Prepare and exercise. These two words had a profound impact on me.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines these two words in this way:
A: to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity.
B: to work out the details of; to plan in advance.
C: to get ready.
A: Activity requiring physical effort
B: something performed or practiced in order to develop, improve, or display a specific capability or skill.
Prepare for Action.
Imagine for a moment that you have been asked to bake a cake. You have never baked before in your life. The very first thing you would need to do is get the recipe. Right? Then you would check all the ingredients you need and you’d go to the shops and you would have to buy all those ingredients. Then it would do you good to do some research on how to actually bake a cake (because baking is a fine art) – you would read the instructions carefully and then make sure to follow the directions to the ‘T.’
You see, if you didn’t have all the correct ingredients your cake would be a flop. Even if you had all the correct ingredients but did not follow the steps in the correct order, your cake would still be a flop. Preparation is key to successfully baking a cake. This is a very simple example but the fact that preparation is key to success still stands true. Preparation is the key to achieving any goals you set yourself in life no matter what that goal may be.
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure” – Confucius
Exercise Equals Skill
Now imagine this… One day you decided that you’d really love to run a marathon. The trouble is, you’ve never run a day in your life and you are unfit. Do you think that running a marathon would be possible? No I thought not. You cannot run a marathon if you’ve never trained to run those kinds of distances. You will need to exercise those muscles and you’ll need to exercise your heart as well as your mind. Those marathons are gruelling – so I’ve heard.
Exercising your talents and abilities goes hand in hand with being prepared. After all, I could go and buy a beautiful electric guitar, get the amp and the sound effects pedals and I could get the ‘Learn how to’ books and dvds but all I would be is prepared. The truth is that preparation does not mean that I will have the ability to actually play the guitar. Preparation just means I’ve gotten ready with all that I need in order to play but preparation cannot give me the ability to actually play.
Exercise is the key that takes me from ready to able. Skill takes a lot of practice.
Make Sure Your Cake Doesn’t Flop
The other day I was wondering to myself how I would ever overcome the things in my life that I struggle with on a daily basis. These things might look different for many people, but that feeling of failure could feel very much the same, especially when you have been trying really hard to change certain aspects of your life yet keep failing. The harder you try the more it affects you when you fail because you may end up with feelings of condemnation towards yourself. Feelings of being a failure, of self-pity and uselessness. I know that is how I was feeling. I just couldn’t seem to get these changes to stick. It felt like a rollercoaster because I’d vow to change this or that and then for a few days I’d do well, but then I’d just end up going back. It really felt like there was no hope at all. I began to believe that I just had a weak mind and an even weaker will and that change for me was impossible – But that was a lie. That week in my quiet time, I was lead to a bible verse that really jumped out from the page at me. These words I had read many times before but that day they stood out like a flashing light in the darkness pleading to be noticed.
So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. – 1 Peter 1:13
Prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. BAM! What a revelation!
Straight away I looked up the definitions of those two little words and that’s when I realised that it does not matter how much you try to change things, if you have not prepared your mind properly, your cake will flop, and no matter how hard you try to get better at new things, if you do not exercise in order to develop your ability, your cake will flop.
Whatever it is that you may be struggling with, my suggestion would be that you stop trying to change without a plan. Stop right now and instead begin to prepare your mind. There are so many helpful articles online these days that could help you prepare your mind for whatever changes it is that you are wanting to implement in your life. Prepare your mind like a farmer prepares his soil before planting his crops. Read up about the problems you face and join groups where others who are struggling with similar things are able to give you advice.
Then once you are prepared, you need to start exercising. Like a skinny man going to gym for the first time, the more he exercises those muscles, the larger they will become. The same goes for your struggles. The more you exercise new behaviours the more natural they will start to feel. You won’t just be left sitting with a pretty guitar and no skill to play it. Eventually your new behaviour will become your new habit and like a guitarist finds freedom in his playing when his skill is finely tuned, so too will you find freedom to live the life you have been striving so hard to achieve.
If this article spoke to you and you are struggling in similar ways, I encourage you to click on the link below or on the pop-up window and get in touch with us. We’d love to get you on a path to finding freedom. Your life will never be the same again.