Saturday, February 13, 2010

Plan your actions, not your results.

Now is that time of year when runners tend to start looking ahead to next year. Though this is not entirely a bad thing, I personally feel that it's too soon for it, but who cares what I think, right? I'm not even sure I care what I think!

(The reason I think it's too soon for it is because when we look ahead all the time we tend to forget the here and now. Life isn't made up of a bunch of tomorrows; it is made up of the here now…this gift we call the present. And anyway, the future will soon be a thing of the past, so we must embrace the gift of today.)

Still, I don't think most of us think like I think (thank God
). Most of us set our sights on things we can't always control, like those many tomorrows we take for granted and presume are coming our way. If you're in good health and don't cross the path of an inebriated driver it's safe to assume these tomorrows will arrive. But if you've done little with your numerous yesterdays and are doing less now today (by reading this drivel, for example) then what makes you think you'll achieve what you're hoping to accomplish tomorrow, or many tomorrows from now?

You see, history allows us to learn a little about the future. Sure, we grow and learn and change and continue to dream (though dreaming is really just a form of planning), but for the most part, each year pans out like the last unless we do something about it NOW. We must take control of our future and indeed our "destiny" if we are to fulfill it, and that begins today, at this very moment. As it's been said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life," so don't spend it resting on tomorrow's hopes; quit resting on your lazy laurels and do something NOW. And planning isn't that something. (If you're going to plan, plan actions, not results.)

The dictionary defines planning as the act or process of planning; designing a definitive purpose. So naturally, for the athlete, planning might come across as a good and necessary thing. Purpose certainly is. But planning is often just a way to
feel good now without doing something now. It is often little more than an innate subconscious ruse acted out in order to keep us from acting out now. After all, planning relates closely to wishing. Remember, the tomorrow we are planning for today will not exist in this form when tomorrow arrives.

What's more, plans also have a way of destroying our ability to make decisions on the go and we might find ourselves sticking to them to the bitter end, when we should be implementing a course of action based on the realities that unfold "before" us. In this sense,
plans are a good servant but a bad master. Perhaps, "It's good to have a plan for when things don't go according to plan?" Just don't over-plan and be enslaved to what may or may not happen. Let your life and your training enjoy some spontaneity and some adventure, and now is as good a time as any!

Before his death (obviously), John Lennon wrote, "Life is what's happening while you're busy making other plans," and truer words have never been spoken. So rather than "make" plans, no matter how elaborate their construction may be, why not just head out the door and go for a run? Who cares if it's snowing? Who cares if it's getting dark?
Just go! You can plan for tomorrow when it arrives, because if you go do something today that wasn't planned, tomorrow's plans will likely need to be changed anyhow.

Remember, when they say "Seize the day," that day is TODAY.

-Frank Pucher

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