This is another idea spurred by Easy Strength. Yes, that book gives a lot of food for thought; it's good like that.
One of the cases that Dan and Pavel make in the book is that many people fail to take the long view in their training. The book is talking about strength training and fitness to a lesser extent, but I think the same issue appears in the martial arts. People focus on the short-term goal, the short-term training event, without really thinking about where it's supposed to lead them.
On one of the DVDs in his Functional JKD III set, Matt Thornton talks about a process he uses with some students that essentially involves asking "and then what?" Matt seems to be using the question as a way to dig for underlying motivations in the students training, but I think it's a pretty good question just from a training perspective. Where is your training going to be in five, ten, twenty years? Will you even still be training? If so, what will it look like?
Of course, there are a lot of people who have trained in the martial arts for decades. Some stick with a single art, and others transition from one are into another. But it's not clear to me that those transitions (or lack thereof) are really planned or thought out. They seem very organic, occurring not as the result of a carefully thought out process, but as the result of shifts that happen without any real forethought. Those shifts could be good ones, but I wonder how much more productive they would be if they had been planned first.
I think this resonates a great deal with me at the moment for a couple of reasons.
One is that I'm at a transition point. Heavy sparring went from being a thrill ride to a pain in the ass to a source of mild to moderate concern. I don't really want to get smashed in the face anymore; I'll play technique all day long, but my days of heavy sparring are certainly on hold, and they may well be over. Which means I'm now looking at how I want to develop for the next several decades and realizing that how I'm training is going to start to diverge more and more from how my athletes train.
The second is that I work with a lot of people who are relatively young--I was an "old man" in the gym when I crossed thirty. I look at how the 18-20 something year olds are doing things, and wonder if they're thinking about what they'll be doing when they're my age. Or even older. I suspect not---I wasn't thinking about it enough at that age either.
Dan John mentions somewhere (maybe in Easy Strength, maybe elsewhere...actually, I think it was in his latest fitcast interview) that he spends as much time with pen and paper as he does in the weight room. That might be an approach worth trying.