Earlier this week a started a series on the topic of discipline. If you missed the first two post you can check them out at the following links: Discipline Boot Camp pt.1 and Discipline Boot Camp pt 2.
In today’s post I am going to discuss our External structure and how to develop it. Now, before we get into this second point, I want to make it clear that this information is based on my study of Dr. Townsend’s book The Entitlement Cure. Okay, let’s go!
Step 2: Work On Your External Structure
Proverbs 21:5 (NLT) – Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.
In Wednesday’s post we began to look at the process needed to develop an “operating system” for our life that will allow us to run the “app” of disciplined living. The first step was to work on worthwhile goals or as I will be refering to them today as “Big Picture” goals (goals that address the key aspects of our life; physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual).
Working on worthwhile goals will be good work for our internal structure; the problem is that if we do not have a high functioning external structure we will not be very successful at addressing the goals we made for ourselves. Here are two external structure exercises we can apply to our life that will empower our worthwhile goals.
First: Set Short Term Goals – you already have the “BIG-Picture Goals” that you are working on. Now, take those same big picture goals and set up a series of short term goals that will help you accomplish them. For instance, I want to complete my first book later this year (“Big-Picture Goal”); to reach the Big-Picture I will set smaller goals (e.g. commit to blogging more regularly, work on the book at least 2 hours each week, ask friends and others to give me feed-back on the content of the book, etc…). The short term goals; as I work through them, will lead me to completing my Big-Picture goal. The same it true for any of our goals… If you want to lose 25 pounds, start by setting a goal of losing 2 pounds this week, cutting out sweets or soda this week, exercise an extra 10 min each day this week and so on. Each short term goal will lead to the success of the long-term (Big-Picture) goal. What’s more, as we accomplish the short term goals they give us a mental victory (it makes us feel good).
Second: Map out your goals on a calendar – This is so simple, yet many times we forget this vital step. We need to map out our Big-Picture (our worthwhile goals) by putting them on the calendar and then inserting our short term goals into the calendar. I do this each Sunday for the week ahead. Let me share it with you in terms of my Mt Biking. Each year I have several races I want to participate in and they are on my calendar, I know the dates of the races. Now, the race and how I want to do in the race is on my calendar (i.e. ICEMAN, Nov. 4, 1 hour and 49 min – that’s it, that’s my goal: Race, Date and the time I want to finish it in). So to calendar the short term goals I will take some time each Sunday to plan out my daily exercises to help me reach my Big-Picture goal (Monday, run 6 miles; Tuesday, Bike 35 miles; Wednesday, Bike 35 miles; Thursday, Bike 45 miles; Friday, run 6 miles). Each week I increase my miles so that as I get to the race I will be faster and can handle longer distances better.
Step 3: Recruit Relational Support
Okay that’s it for today, check back on Monday when I’ll share the third step in becoming more disciplined.