Friday, February 22, 2013

When Long Term Becomes Short Term

I am an extremely goal orientated person. I set a goal and I go after it. Two easy examples, for more than a year I set my sights on breaking 33 minutes in the 10,000. At the outdoor conference championship I did it with 1.50 seconds to spare. Another much longer example, my second day of high school I said to my biology class that I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer, eight years later I walked across the stage with a degree in aerospace engineering. I didn't change my major in high school or college.

I'm getting older. There is no time to waste. If I want to do something, I had better do it or the opportunity will disappear. One of the difficulties of actually accomplishing a goal is the transition from long term to short term. I have struggled with this transition in both of my marathon training cycles. Early in the goal there is a lot of time to progress. Later in the progression the goal becomes more concrete and tangible. How does one make that transition?

A few suggestions:

  • Instead of thinking about ideas and theory as people do in long term planning, think about specifics, like the workout last week or the exam in four days.
  • If you are capable of accomplishing the goal as planned then just do it. If you are not, well you have come this far you might as well give it a shot.
  • Recognize most of the pressure is internal. Others don't care nearly as much as you do if it works out exactly as you planned.
  • The meaning of the goal has probably changed since you set it. Recognize there is a difference between then and now and learn from the journey so that the next time you set more appropriate goals at the beginning of the process.

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