Have you ever started taking action toward accomplishing a goal or dream without a plan either in mind or on paper? If you have, were you able to achieve any measurable results? Did you feel lost or confused at some point? Did you tell yourself, “I wish I had thought about that” or “I wish I had planned first?”
Many of us take action without proper planning. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Many fail because they do not take the time to think ahead and plan for success. Without a plan, you have no roadmap to see which routes can take you from where you are to where you want to be.
Planning ahead is an important aspect of dream achieving process. By planning ahead, you become proactive and foresee issues or roadblocks that may come your way and therefore plan the actions to avoid the roadblocks or face them confidently. As author Lester Bittel said, “Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.” Hence, planning ahead is necessary for effective leadership and long-lasting success.
Despite the benefits of proactive planning, many of us do not like to plan ahead in our personal or professional life. We either wait until the last minute to plan what we want to do or jump into action without any plan. Our lack of interest in planning ahead is rooted in our belief system. The following seven reasons explain why we avoid planning ahead.
1. We are reactive rather than proactive
When we are in reactive mode, we do not plan to perform tasks or meet objectives until we are asked to, or it is urgent. We do not respond appropriately and therefore our reactive plans rarely work. Until we become proactive, we will have little interest in planning ahead.
2. We are not organized
Those who plan ahead are typically better organized than those who do not. We may like the idea of being organized or even expect others to be organized but since we lack organization, we do not believe in the benefit of plans. Indeed, our plans may fall apart, and when this occurs, we lose interest and become even more disorganized. This continues until we hit a roadblock and become aware.
3. We are not self-disciplined
Those who are self-disciplined create order in their personal and professional lives. They have the willpower to stick to their values and take the right actions based on the right plans. Without a well-developed plan, it is difficult to be self-disciplined. As Ramez Sasson said, “Self-discipline is not a severe and limited behavior or a restrictive lifestyle. It is a very important ingredient for success, any form of success.”
When we lack self-discipline, we tend to avoid following through with our plans, which is another reason why we do not like to plan ahead. We come to the conclusion that planning stops us from doing whatever we want to do. We forget that doing whatever we want to do is different from what needs to be done. Without a good plan and self-discipline, we cannot do what is needed to do to get to where we want to be faster.
4. We procrastinate
Some people are good at making plans but procrastinate about implementing the plans. Others procrastinate about planning ahead. They delay planning for success because they think that it is too early to plan, they are not ready, or they may not need a plan at all. The more we procrastinate, the harder it is to come up with effective plans that lead to success.
5. We don’t know how to plan effectively
Planning ahead requires knowledge. There are tools for effective planning but if we do not know them we will not be a successful planner. Therefore, not knowing how to plan effectively results in a lack of interest in planning ahead.
6. We think planning is a waste of time!
We normally don’t do what we don’t believe in. If we think that plans do not work and that planning ahead is a waste of time, we are right! We get what we focus on. We need to change our mindset and see planning as a necessary and important step.
7. We are not patient
Another reason why some of us do not like planning is that we are too hasty and cannot wait for the plans to come to fruition. We just want to jump right into the execution part without the plan in hand. This attitude to planning results in incomplete plans, low productivity, and losses.