Some people are just natural planners. Some spend A LOT of time preparing by evaluating data, studying strategies and developing specific steps for future events. Some even come up with Plan A, B, C, D, E…. in an attempt to establish a comprehensive plan for every freaking imaginable situation.
This can be a helpful practice, but it can also be very demanding. It can limit your ability to be present, confident and calm. Excessive planning can lead to anxiety, disappointment, stunted creativity, lack of trust and scattered focus. I also have seen “overplanning” actually hinder performance and limit success.
No, I’m not saying that having a plan is a bad idea. I am suggesting that some of us who plan a lot (strategize a lot, prepare a lot and constantly try to decipher what will be the best way to do things) would benefit from offsetting that thinking pattern.
How do you offset your overplanning tendency? Here are some of my suggestions.
- Incorporate surprise workouts throughout your training
- Practice embracing changes in your plan and looking at them as opportunities to adapt and flow
- Focus on winning the inner battles instead of the outcome
- Find the benefits in trials, challenges and discomfort that may come when your “plan” doesn’t work out
- Reflect on the positives of change
- Read, study and pray on how to improve your faith to improve on your ability to trust that you’ll know what to do when you’re in the upcoming situation, practicing trusting yourself (and or God)
- Practice “not knowing.” Intentionally practice not looking at every single detail of an upcoming event, or not investigating every possibility for your next workout or trip, practice not planning every hour of your day, or constantly managing details about the future, etc.
I often remind myself to have like a 75/25 (planning/trust) outlook. I use this concept when coaching the incredible athletes I get to work with too. Meaning, I’ll have a template for how I want things to go, with some preparation involved, but also remind myself that I work best when I can trust that I’ll be guided correctly when the time comes. I can rely on my ability to adapt, make good choices, and use past experiences to guide me.
I remember that I perform better, and live better, when I’m not 100% structured, and can be more present. I can be more fluid, passionate, energized and I have more fun when I’m not so hung up on every aspect of how things are going to go. It’s kinda like having an outline for a presentation instead of reading directly off of the damn power point slides.
Besides, after struggling with anxiety for many years, I know my tendency is to analyze, decipher and plan more than necessary. Now, I intentionally offset that tendency with many thought patterns and practices that help improve my outlook and attitude. Cause, too much planning can definitely kill the magic.