fair Share.” The one habit that has stayed from before my son is “Stoic Meditation” on Coach.Me (an online positive habit community).

My life is in flux in a really positive way, but it’s very turbulent and challenging to try to rise to meet internal challenges and be honest about failures, re-evaluate plays, seek solutions instead of being bogged down by problems.

The year started with the meditation, “problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them” (Einstein) and it has become “do what you can today, with what you already have, find a way.”

It was the book The Power of Habit, that first inspired me to take a hold of my own mind and live the best I could in real life, before that book it seemed impossible to seperate who I am from my good and bad habits and make the changes I dreamed a reality. Much gratitude to Charles Duhigg for writing such a empowering, truthful and useful book. Since reading it I became interested in neuroscience and habit formation, but also in becoming emotionally proactive and healing my heart’s wounds enough to be able to have the resilience to face life with my heart on my sleave, take the pain of failures and continue trying to do the best I can everyday.

I think it’s going to take sometime to sort out my action plans and rationals for changing my value structure that thus changes my mindset, attitude and habit plans, but I wanted to write something as a declaration of my intent to be a better person, in part in thanks for the pressence of my son in my life and in part to be able to die in peace when I finally do so.

The quote that keeps me inspired when I bite off more than it seems like I can chew is “change is possible, if you seek it,” (- author unknown) that’s what the featured image represents to me.

๐Ÿ”จ Persistence vs Opportunity Cost

Persistence has been one of my dominant values over my life time, but often it has kept me in bad situations.

When I was going to college I had some trouble my first few semesters and my science GPA was forever after stuck as average, I wanted to go to medical school, but having an average GPA didn’t give me a great chance at it. Then when I tried my best at the MCAT, I again scored average, that also didn’t help much. I could have gone to medical school far from my home state, but my fiance didn’t want to move with me. I didn’t want to leave my fiance and I couldn’t have gone in my home state, so I decided for a few reasons to abandon that goal.

I had been fixated on going to medical school since about age four and it was a river carved deeply into my life and my soul. I studied all of elementary school, ext, I took jobs that allowed me to study as I paid my way through Jr College and worked through the university as well. It’s a story that usually ends with success, but for me it didn’t, for me it ended as my best not being good enough for the competitive area I lived in, and the love of my life, instead of wanting to go with me, not even promising to wait… Reality can be so harsh sometimes.

Many times a woman has to choose between having kids, or having a better career, there are exceptions, but that doesn’t counter balance normal reality that moms that take leave, to have or raise their kids, are seen as not having current skills when they try to re-enter the work force.

Even a persistent, hardworking person can not be in two places at once. My dad is a super hardworking, high energy person, but after the 40 hour work week, he didn’t even have the energy to say “how was your day?” and I understand now as an adult. When you wake up at 4AM and work all day, by the end of the night, there just isn’t much left. My dad did what society required of him, working to support his two kids, but it also meant that I didn’t learn much from him, or get to know him much, until this past year that he has been retired and I am staying at home raising my children. The cost of the 40 hour work week to my family, was us not knowing our dad. Maybe other families make it work, but for my father, his work took everything he had to give. We got the income, but not much else. It’s not that I’m not grateful for what we had, but it still seems like the life balance of a typical family is deeply off balance to what being healthy would be like.

The good part of being persistent is that it’s easy to keep up healthy habits like exercise, but the bad part is that it’s easy to keep up unhealthy habits like studying for the wrong career path, doing too much of the household cleaning, slowly growing apart from your loved ones to tackle personal goals that leave you feeling empty once they are done.

For anyone it’s hard to do new things and easy to do the same things, but for me it’s doubly hard to do new things and doubly easy to do the same things. It may look nice from the outside in, that I can work 126 hours a week when my boss did the schedual wrong and asked me to, but it isn’t really nice knowing that I can get on the wrong path and continue for the rest of my life if unchecked.

