Yesterday I got my haircut. When done, I got in the car, turned the key… nothing. About six months ago a co-worker gave me her car. It was an incredible blessing to me and my family. However, in the last six months, the battery has died on me at least a dozen times. Why? Because I’ve left the lights on every time. It’s those rainy/hazy days where you need to turn the lights on for safety, those are the days I kill the battery. In nearly 20 years of driving, I’ve accidentally drained the battery one or two times before this car. What’s the difference? This car doesn’t beep, ding or make any noise if you leave the lights on. Yes. Ultimately it is my responsibility to turn the lights off, but the auto-industry has ingeniously integrated a light-reminder system in 90% of cars that has trained me not to think about it.

There’s a reason car manufactures put these systems in our cars. They know we’ll forget. It’s a good system that saves me a lot of time (like finding someone who can jump my car).

What mechanisms do you have in place to make you successful in the areas you need it most?

I know where I fall short. I have dreams and desires that without outside motivation, I’ll forget or lack the discipline to get them done. It’s not exactly wrong, just human nature. What is wrong is recognizing your weaknesses and not developing systems to help you grow in those areas.

My church graciously gives every employee on solitude day a month. This is a day that I get paid to go off by myself and seek God without the interruption of others. In the first year of working at Gateway, guess how many of these I took? One. I wanted to take them, but I just never had the time. After being prompted by my accountability group, I did something amazing. I opened up my calendar and scheduled my solitude days for the next six months. Guess how many I took. Five. That’s not bad. My calendar is a nearly foolproof system for getting things done. If I need to be somewhere or get something done, it needs to be on my calendar.

Every year I set personal goals that usually don’t get done. This year I did something different structurally. I gave my goals to my accountability group. I’m guessing that I’ll be much more efficient in reaching my goals.

Sometimes I’ll even throw one of my goals up on this blog. Nothing like having the world to keep you accountable.

I’m constantly looking for simple and automatic mechanisms that force me to do what I really want to do, but lack the discipline to do on my own. What are some of your mechanisms?