How I set myself up for success

Author: Dr. Quinte Naturopathic Centre on 27 July 2015

It doesn’t matter what you do in life, if you set yourself up for success you are more likely to reach your goals. This is something that I teach when working with patients to improve their health, and at times, I manage to follow my own advice.

Many of you know that I wrote a super hard exam this July. My challenge was to set myself up for success so I could perform at my very best (and of course pass…I mean who wants to write an exam twice?)


There are 5 main things I focused on to set myself up for success.

1. Give myself enough time so I wasn’t rushed.

2. Enjoy the process.

3. Eat well.

4. Sleep well.

5. Get some fresh air.

In order to give myself enough time I decided to write the exam in July instead of June. Could I have worked like a crazy woman to get everything done in time for the June exam? Maybe. Did I want to be that crazy woman and exhaust myself by pushing too hard? NO.

I also decided to take a week of holidays before the exam so I didn’t have anything else to focus on except studying. I went a step further and rented a cottage to spend this week all by myself. This served two purposes. I would get some fresh air and I would be able to sleep well.

Eating well is not usually a problem for me. It is part of who I am and what I do. But…if there ever is a time to get off the wagon it’s when you are “busy studying”. To prevent this from happening I planned my meals for the week ahead of time. I knew exactly what I was going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the whole week. This avoided decision fatigue and the excuse to “grab something quick” because I was studying. I also made some dishes up ahead of time so they were ready to just warm up and eat.

Finally - enjoy the process. How could I enjoy spending every weekend for 2 months AND my week of holidays studying? Well, time to re-frame. It turns out that almost everyone likes to learn something new because we are happier when we experience growth. It also turns out that I spent 8 years in post-secondary education because I actually really like being a student. This was an opportunity to use that to my advantage.

Now that it is all over….well, almost all over (I have to wait five weeks to see if I passed) I’ve noticed a funny thing. Some of these basic habits that I thought I was pretty good at already, have now improved in my regular life. I get up a little earlier in the morning so I'm not rushed getting ready for work. I am going to bed a little earlier so I get a little more sleep and am able to wake up early. I am going for a walk more often when I would otherwise just keep working. I’m continuing to work on enjoying the process and worry less about the end result.

Now I would like to hear from you! Are there habits that you could improve even if you think they are pretty good already? Do you have a time where you set yourself up for success? I would love to hear what you did.

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Quinte Naturopathic Centre

173 Church Street

Belleville, ON K8N 3C1


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