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The 4 Disciplines of Execution

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Healthy Lifestyle Plan, #1: Discipline for Execution

Last fall (2018) I set out to get my body weight to a healthy, maintainable number. I was at 262 lbs, and at 5’-10”, the experts say I should be in the 175-185 lb range. Wow. But… I knew that, really.

So, I started out using meal replacements, and cutting down on breads and pasta, and sodas mostly somewhat kinda sorta went away… and I lost 20 lbs! Then things happened (holiday meals & events are my scapegoats here), and I got off track. Way. Off. Track. Ten pounds back, and I just wasn’t serious about it, wasn’t making any more progress, because I was not committed.

On June 4, 2019, my friend Jay told me about a book he was reading – mainly a business book, not a health book, called The 4 Disciplines of Execution. Jay had used the principles from the book to focus and execute on some vocational and personal changes. As he described the book, I realized I had a copy on my shelf, and may have never cracked it open. The disciplines in the book have truly been the catalyst for my weight loss and life improvement journey. 

Briefly, the four disciplines are: setting Wildly Important Goals (WIG); Identifying ‘Lead Measures’ (measurable actions that can be affected to accomplish the goal); Keeping Score (tracking the Lead Measures and WIG progress, in plain sight); and, Accountability – someone to encourage and help in the journey. 

So, I set my Wildly Important Goal for my health – to be under 200 lbs by Thanksgiving 2019. Then I broke the WIG down into some interim targets – I feel that this has been a key, shooting at a smaller goal on a shorter timeline, making progress feel real. So target 1 is under 230 lbs by August 5 2019*. That’s an eight week window from my June 17 start, and 22 lbs loss from my start of 252. * target attained 18 days early!!

Next I determined the Lead Measures I needed to track to make sure I was doing what is required to hit the goal. In the past I had tracked ‘Lag Measures’ – monitoring the goal, rather than the actions needed to reach it. For target 1, the Lag is 22 lbs weight loss, which is tracked on the Scoreboard, however, the Lead Measures I track are: Calorie Intake; Exercise; Avoiding Problem Foods, Taking Supplements & ACV drink Daily, Keep Fasting Window. I’ll go into detail in some of this in future installments of this story. 

My Scoreboard is posted by my bedroom door. It’s a simple grid where I record my weight each morning and confirm my Lead Measures for the previous day – a check or X in the block for each. I also keep a spreadsheet, where I have created a daily check of my week over week progress as well, and photos of my scale readout. 

For Accountability, I am thankful for my good friend Mike, who organized a Facebook group, and a weekly conference call, for a group of us who are on this journey together. These compatriots have been a big encouragement, even in the times that I was not properly engaged in this process. During that time, seeing others progress in the lifestyle journey, even when I wasn’t really making a good effort, kept me in the hunt. 

So, in summary, while there are important changes that have been made, utilizing these 4 Disciplines of Execution have really been the key to my success so far.

In the next installment, I’ll outline the 6 Lead Measures I’m tracking, and how these components seem to affect the positive changes I’ve seen.