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A Lesson in Proper Preparation

Have you ever run out of gas? Literally, sitting in your car on the side of the road unable to go any further? I am embarrassed to admit, I have… more than once (In all honesty, it has happened 5+ times in the past year). Sitting on the side of the highway I feel stunted by my own forgetfulness or lack of judgment, with no one to blame but myself. A mental war begins….“How could I be so stupid? How did you let this happen AGAIN?? —Everyone makes mistakes, and it could be worse. —You got yourself in this mess now you have to get yourself out.”  At this moment I remember a saying my brother taught me… 

“Proper preparation prevents poor performance.” 

This experience is a metaphor for so many things in life. While you may not have run out of gas in your car, I’m sure at some point you have “run out of gas” physically, mentally, or emotionally. Knowing when, where or how to replenish this state of emptiness can dramatically shift the way you live. 

Where in your life are you running on empty? Do you break down before you notice there’s a problem? Here are 4 steps for proper preparation (to prevent poor performance*)

1. Envision your goals
What do you want to achieve?

2. Evaluate your time & energy
What do you find draining? And what fills you up?

3. Prioritize change
Making subtle shifts each day. Add ways to restore your time & energy. Start new routines. Optimize recurring tasks. Create schedules, reminders or subscriptions. Regularly restock, refill and recharge.

4. Reward progress
Even the littlest achievement deserves recognition. Find an accountability partner that will nudge you in the right direction, and celebrate with you along the way. 

For me, running out of gas is an ongoing battle. I now keep a bright yellow post-it note in my car and plaster it to the steering wheel when I need to fill up. This reminder has prevented another “poor performance”.  Other things that keep my life running smoothly are —doing my laundry every Sunday, which helps reduce build up and makes me feel good starting the week with fresh sheets and a closet full of clean clothes. I also have subscriptions for my favorite foods (and dog food). These recurring deliveries help me avoid stress and frustration while maintaining healthy habits. All of these little actions add up, leaving me more time and energy to focus on the things I love. 

“It’s easier to act your way into a new thinking 
than think you way into a new way of acting” 
-Brianna Wise

*Always remember performance is relative :)