Do You Have a List of Non-Negotiables?

Recently, my friend and coach, Dan Meub, challenged me to identify my list of top ten, non-negotiable disciplines. He said, “View this list as the ten disciplines that if practiced faithfully would make the biggest impact on the quality of your life this year.”

A Runner Jumping

So, after a little thought, I came up with this list:

My Top Ten Non-Negotiable Disciplines
Discipline Description Frequency
Bible Reading Read the Bible, using a plan that covers the whole Bible in a year. Daily, first thing when I get up
Prayer Pray for my life, my family, my church, my work, etc. Daily, on my commute into the office or, on the weekends, immediately after reading the Bible
Aerobic Exercise Run 4–5 miles, four days a week. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 5:30 a.m.
Strength Training Train at the YMCA, twice a week for an hour with a trainer. Tuesday and Friday at 5:30 a.m.
Eating Five Meals Eat the traditional three meals a day with lean protein and slow-burning carbs. Eat two snacks a day, mid-morning and mid-afternoon to keep my metabolism up. Daily
Taking Vitamins Take a good liquid multivitamin, mineral, and antioxidant. Daily, 1 oz. after breakfast
General Reading Listen to books on my iPod while I am running. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 5:30 a.m.
Life Plan Review Review my written life plan (a seven-page document) Weekly, on Sunday evening with my weekly review
Solo Retreats Get off-site for 36 hours a quarter to review my business vision, business plan, master task list, and time block. Quarterly, scheduled off-site
Financial Review Review my personal budget, statements, and investment portfolio with Gail. Monthly, scheduled on a Saturday morning

I’ve asked Dan to hold me accountable to this list. He’s my “accountability partner.” We have a scheduled call every two weeks. But this could have as easily been a friend or co-worker. The key thing is to formulate your list, give a copy to your partner, and then schedule a time to check in and check up. I have found that every two weeks is about right. But you must get it on your calendar.

Like you, I’m sure, I often go through periods when I struggle to find the motivation to stick with it. That’s why you have an accountability partner. Knowing I will have to give Dan an account is sometimes just the leverage I need to get up and get with it.

I have also found that if I can get the first couple of disciplines knocked out first thing in the morning, the rest of them will follow like beads on a string.

Or to use another metaphor, my friend Steve Arterburn once exhorted me, “slay your dragons before breakfast, so they don’t eat your lunch.” My two biggest dragons are spiritual and physical lethargy. So, the first thing I do upon rising in the morning is read my Bible. (Well, actually I get a cup of coffee, but that’s not really a discipline!) Then, I head to the gym. If I can get these two items knocked off my list, it’s downhill from there.

Question: So, before two much of the new year slips by, how about identifying what’s on your list. And, just as important, who’s going to keep you accountable?

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