On planning: a self-intervention

Note: it wasn't even Bikram. And I definitely did not let anyone hug me afterwards....
Note: it wasn’t even Bikram. And I definitely did not let anyone hug me afterwards….

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I have holiday-related plans today…but I haven’t actually done any of them yet. I did take the most intense 90-minute yoga class of my life this morning among other productive things, so that makes me happy. I am a sweaty person, and this class was definitely the sweatiest I have ever been to. I was in a yoga/focusing mood, so I enjoyed it a lot. The amount of sweat from my head that was literally dripping and forming puddles on the mat was almost laughable, though. Sweatiest head ever award goes to me.

So, between now and then, besides cleaning myself up a bit very thoroughly, I went through some sort of mental crisis. I have been told I overuse the term “crisis,” so I told the friend who said that I would use “emergency” if I really meant something bad. Crisis really just means I took a step back and recognized some sort of recurring issue in my life. Sometimes it means I don’t have any of the right shoes to sell someone, or my car is doing strange things. But in this case, it means the first definition.

The intervention topic: I AM A PLANNER.

Now, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? After all, being someone who plans things in advance is a good thing – planning avoids unpreparedness and acting without thinking, and it also ensures that you get to allot time to do the things you want to do most. I’ve always been the type of person who doesn’t go to sleep with absolutely no idea what I’m doing when I wake up. Even on my day off, I can’t not plan anything. God forbid! I must take advantage of the entire day! Days off are sometimes overwhelming to me. Obviously running or cross training is the first thing I plan if I don’t have work or other similar responsibilities or commitments. Then I usually think about my friends and/or family and prioritize what I want to do based on who I want to spend time with and what their schedules are. In college I remember joking with one of my teammates that I should sell date ideas because I could come up with an awesome itinerary on the spot given a time frame and season. Does this thought process sound bad yet? No? Well it can be, and here is why.

After just a few minutes, I’ve planned an entire day for myself and others without even speaking one word about it to anyone else!  So, if the plan I have somehow fabricated involves others, as it usually does, I will send a text or something and pitch the idea casually to them, as if I didn’t already pick out my clothes for the day and figure out transportation details if applicable. Am I sounding a little crazy yet? Thought so, see.

Then I will go through a phase when I say, I’ll be fine doing nothing too, I always need to catch up on writing. And foam roll, that is always something necessary. Or I could read up on the latest physical therapy trends. Wouldn’t it be great to go to sleep early?! Or, I could sit down and plan my future career. That would be productive. 


Am I alone? Does anyone else do this to themselves (is anyone even still reading…)? What ultimately ends up happening, to keep it simple, is I recognize that whoever I looped in to this whole plan in my head may not be able to do it, and convince myself it’s fine, we’ll do something fun on another day when it works out. However, my mood somehow does’t adjust to my rational brain (I like to think I think rationally sometimes…), and I can get really stressed. All of this is absolutely ridiculous. Especially when I get stressed for other people, when they might not even be stressed at all! For example, we ended up being at our sailing adventure longer than anticipated, but we were having fun. I thought I would have to get us back to meet up with other people, since that was a loose plan from the day before. My first instinct was to worry about if I was ruining someone else’s plans, when that other person was in fact living in the moment and completely content. So clearly, this is all in my head and my own problem. So I need to stop this planning business. I’m getting better at it, but it’s a hard habit to break! Even in running, I can’t be all I’ll-run-whenever-I-want because of my injury history and all. I need to plan each run, who I’m running with, etc., because I feel the need to take full advantage of my ability to run that day.

In short, it’s kind of like the guy who invented the quote, “live every day like it is your last day” didn’t quite realize the gravity of the words on my way of life. I don’t know how this started, only that I’ve been this way for years. I’ve learned to let go in other parts of my life, such as the fact that I’m registered for a triathlon in 16 days and I just ran my first pain-free mile in seven weeks yesterday (YAY!!!!!!). Whatever happens between now and then is unknown and I’m dealing with it alright.

It will take some time, but I’m hoping I can reduce stress in my life by not planning so much, and just trusting that things will work out:

I will get where I need to be somehow,

I will get the call or text I’m anticipating if I’m patient,

I will have time to spend with ____ when the time  comes,

I will be able to run the races I’ve signed up for if I keep at everything until then,

If it didn’t happen today, tomorrow is just as good if not better,

Not every moment has to be perfect,

The most perfect moments are those we didn’t plan.

(That’s more like it.)

Words easier written and said than done and lived by…so wish me luck.


2 thoughts on “On planning: a self-intervention”

  1. Oh, man. I hear you on this. About 18 months ago, my husband and I did some traveling for about 4 months – and that trip helped me get this urge under control. We didn’t (couldn’t, really) have everything planned from the very start. We structured the overall plan of our trip, but had to leave some details for later – and others for (gasp!) the last minute.

    Thankfully, my husband is pretty chill, so I tried to channel his attitude. But the most successful strategy (for me) was to ask myself, “What’s the WORST thing that could happen?” Usually, it wasn’t that bad, and nothing that being slightly embarrassed, and/or paying a smidge more, wouldn’t be able to fix. For the past year, I’ve been trying to integrate this strategy back into my “real” life – some days, it works better than others. 😉

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