For many, obsessing over planning life is a structure to lean upon for support. For an equal amount of others, pinning down a life plan strikes fear in their heart. So how should you see planning your future?
Making plans is obviously an important part of life, it helps us achieve and grow. A sustainable roadmap to achieving a goal can be a super rewarding thing, and many people love the process of journaling progress. Who doesn’t love cute stationery and diaries?
However I don’t believe meticulously planning life is the key to success that many people make it out to be. I realised this recently when coming across some of my own old plans and to-do lists, and below you’ll find the 2 key reasons I’ve decided to stop obsessing over goals and planning life out.
1. The goal itself won’t make you happy
Recently I found an old list of goals I made in 2013. It brought back vivid memories of being 16 and fiercely scribbling out a list of things that would change my life and finally allow me to be happy and successful.
Already struggling with anxiety at that age, I was sure that completing these ‘tasks’ would finally make me like everyone else and fix all the issues in my life.
The list, although it felt insurmountable at the time was pretty reasonable stuff, listing things like quit smoking, get my license, address my mental health issues.
However I started obsessing over that list, pushing it to the edge of self destructive behaviour with tearing myself down because I couldn’t achieve them. I began to feel like my worth depended on that list, and eventually got so frustrated at it and myself, that I pushed it away and forgot about it.
Flash forward to now, and I realised I’ve completed pretty much every damn thing on that list. While that’s great, and I’m better off for achieving those goals, it hasn’t changed me or made my life do a 180. Achieving those goals didn’t make me happy, because nothing can make you happy.
Giving up on strict planning has taught me to create my happiness everyday, rather than pinning it on a future event.
2. It can limit your opportunities
Once upon a time I thought I had to sit down and plan out exactly how my life would go. Again, I thought this would make me happy and successful, and I stressed over not having a plan.
I felt aimless and purposeless and really struggled in mapping out a path for my life to take.
I’m now so glad I didn’t!
Having no real plan lead me to meeting some amazing people and experiencing some amazing things. Spur of the moment decisions made because I had no other real plan lead to some awesome opportunities.
Of course there was chaos and stress along the way too, but my life looks completely different to what I would have planned, and I’m happy with that! The direction my life is taking is not something I would have aimed for, but the lack of rigidity in my life has allowed me to explore and learn through trial and error.
What I wanted back then was very different to what I want now. That may well change again, and I’m ok with that!
Don’t miss out on life just because you’re focusing on what you thought it should be.
This post isn’t intending to crap on plans, or people who live by them. I know people who planned exactly how their life would go and wound up very successful and happy!
However thanks in part to mental illness, I found strict plans created more stress than they eased.
Whichever way you choose to live your life, make sure you’re doing it in a way that works for you!
If you liked this post or know someone who will, please consider sharing!