Going the distance

Failing to plan is planning to fail

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. December 23, 2015

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Once upon a time, there was a charismatic, iconic and gifted athlete who was destined for stardom on the international stage. As a raw teenager, he turned the running world upside down and broke world records. He received a truckload of endorsements and financial support from athletic apparel companies. He parlayed those experiences into incredible Olympic performances.

However, as often happens to young superstars, this young man drifted into the world of chemical dependency. With the help of family and credentialed professionals, plus a belief in a higher power, he turned his life around.

The next Olympics for this star are less than a year away. In an isolated retreat in the presence of his advisors and coaches, he mapped out strategy for training, appearances, nutritional and psychological support, plus work with strength and conditioning coaches and flexibility experts.

So what are the takeaways from this athlete's experience?

  • Most of us don't even plan for dinner, and the results are predictable. This athlete knows that big stakes are on the line and that he can't afford to leave anything to chance.
  • When the competition is fierce, having a plan helps shift the odds of success. Planning also helps ensure that nothing is overlooked.
  • Study the competition. This athlete used information about his competitors to set aggressive targets for himself in terms of distances run, weight lifted, and meets in which to participate.

So at the end of the day, we never plan to fail but we certainly increase our risk of failing if we do not plan. The choice is yours. The decisions you make today will dictate your fate down the road.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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Dec. 23, 2015