More on the Art of Getting Things Done
Last Sunday I wrote about a simple, proven approach for making complex decisions and accomplishing big goals. I want to continue the focus on getting things done today because last week was full of conversations with people who are frustrated with their inability to do what they want to do.
It’s not an uncommon problem. Paraphrasing the apostle Paul: “What I want to do, I don’t do. What I don’t want to do, I do. Oh what a wretched man I am!” (Romans 7:15, 24)
What’s the secret to breaking this pattern that I’m sure we’ve all experienced?
· Get expert advice on how to make the change? That’s a must for sure.
· Put the tasks or behaviors you want to do on your calendar? Definitely a best practice, too.
· Pray for guidance and strength? Yup, that helps. (Note that Paul followed up his comment above with “Who can help me?” not “What can I do?” That who is God.)
· Get an accountability partner? Now you’re getting warmer. We can get another “who” into the mix in the form of a human being.
One of the most effective little tactics for breaking out of their failure loops is based on the traditional idea of accountability --- but with a twofold twist.
1. Team up with a person or persons to hold you accountable who have the same deep desire to make the same change as you. The key here is that you are peers in your shared objective. Typical accountability concept is to find any ‘ole person who will check up on you. This altered approach is more powerful because they want to hold themselves accountable to the same goal as you.
When we designed our Fellows Program at the Halftime Institute to leverage the power of like-minded peers, the odds of them being successful in discovering God’s calling for their life increased.
2. The other twist is upping the frequency of checking in with each other. This is a long-time best practice Alcoholics Anonymous has leveraged via daily check-ins. I’ve done this with a handful of clients lately (often the habits and changes they want to make motivate me to get my act together, too!) and it really works.
Technology is a huge help here. We send a simple text to one another to check in. It literally takes 5 seconds and is really powerful.
Based on the change/goal you are working on, this exchange could be daily, every other day, or weekly.
Last thought: Don’t go too easy on each other. If one of you keeps slipping, call the other out on it. Ask them to reaffirm if the change is something they still want --- and have them restate why it is important to them. If the change is still the right thing to do, then spur them on.
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:10