"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way” is a popular saying in sports and in business. “Don’t look back, unless you plan to go that way!” was said by the mayor of Lima (OH) in 1969. “Don’t look back unless you plan to go that way” was a sign in sports dressing rooms from at least 1970. It’s not known who wrote the first sign.
American author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) started to be credited with the saying in the 2000s, but he never said it.
1 March 1969, Lima (OH) News, “Mayor Cites Three_Year Record,” pg. 5, cols. 3-4:
Concluding his address with the observation. “Don’t look back, unless you plan to go that way!” the city’s chief executive departed to participate on the maiden flight of a new air service from Lima to Dayton for ceremonies in that city.
20 January 1970, Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, “Warming Up” by Dick Hudson, pg. 8, col. 1:
There’s a sign in the dressing room which says, “Don’t look back unless you plan to go that way.”
2 March 1972, Commerce (TX) Journal, “Senior Spotlight,” pg. 8, col. 5:
“Do not look back unless you plan to go that way,” is the motto of Paula Riley, Senior at CHS.
Google News Archive
16 August 1973, Victoria (TX) Advocate, “Cobras Eye Improved Season” by Dwight Rowin, pg. 3B, col. 1:
VANDEBILT—A multitude of signs offering encouraging words and positive thoughts for players are predominately displayed throughout the Industrial High School fieldhouse, but two of the neatly-lettered posters seem to emphasize head coach Bobby Nicholson’s feeling about the upcoming football campaign.
“Do not look back unless you plan to go that way,” proclaims one sign while another points out: “There is no ‘I’ team.”
Washington State Bar News
The process of learning is to try, fail, adjust and try again. Don’t live in the shadow of past mistakes. Don’t look back unless you want to go that way. Be happy for every experience you have had in the past as they represent tools of learning.
28 September 1975, Oakland (CA) Tribune, “49ers Try To End Rams Jinx” by Dave Newhouse, pg. 25, col. 6:
Dick Nolan has lost nine straight games to the Los Angeles Rams. He has just one victory and a tie in 14 games against the Rams.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t end sometime.
“This is a new game,” said Nolan. “You can’t look backwards unless you’re planning to go in that direction.”
12 February 1976, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “Don’t look back, says Eagles’ Vermeil,” pg. 1C, col. 2:
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—“You don’t look back unless you plan to go that way,” advised Dick Vermeil at his first press conference here since he signed a five-year contract to coach the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles.
“To hell with what happened last year,” said the former UCLA coach, dismissing the Eagles’ 4-10 record and history of one winning season in the past 14 years.
Google News Archive
4 February 1978, Daily Record (Ellensburg, WA), “Ellensburg Jaycees install new officers during meeting,” pg. ?, col. 4:
The new director admonished the new members, “Never look back, unless you want to go that way.”
And I Quote:
The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker
By Ashton Applewhite, William R. Evans III and Andrew Frothingham
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.
How to Make a Lifestyle Change in 90 Days
By Becky Tirabassi and Candice Copeland-Brooks
Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House
Never look back unless you want to go that way.
Chicken Soup for the Soul:
On Being a Parent: Inspirational, Humorous, and Heartwarming Stories about Parenthood
By Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
Edited by Amy Newmark
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
Don’t look back unless you intend to go that way. ~Marc Holm.
The Ultimate Handbook of Motivational Quotes for Coaches and Leaders
By Pat Williams with Ken Hussar
Monterey, CA: Coaches Choice
“Never look back, unless you are planning to go that way.” —Henry David Thoreau
“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” - Henry David Thoreau
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5:55 PM - 16 Oct 2015