Which means there should be a plan in the first place. Of course, we can also use other approaches when we’re stuck, like improvising. As surprising as it may seem, this is not contradicting the planning approach, it just means improvising is part of the plan.
Having a plan doesn’t always mean slicing the big goal into small chunks and obsessively crossing them off the to do list. There may be a master plan, which contains them all. Like, for instance, living a meaningful life. That’s a good plan, I reckon. And you can make this happen in so many ways. You can include sub-plans in it, re-arrange them, re-prioritize, re-allocate resources and so on. As long as you stick to the big plan, you’re ok.
Like today, for instance. Today, life started to unfold a bit faster than usual, so I didn’t have time for my daily blog post early in the morning. And, as it seems, I didn’t have time for it in the afternoon either, nor in the evening. Happens.
But, two hours before midnight, I can squeeze in some time and stick to the plan. I can take the laptop and start writing, unfolding another post in my 365 days writing challenge.
One of the reasons I started this challenge was to find how it can be invalidated, to test where it can break. And today it almost broke. Almost. It didn’t.
I’m still on track with the big plan, which is to publish a blog post every day for a year.
It’s in projects like this where some subtle yet incredibly profound shifts can happen. This type of benefit is very hard to replicate at a lower scale. You really need this type of stretch, this amount of time to put in, if you want to reap these benefits. Which, like I said, are subtle, but extremely powerful.
In a way, this is similar to ultra-running. During the last 5-6 years, I finished quite a few ultramarathons, and this changed my life in so many ways. Immeasurably more self-esteem, incredibly more clarity, better planning, better focus, these are just the most visible ones. As you can see, fitness is not even in the top 3, although it is a great benefit too. That’s what I mean by profound changes, things that are just beyond the apparent payout.
All these ultra-long challenges are re-arranging our life path in so many ways, are reshaping our internal map and reshuffling our mental territory in ways that are simply not possible just by using short term goals, or any other type of motivation, or inspiration. These long term challenges are hard, consuming, and boring, that’s true.
But, as you get used to the process, even these displeasures are starting to fade in, and you just do what you have to do.