Meal Planning Changes
When preparing for a contest you have to be more focused on your nutrition. You are going to need to tough out some major changes in your nutrition to help get you ripped. You cannot cruise with your nutrition when you are working towards getting on stage. Planning becomes an all the time thing.
Training Approach Changes
For me I have to focus on bringing up lagging body parts. That's why I have planned so far in advance. I want to be sure I have the focus and time to get the job done. I need (for myself) to look big enough when I hit the stage. That is extremely important to me.
Training Schedule Changes
As you get closer to a competition there tends to be more visits to the gym. Generally I find myself in the gym twice a day for the month prior to the show. This means planning my life out more carefully. It is something that you have to do carefully.
Overall Lifestyle Changes
While I try to live the bodybuilding lifestyle all the time, when preparing for a competition it is extremely different. I find myself looking at every angle. I pay more attention to my sleep schedule, my eating schedule and my training schedule. It just is what I do.
In order for all of these changes to happen you need a good support system. This is where you may have to make the biggest changes. If someone is standing in your way consider eliminating contact with them during your prep. The key is to remove all roadblocks on the way to the competition stage.