The pros and cons of planning ahead

Benjamin Franklin said ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ but isn’t life about spontaneity and ‘going with the flow’? I think there can definitely be a mixture of both. The key is variety.

As we know a plan can keep us on track and guide us along the journey. It can keep us focused and present. However life can throw some unexpected circumstances.

Sometimes, we do need to put tasks on hold and come back to them after reflection and recuperation and that is ok! Plus if someone offers you a great opportunity; some last minute tickets, a surprise date, or random trip to the beach you don’t want to say, ‘Sorry, I can’t, I am staying at home working on my goals’ as this defeats the point.

When we talk about change, our body usually starts to react and shows us what we really think. Sweaty palms, shortness of breath, a hint of sickness. Our bodies are reacting to shifting gear. But this shouldn’t stop us. Have you ever been to the gym after a long rest and woken up the next day aching? The temptation is to leave it and not go again but this is exactly when the good work begins to happen.

How many mornings have you woken up this and dreaded going to work? How many times have you caught yourself being stuck in a rut and going through the motions? Do you ever feel like you are counting down the hours until Friday night as you live for the weekend?

I would like to challenge you to mix it up a little. Take the plunge, get the sickly feeling in your stomach but do it anyway. Take action and start to plan what would like. When you get clear about what makes you feel happy and exhilarated the spontaneity will begin to follow.

If you are stuck in a 9-5 with a miserable attitude, going with the flow can usually result in a quiet weekend sleeping off the week. However introducing new activities and opportunities mid week can actually invigorate us. We start to get more energy, more zest for life, new friendships start to form and we break the cycle.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1.Write

Write down a success list. Name every success, however small. All the day trips you enjoyed, holidays, new experiences etc. Plus moments with loved ones, great conversations, amazing food etc.

2. Scan

Start to scan your list and highlight any successes that you didn’t think were possible. So if someone asked you at the beginning of the year ‘could you do x?’ it would have been greeted with that sickly feeling and thought of ‘I could never do that’. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back and give yourself the praise you deserve.

3.Fast Forward

Now fast forward to the end of the year. I want you to write down your ideal success list. Be bold and surpass your expectations. Don’t be practical. Focus on the ‘what’ not the ‘how’. The how will follow. Think about all the brilliant things you would like to have achieved.

4. Select

Take one item from your goal list and write down every action you need to take in order to achieve it. Consider all the steps, resources, people who might to be able to help you.

5.Schedule

Schedule your month ahead. Start to transfer your actions into your diary and schedule them as appointments. E.g If an exercise goal, add the work out sessions into your diary so they are non negotiable. This way you are increasing the likelihood that will achieve what you are setting out to do.