Word of the week: Preparation

So there’s plenty of sayings that can pretty much sum up  a whole posts worth of dicking about talking about prepping and planning. Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Don’t prepare and you’re a prick.

Okay, so the last one might be mine, but it pretty much fits in with the rest. Holds the same information, is short and sweet, has a couple of words with the same starting letter in there. Again, fits.

I had the opportunity to speak with an ex-athletics coach recently and this short rant effectively came from his frankly cracking presentation on achieving goals and facilitating change. The whole talk wasn’t geared for sports, but more towards techniques that are applicable to most everything in life. Frankly it was fairly inspiring. So much so that it’s resulted in changes to my everyday life. Positive changes. These themselves won’t be applicable (read: interesting) to you, but I’m thinking a couple of the points behind them might well be. So.

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Sounds simple right? Look back at something you wanted to happen by now that hasn’t. Imagine stepping back to when you decided that you wanted to be x by now and sitting back and planning to the minutest detail how you were going to get there – daily word count quotas and planning time if you’re a writer, weight loss goals with weekly exercise schedules planned out, study timetables for students. This one goes for everyone. You want to do something? First step – buy a calender. Fix a goal for a weeks time, writing down what you’ll do that week to meet that goal. Even if the goal is just to have done everything written down on the planner. Repeat for the next month. Two months. Year. Guess what? You smashed your original goal about 4 months ago.

Really makes sense, doesn’t it? It did for me and I’m only about 3 weeks in. Fair enough I haven’t managed to smash everything I wanted to do in the last 21 days, but I know where I went wrong and why. And I’m getting better. Constantly and consistently. Which brings me to…

Ride the roller-coaster

Shit like this isn’t easy. You will fall off the rails, you will miss things, you will have to carry stuff into the next day or week to catch up, but that’s the beauty of it. You’ll have the days where everything feels possible. ‘You know what? I just ran my best time for 5k in my LIFE! I’m going to run a bit more today.’ And for when, you know, you feel like crappy and haven’t done anything you said you would – you’re aware of it. You know you’ve messed up, you know you’ll hit it twice as hard tomorrow and you will. Not. Give. In. Not when every day you’ve taken another measurement, counted and revised how far you’ve come, know where you’ll be next time.

Next time

How do you write your goals, your dreams? I want to write a cracking novel. I want to lose weight. I want to write a song that will make the minstrels weep. I want to walk down the red carpet with Scarlett Johannson.

These are all wishes. Especially that last one. Try – ‘I have written 120,000 words of fiction over the last 10 months – I have spoken to several publishers and will be a professional author in the next 6 weeks. I feel terrific, especially at my know-it-all friends party – shocked the hell out of him/her!’

I am fully aware it sounds cheesy as hell, right? But that cheesiness has put it in a positive first person frame, it reads as though it has already been achieved, there’s an emotional attachment in there, as well as a nice ‘show-off’ point. That point may never happen like that, but if you actually achieve what you set out to, I can’t imagine you not showing off a bit.

I sure as hell will.

(Note the positive ‘I have already achieved this’ ending  right there.)

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