This is the fourth post in my blog replay for 2011. This entry was originally posted on June 28, 2011.
This is the last in a 4-part series of articles on discipline. Part 1: Simple Daily Disciplines. Part 2: Simple Weekly Disciplines. Part 3: Simple Monthly Disciplines. And now, part 4: Simple Yearly Disciplines.
“Self-control is absolutely vital to lasting success in any endeavor of life. Many people do attain a degree of prominence on the strength of sheer natural talent alone. But the real, influential leaders are the ones who devote themselves to personal discipline and make the most of their gifts.” –John MacArthur
Here are the three simple yearly disciplines that I continue to work on, and which will help all of us achieve greater success in our lives and ministry.
1. Evaluate personal and professional goals from the past year.
Every leader must spend time evaluating themselves. That is how we grow. We must measure our progress over the year. The simple way I do this is through my performance evaluation each year. I find that my performance evaluation is one of the best times to grow personally and professionally. I know someone who takes the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s, blocks out his schedule and uses that time to review the past year to see how he did. Experience is not the best teacher. Evaluated experience is. Take the time to review your goals.
2. Develop new goals for the year.
I like developing my personal and professional goals for the year because my goals are my roadmap. They tell me where I’m supposed to be going. Without goals, I am aimlessly wandering in the wilderness. Goals are my map and compass. Once I develop them, I keep them in front of me throughout the year so that I can continue to measure my success. When a new idea comes up that does not fit in with my goals, I need to spend time discerning whether I should focus on that idea or not. My goals help keep me on track so that I don’t get distracted from what is really important.
3. Go on a personal retreat.
I need to work on this one. In youth ministry, we talk about the impact retreats have on young people. Why don’t we talk about the impact that retreats have on adults? We all need to take time away each year to focus solely on God. I personally like going on 8-day silent retreats. But any retreat will do. Find something that works for your schedule. Take the time to be with God. That time will allow us to focus more clearly on God so that we can continue to have an intimate relationship with Christ. If we don’t have that type of relationship with Christ, how can we help others have that relationship?
I hope these disciplines can help you like they continue to help me. And if you fall off the track of these disciplines, just jump right back on as soon as you can!
What are your Simple Yearly Disciplines?