With the approach of Elul, the Jewish month of preparation leading up to Rosh Hashanah, the call for self-improvement is in the air. How do we transform the desire for change into practical reality? Life is a journey and the practical preparations we perform for any trip can help us map out changes in our own lives.

1. A map and GPS

A map and GPSDetermine your ultimate destination. Decide on the very best route to take. Be sure to study each and every step carefully; it is the traversing of each individual highway and exit that makes up the ultimate destination.

Layout your long term goals. Then determine the how you will best reach your goal by mapping out a practical path and setting up short term, more attainable goals. Remember, it is what we make of the hours, days, and weeks of our lives which will determine our destiny.

2. Road signs

Road signsDon’t choose a completely unmarked path; you’re likely to get lost. Make sure that the route you are taking has proper road markers and signs that guide you and give you direction all along the way.

Seek out guidance and direction along the course of life’s odyssey. Find a role model and seek out wisdom and teachers of wisdom to stand as guides for you even on the blackest of roadways.

3. Motor oil

Motor oilBefore you leave, check the hood to make sure that you have enough motor oil. Insufficient amounts of motor oil can cause the engine to corrode and ware down.

Determination to succeed is the oil that keeps our engines in good shape. It is the fire that gives us strength to leap over the greatest of obstacles and traverse the most treacherous of paths.

4. Emergency kit containing first aid, spare tire, jumper cables, and tire inflator

Emergency kit containing first aid, spare tire, jumper cables, and tire inflatorDon’t let a flat a tire sabotage your trip. Anticipate setbacks and bring along the necessary utensils so you can fix the problem immediately and continue trekking.

Don’t let one failed venture become a permanent obstacle. An excursion as tough as this one is never continuous smooth sailing. Anticipate setbacks, and don’t let them leave you crippled. How we choose to deal with our challenges is what makes us or breaks us.

5. PowerAde and energy bars

PowerAde and energy barsA long trip can be taxing. If you feel run down during the course of a trip, a quick shot of PowerAde and some energy bars can work wonders for giving you the strength to continue on your journey.

Faith and inspiration are the fires that reignite our passion for the cause and fuel us with much needed energy and confidence to forge on. A mentor can provide for us a treasure house of wisdom, inspiration and encouragement. Looking for the small winks of Divine providence in our lives can help us face a challenge. Seek inspiration and you will find it.

6. A cell phone

A cell phoneDon’t leave home without it. It’s essential to have a way to contact help in case of an emergency and it’s always a useful gadget in case you get lost or need further direction.

The road of life should not be traveled alone. Let God be your partner, guide, and protector. Call out to Him because He is always there for help.

Dear traveler, all great journeys start with a first step. Don’t let the expansiveness of your dream and the distance of your destination discourage you from starting to climb, one step at a time. With the proper tools, you can reach the peak of your personal mountain. Have a sweet, new year of growth and inspiration.