Lessons Learned About Planning
We are about to enter a whole month of festivities. Christmas parties. Christmas lights. Organizing when family will be over or when we’ll be over to visit family. Then there are all the gifts. My mom would set out buying gifts for everyone throughout the year and then forget where she hid them on Christmas day. Let’s not forget the week after Christmas where everyone switches gears to ring in the New Year and the choice of going out or staying in are placed on the front burner. This is a month of planning and scheduling then re-planning and re-scheduling.
Planning is such a huge part of our lives and sometimes we don’t even realize it. As I ha have been traveling the USA, I have grown accustomed to planning and the effects of what happens when there is none. I have learned planning plays a huge role in the success of…whatever task we undertake, no matter the size. It can be a festive as the Christmas season or having a great brisket for the weekend. How you plan can make all the difference. Here are a few things I’ve learned about planning,
Planning is Essential
There are a lot of quotes I could insert here about planning: “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” “I made my plans and God laughed.” These well-known sayings are ones which almost encourage you not to plan at all. Here’s one in which we should live, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” I know when making plans there is always a chance Murphy’s Law steps in the mix but none of this should discourage you from making a plan. Just like when we fire up the grill for supper, there’s a plan, however, something may cause us to deviate from this plan or prolong the process. We carry on with the plan, it just may look a little different.
Planning Gives Direction.
Have you have sat in a career planning class or been asked in an interview, “Where do you plan to be in one year? Five years?” We’ve all given an answer to these questions. They have probably varied over the years, but we have a goal in mind. Allow me to ask you to sit back and answer these questions, just to yourself. If you feel the need to verbalize them to someone, please do so. There’s something to be said about telling others about your goals which hold you accountable in a way. Now, you have your answers, how are you getting there? That’s planning. Planning makes sure you are on the right road to your goal. You’re force to set steps get there. Sometimes, you may have to take a step or two back. Just keep in mind, those backward steps aren’t signs of failure (even if it may feel like it), it is simply, regrouping. Look at your one year and your five-year goals, then sit down to map out a plan and start pressing forward.
Planning Delivers Milestones.
When I plan a trip, especially a long one, I always set places to stop off. It could be a town or attraction I would like to visit. It could also be just a place to sleep for the night before renewing my journey the next morning. Milestone allow me to see I am right on track for my end goal. They also give me a sense of accomplishment. Little ‘wins’ along my travels. I use this practice in more than just my travels. When I set my one year or five-year goal I apply this same practice. It’s easy to set a goal but if there is no plan with little wins along the way it can simply become a pipedream. That thing I’d like to do one day, but it never really becomes a reality. For me, and others as well, without the little wins along the way to my goal, I can become discouraged. At this point, you begin to see how hard it really is to accomplish your dream, then allow that to weigh you down. Before you know it, you have given up and the little nagging voice in the back of your heart tells you, you’ve failed. This is why your milestones are so vital when making your plans. You need to have the little wins to gain the big win.
Planning Requires Work.
The story of Cinderella tells us if we would like to attend the Grand Ball, we need a Fairy Godmother to bipbity boppity boo us there. For us regular people, our fairy godmother is named, Work. It doesn’t matter how many trips I plan, or milestones I wish to reach, if I’m not willing to spend the time in the truck it takes to get there. There’s work which needs done, so once the goal is set, the plans laid out, I must ask myself if I’m willing to put in the work. Growing up I always heard the saying, “Anything worth having, is worth working for.” In our instant society, this is easy to forget, but we soon realize how true this is if our destination is really what we want. Work isn’t easy but it can be fun when you keep you goal in mind. It’s when we lose sight of our goal and those little wins that the work necessary becomes daunting.
Planning Means Overcoming Obstacles.
I’m reminded of the 2016 Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Falcons. At halftime it looked as if Tom Brady would be thwarted in his quest to win his fifth Super Bowl when the score was 28-3. If you remember this game, then you know it was the largest comeback in Super Bowl history as the Patriots scored the win. This team had a goal and was not going to let any obstacles stand in their way. After halftime, they came back working toward their goal regardless of what was in their way and scored the win. It’s easy to get discouraged when obstacles get in the way of the plan. Keep in mind, some of these obstacles can be of our own making as well. It’s the determination to overcome them in our planning that will make all the difference.
Whether you are traveling, cooking or setting up your five-year goal, planning is indispensable when seeking to be successful.