“The hay is in the barn!” was a term I heard often in college as our nationally ranked cross-country team would step to the line for another highly competitive Division I cross-country meet. It was a phrase to remind us that we had done all the training we could and made all the necessary preparations to ensure our success. We trained hard, ate well, were diligent in our sleep, and we were as ready as we could be for any race.
But, like anything in life, everything is fine until I would step to the line and see the hundreds of other highly trained and prepared athletes looking forward to the opportunity to kick my butt off the race course! Doubt would inevitably creep in and I wandered if I had done enough and if I was ready to compete with the best the sport had to offer. I needed to be reminded that I had physically and mentally prepared myself, and hearing, “the hay is in the barn,” would do just that.
At times my best was just not good enough and I would be beaten, but I always finished the race with the satisfaction of knowing that I used the talents that God gave me and that I gave it my best shot.
I learned that I must approach life in similar ways that I did on race days. In order to compete well in life, I must show up physically and mentally fit. I accomplish this through disciplines that I work at consistently every single day, because in the end, those that are consistent with good daily habits are the ones most likely to win the race.
Here are some of my consistent habits that I do to ensure “the hay is in the barn” in my everyday life:
- I get at least seven hours of sleep every night;
- I lay still for 30 minutes in quiet time;
- I write to get my thoughts out of my mind and on paper;
- I exercise at least one hour six days a week with one full day of rest;
- I read something that is going to fill my mind and heart with positive reinforcement;
- I develop my relationship with the Lord through prayer and meditation;
- I meditate on my life goals;
- I make conscious healthy eating choices;
- I drink lots of water;
- I reflect on my finances to ensure my family is on the right path;
- I find at least one character trait to praise my kids and wife on every day.
- I review my plan for the next day.
Life is nothing but a string of good decisions that are managed daily. What are the things you are doing to make sure you are prepared for your “race day”? Don’t ever “toe the line” without having “the hay in the barn!”