Whether it’s looking forward to new fishing season, or to a new year, winter is a great time to take stock in your tackle, and to evaluate your goals and ideas to organize them for success. If you think about it, the skills you apply to organizing your tackle box can be used to organize your life as well. It may sound a little cheesy but stay with me – you’ll see there are a lot of similarities. And since you are already good at organizing tackle, why not use those skills elsewhere?
Organizing your tackle box is essential for fishing success. You need to be confident you have the right fishing tools at your fingertips. Organizing your daily life is also essential, as thinking ahead and focusing on your goal will also ensure success. So, let’s take a cue from your tackle box and get organized! Start by asking:
What Am I Fishing For?
Obviously having the right type of lures, soft bait, line and hooks is critical. You don’t use big saltwater lures in a freshwater pond. What about soft bait? Is it in a bag or container to keep it fresh?
In life, you need to ask “where am I going?” Basically, what are you fishing for? Do you have the right tools to move forward? Thinking through your overall goals, then breaking them down into smaller components so you can move forward is important to moving forward. Basically, what fish (goals) do you want to catch, and what tackle (steps) do you need to catch them?
Now that you have an overall set of goals, it’s time to get into the details.
When it’s time to organize tackle, it’s easier to empty the box. Dump out everything so you can take stock of what you have, the condition, and what you might be missing. Then clean it thoroughly so when you do reload the tackle box, it’s fresh.
For life goals, dump everything from the prior year, or few years. Get rid of doubt, regret, and things that did not work. Then clean up your point of view. It’s time for a fresh start, so move forward with a focus on what will work.
Categorize to Identify
Organizing your tackle into broad categories ensures you can easily access what you need. You don’t want to be fumbling around trying to find the right bait when those fish are biting! After all, it can end at any time. Choose high level categories such as crankbaits, soft plastics, top-waters, chatterbaits – whatever makes sense for the type of fishing you prefer. By separating into types you can load them into your tackle box into an organizing, effective manner.
In life, think about your goals and who will support you in getting there. Then you might categorize them in a similar manner. Chatterbaits – folks who are fun and provide a much-needed distraction. Soft plastics – those people you can lean on in tough times. Crankbaits – we all have them, and they are useful when you need a candid opinion. Top-waters – your comrades who are there to lift you up. Now you can reach out to the people in your life at the right time. Of course, don’t let the categorization prevent you from reaching out when you need support. You would not let the fact that you don’t have a certain lure prevent you from fishing!
Organize for Understanding
Your tackle box is now clean, and the tackle is separated into usable segments, so it’s time to put it back together. You don’t just toss everything back in. Instead, you place each piece of tackle into a tray, bag, or container so you can easily access it, and also so you can ensure it is in the right environment for the entire season. Plastic containers work great for leaders and swivels, baggies are ideal for soft bait, and of course labels are needed so you can easily grab what you want without having to sort through all the tackle repeatedly.
Organizing your life goals into smaller chunks and aligning with people who will ensure you realize those goals, works the same way very much. Make sure you are not taking on more than you should by putting the goal into smaller chunks, then placing that chunk it in the right place in your life. It does not help if you decide to take on a major goal, like better health, more family time, getting a new job, if you do not put each component of the goal into its rightful place. After all, you don’t use all the tackle you own to catch one fish! Instead of thinking about the overall goal, say get healthy, use a system organized like your tackle box to break it down. Set a realistic schedule – walk 3 days a week – and then find the person who will support that goal.
Time to Let Go
Sometimes we hang on to things just because we have them. If you have excess soft bait, or lures, that you have not used, will you use them this season? Your tackle box is there to help you in the here and now to catch the fish you want. If you have some type of sentimental value attached to a lure, then find a new home for it. Use the tackle box to reach the goals of catching lots of fish and having fun doing it!
Same with life goals. If you have had a goal for the last couple of years, and have yet to achieve it, ask why. Perhaps the timing is not right, perhaps you need a new approach, or perhaps it’s something you think you are supposed to do because someone else told you, not something you really want. Put those aside and focus on the goals that you want to achieve. Go after the fish that you want, and don’t worry about all those other fish.
Keep It Going
Your tackle box won’t stay organized on its own, so it’s up to you to ensure it stays in great shape. Set a schedule to review and clean up your tackle, getting rid of broken items, replacing lost lures, and repackaging and organizing so you can easily access the tackle.
Keeping focused on your big life goals is also important, so again set up a time to review progress and see how far you’ve come. Most likely you will have accomplished a lot more than you realize simply because you have been focused on the small steps to getting there, rather than the big end goal.
At Heroes on the Water, our big goal is to support veterans, active-duty military and their families to accomplish their goals and ensure they successfully integrate into civilian life through free, therapeutic kayak fishing events so they can relax and unwind in a healing, supportive environment. We keep it simple, focusing on serving through our nationwide network of chapters, evaluating regularly to see how we can do better, and most importantly, ensure that we have a supportive environment to serve those who have given so much.
You can help us keep it going by donating or volunteering! Our nation’s veterans deserve so much, and with your support, we can do our part in making that happen. Help us keep our tackle box prepared to serve.