My Integrity Report: 2016 in Review

Due to time restraints, I don’t get to read as many online authors as I’d like. One person I do read, however, is James Clear, and his annual “Integrity Reports” were something I really enjoyed when I found them last year. Shameless Pride will turn three years old in January, and I wanted a way to critique my year and what I want to do going forward. Below is my first crack at my Integrity Report, using James Clear’s template (with my own tweaks to it).

This exercise has forced me to look hard at myself and what I stand for, but more importantly, has pushed me to be honest about what I have achieved and where I see myself going in the future.

This Integrity Report helps me answer the question, “Am I actually living like the type of person I claim to be?”

2016 Quick Stats

Articles Published: 30

Books Read: 37

There is no doubt that I slacked with writing in the second half of 2016.  I went from writing weekly to writing when I felt like it. I got caught up with other areas of my life and fell out of my writing routine, struggling to find worthwhile topics to dissect. I won’t make excuses, I need to be better. 2017 will see me return to a much more regimented writing schedule.

On a positive note, 2016 was a big reading year for me. I finished 37 books, a new personal record. Included in that total are a few monsters (600+ pages), including incredible biographies on Lincoln and Roosevelt. 2016 also saw me adopted a new method for knowledge recordkeeping which has held immensely with my reading method. No longer am I reading just to read, but to absorb the knowledge and put it to future use. I’m also proud of how I prioritized reading each week. Even if it was just a few pages, I read almost every single day. When someone asks “what are your hobbies?,” I can now proudly claim ready as one of them.

There are 3 main questions that I will answer in this Integrity Report.

  1. What are my core values?

  2. How am I living and working with integrity right now?

  3. How can I improve in the next year?

1. What are my core values?

It’s helpful to write what you stand for and ask yourself if you are doing everything in your power to fulfill your values. Everyone will be different. What I stand for (and believe in) will differ greatly from what defines you. However, one thing is certain: consistency is what separates the achiever from the dreamer. Make sure you aren’t wasting time. Have a plan and stick to it, no matter what!

Here are my core values and some questions that I use to think more deeply about each area. As I grow older, these values may also grow and expand.

I. Self-reliance

  • Am I putting myself in the best position to succeed, both short-term and long-term?
  • Am I building habits that foster continual improvement?
  • Do I stay immune to popular opinion?
  • Do I guide my own actions, and not rely on the actions of others?

II. Responsibility

  • Can my friends and family rely on me?
  • Am I ready to lead when called upon?
  • Am I a man of action or am I all talk?
  • Do I mean what I say, or do I speak only to appease others?

III. Impact

  • Am I contributing to the world or just taking from it?
  • Do I give for the good of it, or to impress others?
  • Do I strictly give monetary donations, or do I also give my time to those in need?

IV. Self-Education

  • Am I constantly trying to learn new things?
  • Am I learning for the sake of learning, or do I apply this knowledge?
  • Am I seeking practical knowledge or indulging in time-wasting activities?

V. Health

  • Am I giving maximum effort during my workouts?
  • Is my diet the best it could be?
  • Are my fitness goals clearly defined?
  • Am I mentally weak when other people make poor health decisions?

VI. Resilience

  • Am I making excuses or using adversity and setbacks to learn?
  • Do I get angry when things don’t go my way, or do I see an opportunity to improve?
  • Am I easily thrown off course by distractions and setbacks?
  • Am I ready for the unexpected?

2. How am I living and working with integrity right now?

Writing about ideas of practical significance. Similar to James Clear, I try to write on topics that are useful. I want people to read my articles and gain practical knowledge. If I can help just a handful of people per article, I consider it a success. My goal has always been to help the uninformed man navigate life, and I believe I have done a good job with that. I’ve heard from countless people who have told me my writing has helped them improve, and that is the reason I began writing in the first place.

Creating original work. If you regularly read my site, you will quickly see that all of my content is unique. My topics are my own, and never a copycat job of other influencers. Even my site design is 100% my own work. I’ve spent countless hours working through mistakes and getting things exactly the way I want them. When it comes to writing, I am my harshest critic. I only want to publish the best of what I have to offer. This is a struggle sometimes, as I must balance being productive with being a perfectionist. I enjoy creating in-depth, meaty articles that you can relate to, and never rush through a piece just to publish something.

I also don’t get too involved with current events. I know many writers who latch onto topics such as politics to enhance their reputation and gain more of a following. I find it disingenuous to chase sentiment through the appeasement of the masses.  I stay the course and stick to topics that will help you improve in all facets of life.

Staying Humble (Shamelessly). Although my site is called “Shameless Pride,” I believe in a humble spirit. I want you to live life with an unapologetic BOLD streak, but I want you to do it with humility. Those who allow their achievements and actions to destroy their modesty are doomed to eventual self-destruction.  I’ll never advocate a reckless indulgence in life’s fortunes. I believe in being humble – in working hard to be better, achieving results, and moving forward. Be happy with what you have, while working diligently towards what you want. Those who become self-indulgent and braggarts always fall off the path and end up cannibalizing their success, one way or another.

3. How can I improve in the next year?

Now for the hard part. Where am I currently struggling and what can I do to improve over the next 12 months?

Be more consistent. My site was built on consistency. But midway through 2016, I lost the momentum of writing weekly articles. This is humiliating (and humbling) to me, because I know I am better than that. I pride myself on being a self-starter and being organized, yet I succumbed to laziness and chaos during this time period. For 2017, my goal is to be more consistent in my writings, which includes creating a detailed schedule to keep me on track.

Live what I preach. I’m human like everyone else, and I admit I sometimes fall off the path of achievement and get distracted. Although I have built systems to quickly get me back on course, I am always fighting the demons of time-wasting activities. In 2017, I want to keep living the life that I preach, and work hard to stay dedicated to whatever I am trying to accomplish. 

Expand Shameless Pride. Shameless Pride was created in January 2014, and since then has helped many people, young men, especially, find their way in life. Over the course of the next year, I wish to expand my offerings. I haven’t yet determined how I’ll be doing this, but stay tuned for more info. In the meantime, be sure to sign up to my weekly e-mail list.

The Bottom Line

My hope is that this annual Integrity Report helps me stay focused and also helps to hold myself to a higher standard by reflecting on the past year and preparing for the year ahead. Writing is an up and down business, and some days are better than others. I believe in flow and I promise to make sure to write way more often than I have been. Like always, I believe in continual improvement and dedication to being a better person. A little bit a day goes a long way.

Thanks for reading in 2016, and I hope you stick around to see what I have in store for the future. I wish you all the best in 2017.

Screenshot 2015-11-21 at 12.56.17 PM

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