Many of us have put off planning because, for the last six months, we've had to cancel or modify everything we intended to do. Jobs, vacations, and get togethers have gone by the wayside. It may have been draining, devastating, or depressing. Or all three!
And with the pandemic far from over, we might be wary of planning, afraid that whatever we shoot for will fail. I believe that not planning might make things worse because we tend to live in the future. No plans = nothing to live toward.
- Imagine you've planned for a two-week camping vacation in Montana. In the months and weeks before the trip, you enjoy researching and getting ready for the trip. You watch movies about camping and conduct energy-bar taste tests. The excitement builds as your departure time arrives. You're living in the future.
- The week before your trip, you're super-focused at work and ensure co-workers will take care of any loose ends. Even at work, you feel the anticipation. You're living in the future.
- Then you go camping. You enjoy the moment but also relish thinking about the next few days. You're living in the future.
- A couple of days before the end of your trip you start thinking about what's next. Getting home, picking the dog up from boarding, and what's waiting for you at work. Your spirits dip a bit during these moments. You're still living in the future.
All the leading up to the trip time is awesome, fun, and helpful. I crave that right now. How about you?
"But the pandemic," you say. It's true, we don't really know how the next week, month, or year will look and if we'll end up cancelling any plans we make. I'm going to make the case for planning anyway with the following considerations:
- Be realistic - planning for a trip next month might not be smart. We KNOW the pandemic will still be raging a month from now.
- Plan with flexibility - don't buy nonrefundable travel. The good news is that many companies are offering no-risk booking.
- Prepare fully and resolve to be OK with delays and changes. If you make an agreement ahead to be totally engaged during this unsettled time, it will make any changes you might have to make less devastating.
- Train, research, and discuss with abandon!
Another example. Here's my new broad plan.
Bill and I are going to spend two weeks in New Mexico in late March, 2021. We both LOVE New Mexico and know the state well. We're planning on a lot of outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and exploring. We intend to get a rental home for a lot of this time so we can cook and stay away from crowds.
There will be one event with more people we hope will be safe to do: I'm going to walk the Duke City Half Marathon in Albuquerque on March 28th. This means TRAINING with a capital T. Several days ago I committed to creating a training plan on this blog. I've Shared the details of my plan at the end of this post for those who are interested.
We have five months to plan, research, and discuss our trip and this will make the next five months more enjoyable and healthy even if we end up changing our plans. I've already made the hotel reservation for the half-marathon (can cancel). I will not be stupid...timid, or hesitant.
In the business world, it's common to hear about BHAGs - Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
BHAGs are goal that challenge us in ways that energize, engage, and expand.
"A BHAG engages people– it reaches out and grabs them in the gut. It is tangible, energizing, highly focused. People "get it" right away; it takes little or no explanation." Source here.
That sounds great and scary, right? Let's adapt the BHAG to the times because I get it that many of us are hesitant to commit to a highly-uncertain future.
BHAAGs - Big Hairy Audacious Agile Goals.
You with me?
I'm not suggesting that a trip to New Mexico qualifies as a BHAAG in and of itself. But it is my goal to have a couple of BHAAGs wrapped up in the trip. Walking the half marathon is the first one. It's a BHAAG because of the training and transformation that will be required for me to be ready and able to complete the 13.1 miles. And the second BHAAG? That's TBD.
What's your BHAAG? I hope you've got something that you can live into with excitement. A goal that requires research and preparation you'll enjoy doing. And that this productive anticipation will help you cope with and get through this difficult time.
Lisa's Half Marathon Walk Training Plan
As I write this post, I have about 24 weeks to train for the 13.1 miles. I found a great 16-week training plan here. This plan assumes that the walker has formed a base of regular walking several miles without difficulty. I'm not quite there yet, so I'm going to take the next four weeks to build my base (with a goal of walking 8-10-11-12 weekly miles). I'm also adding a two-week fudge factor to the schedule (since this will occur during winter) and plan to begin the 16-week plan on Thanksgiving.