Some of you may remember my proclamation, made nearly two years ago now, that I wanted to run a marathon.
Well, guess what? I haven’t.
It isn’t from lack of planning. I’ve written down the goal many times, going so far as to set dates for the 5K, 10K and half-marathon prep races that I’ve also never run. Overall, I have been very good at my long-range planning and goal-setting.
Where I’ve failed is in my short-term execution.
I don’t know why, but I have trouble motivating myself to just get out and go for a run. For two weeks, I was on vacation and didn’t know where to run. It has been cold in the mornings and I don’t like running at night. Etc.
Over time, the excuses build up, until the big excuse is that I’ll feel like I’m taking a step back if my pace is slower or I’m unable to run the distance I’d previously achieved. Eventually, if I’m not back at square one, I’m close.
At this time of year, long-term planning tends to take center stage. We gamely create our annual or quarterly marketing plans, listing out all of the game-changing campaigns, email blasts, brochures and tweets we’ll develop, all the KPIs we’ll track and all the subsequent sales goals we’ll reach.
And that’s great. That’s important work.
But they’re also meaningless without diligent short-term execution. When the time comes to actually write that copy, design that collateral or pull that mailing list, if we allow distractions or excuses to postpone or prevent us from executing on them with the full commitment of our vision and creativity, all the planning in the world will never get us to the finish line.
In other words, yes, plan for that marathon. But don’t forget how to sprint.