Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wanted: The Perfect Plan

I just read an interesting NY Times article about how too much information can be a barrier for novice runners.  The first bit that struck me was:

"That response is an indication, exercise researchers say, of two things: how hard it is for someone who is not used to running to suddenly take up the sport; and how unnecessarily complicated advice about running has become as “experts” battle over shoes and running form and training programs."

That got me thinking that even though I love the volume of information now available on an infinite number of subjects -- many common-sensical things are getting lost in the noise.  It seems unlikely now for people to embark on any kind of fitness, diet, or other health improvement without trying to seek out the golden Perfect Plan.

The big problem with that is:  The Perfect Plan doesn't exist.  It seems to me that the search for The Perfect Plan gives you some activity to undertake (the search for The Perfect Plan), which will ultimately fail (because it doesn't exist in the first place) so that you can then say you "tried" to make the said fitness, diet, or other health behavior change ---- without actually putting all that energy into DOING THE WORK OF CHANGING.

"Not my fault," you can honestly say (to yourself but I won't believe it).  "I tried.  This just wasn't The Perfect Plan for me."

Set your sights a tad lower.  You don't need The Perfect Plan.  You just need a Good Enough Plan For Today (FEPT).  A FEPT expires at the end of the day -- so sure, you're going to have to actually get another for tomorrow -- but it has the significant advantage of constantly being fresh and applicable to the circumstances you find yourself it.  They're just so "Now!"

“You have to be more patient than anything you have heard or read about,” Dr. Raglin said. “People are indoctrinated with what they can achieve in a short time with a little bit of work. But the reality is very different.” 

This is advice that, in the article, was meant for those who wanted to start running -- but I think it is applicable across the board -- weight loss, raising a well-adjusted child, creating a career, pretty much anything you think is worth doing is going to take much longer than you think it will (or want it to).

That's no excuse not to start!

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