If you went to the dentist and he told you that your teeth were terrible and that you were going to need to have them all pulled and get dentures unless you started brushing and flossing three times a day, you might consider making a goal to do just that. That goal would be what I call a “discipline goal,” one that you repeat on a regular basis. The goal of the discipline goal is to establish a habit. I don’t make a goal to brush my teeth because I always brush my teeth and have since I was a little kid, it is an established habit. Many of the goals that I set each year I don’t need to set because I always do them and have for years. They are an established habit. The reason that I do is that I teach goal setting to those in my leadership classes and to others that I am coaching or disciplining. I use my goals as an example to help others know what good goals look like.
1. I will read 12 chapters in my Bible everyday.
2. I will pray by myself for 30 minutes everyday.
3. I will ride my stationary bicycle one hour every day.
4. I will pray for everybody in JBC every week.
5. I will pray my prayer of dedication every morning.
6. I will pray with Patty at least three times each week.
7. I will read at least 10 pages in a good book every day.
8. I will write a blog post of approximately 300 words daily.
I have 25 goals that are “discipline goals. Many of my discipline goals are fixed, that is I probably won’t ever change them because I like them right where they are. Twelve chapters a day in my Bible is about right for me. There is only so much time in a day so a lot of my disciplines are not going to change. So what that means is that a lot of my 74 goals are already made for me, I just roll them forward to another year.
Five of my goals are “failure goals,” I wrote them last year or the year before and didn’t accomplish them so I just roll them forward another year until I accomplish them. Occasionally I delete them if I have had them so long that the probability of ever doing them is very small. I have a goal for this next year to climb Mt Adams, I have had it for the last three years and if I don’t make it this year, I never will.
A few of my goals are BHags, “Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals.” One of them is to go on a boat for a ten-day, long-range fishing trip out of San Diego. Another is to go on an archery hunting trip to Texas for pigs and a whitetailed buck, a big one. Both of these would happen before 2025.
Goal setting is an awesome tool for establishing godly habits. They also are a great tool for putting down on paper ideas and dreams that you were afraid to even consider because of the difficulty of ever doing them. But once you write them as a goal and start reading them several times each week the probability goes up substantially.
I love the discipline of writing goals and reading them several times each week., it gives me a strong sense of self-control.