Value planning for the thought process as your actual plan will inevitable change.
Most people say plans almost never work out exactly as they planned, so why have a plan anyway? That’s missing the entire point of planning—the planning process forces you to think, anticipate, and specify what are your goals and what are probable options of for achieving your goals. A significant part of planning is doing researching, gather information, making assumptions and testing those assumptions, deciding on the methods of achieving and measuring progress etc., all of which is demanding mental work, requires time and requires long-term, creative thinking; which is probably why most people tend to avoid it. Not to be judgmental but if you don’t have plans for your short-term and long-term goals, I consider that to be lazy and not being serious with your life. I think when we’re young, it’s easier to do things for the pure entertainment, for short-term gratification without thinking about the consequences simply because we have a lot of time ahead of us.
The details of your plan(s) will change to accommodate for both your personal and environmental change—expect it. For example, your personal goals for 2010 will probably be different from your goals for 2013. This partly reflects your growing or change in interest, ambitions and over general progress. This could also be affected about the new information you’ve gather through experience, reflection and other sources that better inform you of what you really want and your plans should accommodate for that. The value of asking, reviewing your answers and continuing to ask 1. What’s my outcome/goals/ambitions and why do I want it, 2. What are the things I need to do/plan for in order achieve what I want, and 3. What’s the next action? , is invaluable. This is the mindset of a doer, not a wishful thinker or an idealist.
You can’t be positive expectancy without concrete justification. If you don’t workout regularly, how can you expect to have fit, muscular body and feel energized? If you don’t study, practice and have discipline in your business, how can you expect customers to be happy and turn a profit? If you don’t take time and plan out your strategy for your health, business, personal learning, relationships—amidst all the inevitable ups and downs of life—how can you expect your future to be better, with more fulfillment and achievement? In short, there are a lot things you can’t control in life, but you can control your time, energy and focus and it’s prudent to use your valuable resources in a way that enables you to have the most fun, rewarding life.
p/s: Money, as I’m slowly learning, is only a secondary utility. In other words, it magnifies what you already have and a important indication of how well you’re doing in life is how well are you managing your time, energy and focus—are you spending most of your time, energy and focus on the top long-term priorities, everyday?
If your plan doesn’t turn out as expected, it means you’ve already taken action (which seperates you from 80% of people who talk, talk but rarely act) and now you have a clear indication of how to redirect yourself towards the right path. That’s it. Don’t dwell on how far or how costly side-tracking is, learn to focus on making sure you won’t ever make the mistake again. This, once again, often involves a change in behavior(s). And I admit, this sounds like the most logical thing to do. In my experience, the process of change in an emotionally visceral experience because it means admitting I was wrong, I’m fallible, lazy and far from my ideal of who I am. But that’s okay. Ideals aren’t meant to be reality-checks or descriptions of reality. Ideals are, forever, standards for what could be—standards for who I could be. I’d choose to be reminded of where I am so that I can push forward to where I want to be, rather than drift hopelessly without knowing both.