Friday, March 27, 2009

Fail to plan = plan to fail

Ok, so I've heard that little saying my WHOLE life, but it never really sank in.

But now I'm married to Jason, who plans EVERYTHING.

The people I'm from? Not so much.

One of the first things you learn in Weight Watchers is that you have to plan. You have to look ahead to see what situations you're walking in to, and you have to know what you're going to eat or do. If you do that the majority of the time, on those occasions when you can't prepare, it won't be such a disaster.

But several days this week, my life has been full of FAIL. And not just plain FAIL, but approaching EPIC FAIL territory.

I realized yesterday that my failure to plan was setting me up to fail.

The problem? Getting Anna Marie out of the door for schools. We've been doing this for two years now, but for some reason, it's become increasingly stressful lately. Part of the problem is that I've been letting her sleep five minutes later so I can get a bit more done, and the other part is that she's growing up and I'm expecting her to do more for herself.

For the past two days, we'd both ended up in tears by the time the school run was over.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany. I noticed that she would do what I told her to (get dressed, eat breakfast, etc.) but she wouldn't do anything else in the sequence unless I was standing over her, giving her instructions right then. She's seven years old - I shouldn't have to stand over her for every little thing!

Then, I remembered her room-cleaning checklist. I can tell her to clean her room, and she dissolves in a fit of overload. But, I can break it down into a series of tasks - make bed, clear clutter off floor, etc. - and she can manage just fine.

I applied the same principle to our morning routine. I planned!

Last night, I told her that there were things she HAD to do in the mornings to get ready, and things that were OPTIONAL (like reading part of a book). If she got the mandatory things done, and she still had time, then she could read or whatever.

We went over the steps to getting ready: go to the restroom, put on your clothes, eat breakfast, put on your socks and shoes, brush your teeth and hair. When she finished one task, I said, she needed to go ahead and move on to the next.

Guess what - it worked!

Instead of running so late that she got to school just as the bell was ringing, we left the house a full 20 minutes earlier today. She was ready not just in time to run out the door, but early enough to get some reading in as well!

And one of our biggest obstacles, her tying her shoes - once I wasn't standing over her, rushing her to get it done, she did it without a hitch. Rushing around, turns out, was making her make mistakes.

Who knew?

We got to school in plenty of time to beat the traffic, neither of us was in tears, and I had time to run and pick up a couple of things from the store. It was magical!

And now, I'm making a plan for my own life. And I know that the "best laid plan" fail, but I'm seeking some help from a Higher Authority on this one. And even failure with a plan isn't usually as bad as failure with no plan at all!

This thinking through what you're going to do before you do it could revolutionize life as we know it.

Viva la revalucion!

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