Being persistent is good if your self leadership is also good, but most of my life mine wasn’t. I spent most of my life with a lost feeling that I avoided noticing by reading books, playing games, studying, working too hard, exercising, or practicing martial arts. All those things are fine, but not being able to sit with yourself in order to avoid finding out you are on the wrong path for you, is a poor way to spend a life time.

I considered persistence a value, it was on Russ Harris’s value list, but the more I think of it, I believe persistence is more of a personality type. Persistence isn’t integrity, if you eat yourself to death, you can do it with persistent eating, if you drink yourself to death, and beat your spouse, you can do it persistently. I think persistence is probably a biproduct of the way that “neurons that fire together wire together.” It probably means that my brain wires harder right away, to all activities, not that I have more discipline than other people.

Maybe persistence could be good, with mindfulness, with correct leadership, but currently it keeps me stuck in unhelpful routines, more often than it helps me reach my goals or achieve a state of well being. Maybe that is unfair though, maybe persistence lets me do worthwhile things that I don’t yet give myself credit for?

I’ve been converted to the mindset that on our deathbeds what we will place importance on is our relationships, not our careers. If that is the case, than I’m doing the right things, staying at home teaching my two kids, visiting my father and sister each spring and summer, trying to be understanding to my husband and hopefully make a new relationship if we can, when we can, but I don’t feel well with all my life being service to others and or interaction with others.

Everyone in my life wants to speak and not listen, so writing is where I feel I have a voice. I don’t know if that is normal for writers or just part of my poor verbal communication skills? If I stopped writing, it would be as if I stopped speaking, because the speaking I do in my daily life isn’t really voicing my soul at all. It’s just confirming I heard other people, telling people when I will get their water, juice, dinner, start their school time, where the laundry they are looking for is, where the household items are, how much I need for grocheries, when the trash needs to be taken out, if I will get the mail that day, ext. If I didn’t write, I wouldn’t feel like a person anymore. I would just feel like a robot that serves other people, and for me, it isn’t gratifying to serve. I know for many people it feels good. For me it doesn’t feel good to be constantly serving others. I can do it, I will do whatever my kids need done, to keep them safe, healthy, clean, learning, mentally balanced, feeling loved, interested in their inner values, but I don’t get satisfaction from it.

After a day of taking care of my kids and teaching them, if I haven’t done something more intellectual than pouring milk and making dinner I feel as if life isn’t really worth living.

I know it’s not popular to say that, but that’s how it is for me.

If I can do something I really love, gardening, writing, reading, and I take care of the kids, it’s a better feeling.

I guess I don’t like the feeling of putting myself last, even if I have no one else to blame for doing that than myself. Perhaps my tendency to persistently get everything done as soon as it can be done is digging myself into a hole as a parent, since there is almost an infinite amount of things that can be done to nuture or educate the kids and also an infinate amount of discipline and cleaning. I’m grinding my brain too hard, all day and the flow of doing things I like helps revive me.

I don’t know why I can’t enjoy parenting, even though I love my children, but after four years I’m not hopeful it will change for me.

Each year I choose seven values to live by, this year I chose persistence, but I think peristence (doing the same thing over and over) is no longer the right value for me. I think I’m living by it, but that it’s keeping me from living well, instead of helping me live well. I think mindfulness would be a good replacement, instead of just working without thinking, thinking about if what I’m doing matters and prioritizing what I do with my limited time would probably help me enjoy my life and help me have a better attitude towards my family as well.

Persistence sounds good, if you don’t know about opportunity cost, doing something, means something else is not getting done, and it matters a lot to know if what is getting done deserves to get done, instead of what doesn’t get to be done in the same time slot. It takes mindfulness to know what really matters to you, and it takes proactivity to change your own status quo. I think I still need to work with mindfulness, before I can be a good leader to myself, or my children. I’m still running around like a chicken with its head cut off, a little bit too often, but hopefully I’ll change that into running around like a chicken with its head left on soon.