To make a dream happen, you need a plan. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, some wise person said. But you don’t just need any plan, you need a plan that works. One that you’ll be able to stick with all the way to the goal line.
A more common scenario is that we do our planning and a week or two into it we start to fall behind, then a cold happens, or a temporary dip in motivation and we find ourselves so far behind there’s no point in even trying to catch up. So we quit.
This comes down to two beginner mistakes: Cramming too much into our planning, and not being pro-active about it.
We stuff too much into our planning for several different reasons:
♦ We have unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved in a day, in a month, in a life, even. Often these expectations are modeled on male leaders and influencers, who aren’t carrying the motherload of parenting, household work, caring for elders etc.
♦ We live in a time where busy and fast has become the norm, so we try to keep up – and when we can’t, we blame ourselves, rather than the inhumane norms.
♦ We confuse worthiness with productivity – so we try to prove our worthiness by doing more. And it’s never enough.
♦ We’re impatient – we want to reach our goal yesterday and we figure if we do as much as possible, we’ll get there faster. Which we won’t. Usually that’s what trips us up and slow us down.
A sustainable planning is one that you are able to keep up longterm, without falling behind or burning out. One that focuses on slow and steady progress. That’s always the fastest way to get to where you want to go.
Our planning needs to be realistic. It needs to be grounded in a clear understanding of what resources you have available for you work – how much time and energy you actually have (as opposed to what you wish you had). Or it won’t be doable.
AND – and please let’s not forget about this little detail – that’s how you get to feel good while making that dream happen. When you know how to make realistic plans, you will have a life that feels kind, spacious and doable.
But even if your planning is realistic and spacious, things will still come up, life happens and then you need the flexibility to adjust. Your planning needs to be alive, it’s not something you do once and forget about. It’s a daily process.
You relate to your planning constantly. You look at it daily and weekly, you check in – is this still doable? Has something come up that I need to address, do I need to shift things around a bit? Be pro-active and make those changes right away.
If you wait until your planning is already backed up and messy, you’ll be overwhelmed just looking at it, you won’t know how to prioritise among all the things that should have already gotten done. And when you don’t know where to start, you end up doing nothing at all.
And then you fall behind so much there’s no point even trying to catch up.
We tend to get disappointed when our planning doesn’t work out, when something happens and then it’s all out the window – as if we should be able to predict everything. That’s impossible, particularly if you’re a mother and your life has a lot of moving pieces.
Your planning will need constant revising and updating – this is not a sign you’re doing it wrong. Instead, expect it and things will go so much smoother.
So. To get out of the cycle of starting, getting side-tracked and overwhelmed, and quitting, you need to do two things:
- Create a spacious, doable planning, based on how much time and energy you actually have available for this work.
- And then consistently adjust and update it as you go.
This is how you create a planning that you’ll be able to stick with, that will get you all the way across the goal line.