Stop Before You Start

By Guest Blogger: Barbara Cobb

Does this often happen to you? You do everything right the night before – lay out exercise gear for your early morning workout, plan and prep healthy meals and snacks for the day, fill water bottles, review your calendar, and plan for a rewarding and productive day, one guaranteed to push you closer towards achieving your goals.

You are ready to go! You are enthusiastic! You are on fire – burning brightly with renewed passion and vigor.

But what happens the next morning? The alarm clock goes off and immediately, without thinking, you make bad andunplanned choices. The snooze button hit with the disclaimer,“Just thirty more minutes.” The planned early morning workout postponed, with a halfhearted promise to do later. A cup of coffee is glugged, instead of water. A muffin mindlesslyconsumed and rationalized as “just one won’t hurt.” And so, it goes, your day’s journey disrupted despite carefully crafting aroadmap to success the night before.

How did the previous night’s prep work and good intentions getderailed? The answer is simple. You planned everything except the most critical element, the difference between success and failure: your mindset. Your mindset is your mental attitude. It determines your approach to life and drives your every action. Not preparing your mindset is the equivalent of jumping out of a plane without opening your parachute. You carefully packed your parachute, but it did not open. No matter how well you equip yourself with the best supplies, the pack will NOT deploy on its own.

It may sound counterintuitive, but before you start your day, before you even get out of bed, take a moment and STOP.

While you may have done all the right things the night before, if you do not take a moment before your feet hit the floor to prepare your mindset, you jeopardize the success of your day before it even starts. And while you can try to prepare you mental attitude for the coming day the night before, it is most effective the very first thing in the morning, before your feet hit the floor, before you, without thinking, make a decision that was not part of your plan.

Think of your mind as a radio and tune the dial to station S T OP which stands for Select the Optimal Programming. You need to take time each morning to adjust and calibrate your mindset. Make sure that you program it so that it is set and focused to achieve best practices. Make sure it is ready to accomplish what you have so carefully planned for the day. If you STOP before you start your day, your will ensure that your mind is set in the right gear, and you will garner the focus, determination and resilience needed throughout the day.

So, if you are a creature of the snooze button, go ahead and hit it.

But use that snooze time to STOP and prepare your mind.You know the importance of warming up your body before a workout, remember that it is just as necessary to warm up your mind. Use that time and put yourself through a routine of mindset calisthenics. I keep my mental programming short and simple. Below is my STOP workout. I encourage you to develop your own and find what works best for you.


1. Review

2. Remind

3. Affirm

4. Pray

First, I review my goals and visualize myself successfully completing them.

This visualization helps build the focus and drive needed throughout the day to attain them. Visualize yourself accomplishing your goal, whether it be crossing the finish line of a marathon, taking center stage at a competition, or finally finishing that novel. Recapping your goals reminds you mentally of what you are working towards.

Next, I repeat a series of general reminders of best practices.

These are like the prompts that I used to tell my sons when I dropped them off at school each day, e.g., “don’t do drugs” and “make good choices.” Despite their eye rolls, it helped to remind them daily.

Here are my general reminders which help me frame an optimal mindset:

• Today, I will respect my body and treat it like the temple that it is.

• Today, I will remember to eat to live and not live to eat.

• Today, I will squash any negative thoughts that enter my mind and stomp them like a bug.

• Today, I will surround myself with positive people and avoid those that try to thwart my goals.

• Today, I will remember to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously.

• Today, I will find the joy in everyone and everything.

• Today, I will remember that this day is a gift from God and not squander it.

Going through my daily reminders helps me achieve a positive mindset and prepares me to deal effectively with any challenges thrown my way.

The third part of my STOP workout is to repeat a list of daily affirmations that I keep on my nightstand.

Mine read like the Helen Reddy song, “I Am Woman”:

• I am beautiful.

• I am powerful.

• I am invincible, unstoppable.

• There is only one me and today I will be the best me possible.

• I will forgive my mistakes and remind myself that I am a work in progress.

Daily repetition of these affirmations generates the energy needed to sustain me throughout the day.

Lastly, I end with a prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of this day. Thank you for the body you have given me; it is a marvel of strength, beauty, and incredible engineering. Thank you for the gift of my mind; may it make me ever strong, determined, and resilient.

So, that is my STOP workout. Review, remind, affirm, and pray.It does not require any equipment, extraordinarily little time, but reaps huge results. So, remember, before you start your day, remember to STOP it. So go ahead in the morning and hit the snooze button. Do your mindset workout. By the time your snooze button sounds for the second time, your mind will be seton the right station. Adjusted to give it the focus, mental tenacity and determination needed to achieve your goals. And make sure throughout the day that your mind stays on the right station. If you find it on the wrong channel, switch it back. Challenging day ahead? No worries, just remember one of Coach Pam’s mantras “I thrive in adverse situations -struggles make me stronger – mis-steps make me more confident.”

Now hit the floor. Start your day! You are woman! Let me hear you roar!

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