We don’t plan because we fear the future. We plan because we realize we can enjoy today more by reducing the anxiety of tomorrow.
Most people accept that planning offers us a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. When we plan, we map out the possible steps of our ideal life journey before taking them. Some of our biggest fears orbit around the unknown, so if we can clarify what our future might look like, our planning will reduce our anxiety.
Planning could be as large-scale as our long-term financial planning or building a family or business, but it could also be as simple as planning a weekend away or a simple trip to the shops!
Here are four tools that will help us in our planning.
1. Write it down
Journaling helps us to review our habits and routines regularly. For this to work, we need to be honest. We need to be able to look at different areas of our life and identify what we want to change.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when jotting down these ideas:
- What do I want to do differently?
- What do I want to do more?
- How can I achieve my goals?
- How can I continue growing along the way?
2. Prioritize your values
When asked to write down the things that we value, it’s easy to create a list that includes many great values. These can be overwhelming to engage with, so we need to start with the full list and then begin to order them in terms of what we feel are most relevant and engaging to us in our current life-space.
As we grow and experience changes in our lives and responsibilities, these values might change in order of priority – writing them down and shuffling them around helps us maintain a sense of authenticity and accountability while reducing our anxiety.
3. Get support
Sometimes we can accomplish more, in less time, with help. Fortunately, we live in a time where we do not always need to engage in face-to-face conversations with real, live human beings for help. There’s a plethora of newsletters, blogs, podcasts and videos online that we can use to encourage us on our journey.
But, when it comes to holding us accountable, especially when life presents us with roadblocks, having support from family, friends, or a coach, or hearing stories of people who have faced similar challenges, can help us navigate them and reduce anxiety.
4. Keep looking ahead
Planning your journey into the future can help you maintain your vision and reduce the anxiety of not seeing instant results. Looking ahead helps to keep us mindful of the bigger picture, the bigger plan.
Often we give up on plans because we want instant gratification and confirmation that what we’re doing is right, and that our approach works.
It’s important to realize that progress is not only in achieving something. Just thinking about and working towards progress speaks volumes about your personality because you know the type of person you want to be, and you are committed to being that person every day.
Keep that in mind and celebrate it with a smile every day.