When’s the last time you baked cookies? I don’t mean the last time you bought a tube of dough and sat in front of the T.V. binging on carbs and romantic comedies. I mean an honest to goodness, full-on batch of homemade cookies involving a mixer and bowls, an oven, and everything. 

The last time I baked, it was on a whim. Now it’s not like me to be unprepared when I bake. But this time I was. I’d had one of those days and I needed to get my chocolate chips on. I didn’t have the recipe but I was fairly certain I could recreate it from memory. I grabbed the butter and the eggs from the fridge, threw them into a mixing bowl, turned the mixer to speed 5, and made a crazy mess. I’d completely forgotten that I was supposed to soften the butter first. Oops!

After scraping as much of the goo back into the bowl as possible, I set the speed to 1 and patiently mixed until my ingredients more or less resembled what I remembered they should look like. 

Next, I added vanilla and some sugar. After a manic hunt, I’d discovered that all I had was confectioner’s sugar and a few dozen packets of the raw stuff left over from a party. So I added and mixed until the texture seemed right. I then added flour, salt, and the only baking soda I could find…from the box in the fridge. 

It was at that point that I realized that the only chocolate in the house was an archeologically relevant, partially eaten Pound Plus bar with almonds from Trader Joe’s. I grabbed a cleaver, chopped it into chip-ish pieces, folded it into my mystery dough, threw some blobs on a cookie sheet, and put it into a preheated 450°F oven. 

12 minutes later I pulled out a dozen terrifying, smoking, blackened coals. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where I went wrong. A good baker comes to the kitchen prepared. She has all of her resources ready and accounted for. She has a plan. Because she understands the alchemy involved in changing a bunch of random ingredients into delicious, mouth-watering cookies requires precision and preparation.

Well, buttercups, the same goes for any changes. If you want desirable, predictable results, you must have all of your resources in order. Now I’m not saying things will never go wrong. Or that you won’t need or even want to do a little improvising. But coming to the party fully prepared is going to increase your chances of success exponentially.

So get ready to take inventory because I’m about to give you the perfect recipe for change! 

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