3 Reasons Why Planning Ahead is Holding You Back - 133T
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3 Reasons Why Planning Ahead is Holding You Back

March 12, 2018

Is your entire life already planned out…? If so, you could be in BIG trouble.

I used to be like you. I had every single day planned out perfectly. I knew what I was going to be doing with every hour of my time. I knew, deep down in my bones, that I was going to be married by age 24, and have my first million by age 30.

My planning ahead literally drove me crazy. Not joking.

I’m an extreme case, of course, but my adamant planning ahead made me so inflexible when life threw me a series of curveballs that I was absolutely unable to cope or realign myself. When I found myself unmarried at 29 and nowhere near making my first million dollars, I snapped. I attempted suicide and ended up in a mental hospital for a month.

Don’t be me.

Or, at least, don’t be the me I was. Feel free to be the me I am now. I’m pretty darn great these days.

Why?

Because I stopped planning ahead.

I plan from day to day, week to week, and sometimes month to month — but years ahead? No way, Jose! A five-year career plan? Uh-uh. Nope.

Planning years in advance can actually hold you back. Here’s why:

1. Life Has Other Plans

Let’s say you want to get married. You have a fiance, and everything seems to be going well. But then — BAM! — you catch him in bed with another man. What’s that going to do to your plans?

Or, let’s say, you have a five-year career plan to climb the corporate ladder. You love the company you’re working for, everything seems to be going smoothly, but then — BAM! — your boss tells you he just filed for bankruptcy and you’ll have no job in two weeks…

Life will throw you curveballs you absolutely cannot plan for. 

You might suddenly get pregnant, or sick, or fall in love with someone in another country. Or you may end up hating the career you went to school for and need to make a change.

God, the universe, fate, whatever will step in from time to time and ruin your plans. It can’t be helped.

Planning your life detail-for-detail years in advance will only end up frustrating you and, potentially, drive you crazy. Which brings me to point number two:

2. It Makes You Inflexible

Planning ahead can hinder your abilities to cope and adapt to necessary changes.

If you cling to your plans like they’re the ONLY plans, you’re going to get your butt kicked by life. You’re going to get left in the dust of everyone else’s successes as they move forward without you.

Being “flexible” doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams or compromising your values — it means having the ability to change your plans as your life and career start to evolve.

There’s a possibility that the career you have now won’t even exist in the future. Or that finding true love will mean moving to another city. To adapt to those changes, you’ll have to change your path and be flexible.

Keep an open mind and let life take you where it needs to go. Which brings me to number three:

3. Planning Ahead Keeps You from Enjoying NOW

I have a friend who only talked about college when he was in high school. Then he only talked about his career when he was in college. And now that he’s all grown up and has his career… he wishes he’d taken the time to enjoy high school and college more.

He wasn’t present for those moments as a young man. He was always focused on the future, rather than the “now.”

The grass may seem greener on the future’s side of the fence, but what are you doing to take care of the “lawn” you have today?

Take care of your body, nurture your mind, and be present for the present.

Have goals. Have dreams. But don’t let them get a strangle-hold on your happiness by making you enjoy the “now” less.

Go with the flow, instead of fighting against it, and you’ll get further down the river of life. That goes for your career as well!

What about you? Have you stopped planning for your life and career years in advance? Are you happier now? Share this post and let us know!

Lauren Tharp is a freelance writer and the owner of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s a proud member of the 133T team, working as their Head Writer and Head Editor, and is dedicated to helping YOU with your business and career.