Friday, May 13, 2016

Mastering the Art of "Staying Ready"

Yesterday, while on the phone with a friend, she informed me of a social function taking place that evening and invited me to join.

Immediately I came up with a reason why I wasn't able to accept her invite.  For the past few weeks, she and I had several similar conversations where I declined to leave the house for one reason or another.  Finally, she called me out on my actions by saying "I thought you said that you were going to stay ready."

The truth hurts.

She was absolutely right. I probably missed out on multiple opportunities to meet new people and make incredible connections simply because I've allowed myself to slack off.   If I keep this up, the invites will come less frequently and so may the opportunities.  It's time I finally follow through on my promise to myself to be ready for any of the wonderful possibilities that life throws my way.

In order to execute my "Stay Ready" plan, I first identify the most common reasons excuses I give for not being ready.  Then I implement systems to make sure this issue doesn't arise again in the future.

Simple enough.
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[PROBLEM]The number one excuse that I use for getting out of anything is my hair.  If my hair looks unkept, I ain't leaving the house.
[ROOT CAUSE] The reason why my hair ends up looking neglected is because I rarely do anything with it.  Working from home allows you to get away with the bare minimum.  Unfortunately, when it comes time to leave the house, I soon realize the error of my ways.
[SOLUTION] My socialite friend doesn't have to worry about this because she has a signature hair style that requires little effort and looks absolutely amazing.  I have what I call a default hairstyle.  This is very different from a signature style.  The default hair style is born out of laziness. It doesn't actually flatter me, in fact, I think it does the opposite.  It's basically a side part and bun.  Don't get me wrong a side part and bun can look really good but, the way I do it, doesn't create the end result I'm looking for.  So I'm coming up with some alternate styles that can work well in any given situation.  For one, staying ready means keeping ends healthy.  Micro trimming has helped with that.  It also means having a variety of to-go styles on deck depending on humidity levels, how much new growth I have, etc.  I also realize that I have a non-existent nightly routine for my hair. I still tie it up every night, but other than that, I don't do much else.  Crafting a nightly routine is definitely on my list of to-dos. If I come up with something brilliant, I'll let you know.


[PROBLEM] Another excuse I have for not wanting to leave the house is that I don't have anything to wear.  Truth be told, the real reason is that I don't want to try on a hundred different combinations looking for the perfect outfit.  It's time consuming and frustrating.
[ROOT CAUSE] Too much mental energy is required to sort through my random selection of clothing to decide the exact look for the event.  Wearing jeans and a tee is much easier.
[SOLUTION] Reduce the amount of options to make the decision making process easier.  For instance, I can limit my decisions to whether I am wearing a dress or not.  If not, do I go with a white/neutral top, or bright colors?  The act of finding something to wear should take no more than 15-20 minutes tops.  Or, better yet, I can pre-select outfit combinations for the week.  Either way, I need to get organized in this department so I never have to complain about not having anything to wear again.

[PROBLEM] Sometimes when I'm getting ready to head out, that's when I notice the chipped nail polish or the stubble on my legs.  How did I let these details slip by?
[ROOT CAUSE] These behaviors are not embedded into my regular routines.
[SOLUTION] Allot time in my everyday routine for the detailed self care actions.  Somehow I seem to make sure I exfoliate my body every single day but have a hard time keeping up with the stuff that I only do a couple of times a week.  Perhaps the solution is to turn these into daily actions.  For instance, once upon a time, I shaved almost daily even though there was no stubble.  That really helped keep the habit in place. With my nails, I'll also be paying them attention on a daily basis.  I'm thinking of bringing back nail rubbing or massaging the cuticles regularly.  And while I'm doing that, I can refresh the polish if needed.

[PROBLEM] Feeling ugly because of weight gain, bad skin, etc
[ROOT CAUSE] Allowing neglect to accumulate therefore creating an undesirable outcome.
[SOLUTION] This is one area that really requires that we stay ready.  Unlike finding the right outfit or painting our nails, weight gain or bad skin can't be solved right away.  This just has to be something we do on the daily.  For instance, your skin care regimen shouldn't be only for cleansing purposes, it should also give you clear, bright, glowing skin.  If that's not the case, then tweak it. One thing I'm proud to say is that bad skin is no longer my excuse not to leave the house.  But it took a lot of trial and error to get here.

Maintaining our ideal weight seems to get harder each year that passes.  The answer has to come from creating a regular exercise routine and eating in a way that automatically creates those results.  I think I've stumbled on a system that seems to be working well for me.  It's still early in the process so I'll continue to monitor results before sharing all the details.  But in the mean time, I want you to reflect back on the times when your body looked and felt the best.  What were you eating back then? Were you super active? What did your daily habits look like?  If you reinstitute some of the same actions, you'll get the same results.

Staying ready isn't all that hard if I put the right systems in place.  There are people who are on "stay ready" status all the time.  And they do it without exerting that much extra effort.  It's all about integrating a few habits seamlessly into our every day.  The next time an invitation comes, I guarantee I'll be ready.

  1. Love this post. I definitely have to start using these tips. I'm so guilty of not going to places because of my hair not being done or not finding the right outfit

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  2. Great post, we procastinate way too much.

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  3. I'm starting to have this problem too. Because I mainly work and shop from home, getting ready to go out has become more difficult. It was actually kinda sad for me to realize that I haven't shopped for actual clothes (not workout gear) in months. I will follow your tips and make an effort to stay ready....

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  4. Ughhhh, if my hair isn't right -- I simply cannot. I feel like even if I have an appropriate outfit and shoes, that my hair can ruin it all and sometimes natural hair has a mind of it's own.

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