The last STEPS Journey Blog article on “How to Create a 1-Hour Life Plan” outlined a simple process to help you focus your time on things that matter. That sounds good. And the opening sentence dripped with aspiration with the promise: “In 60 minutes, you can change the trajectory of your life.”
But perhaps that vision did not hit home with you. Maybe it fell flat, or seemed not you, or even wrong. For some, the title led you—subliminally—to not want to read the article, so you moved on. Even now, once again, your subconscious may have begun to manufacture reasons why people don’t plan.
I understand. Planning brings to mind things we ought to do but aren’t doing. Who wants that?
The day after that article, I lingered in bed longer than I should have. I had things to do but couldn’t get motivated to get started. Sometimes, I procrastinate on tasks—even important ones—I don’t enjoy. Or, conversely, I work on things that are urgent but easy to do so I feel productive.
In between, I may meander, wondering which project to work on next. Later, circumstances often don’t turn out how I planned, and I become unsure whether I’m still on track or wandering in the wilderness of indecision. Which gives me good reason to procrastinate some more, or go watch TV.
Why People Don’t Plan
There are many reasons why people don’t plan:
- We don’t know how.
- We feel we are too old.
- We are doers, not planners.
- Just getting through each day is hard.
- With God in control, we don’t need a life plan.
Deeper inside, below the things we like to think about, is a more insidious reason we shy away from planning. We don’t want to be held accountable. Even to ourselves.
Still, creating a life plan is a good thing to do. We can’t control the future—that’s God’s job— but we can do our best to move in a positive direction. We can change the trajectory of our lives.
Why People Should Plan
I have a life plan because I need to have one. Without a lighthouse to guide me, I can find myself off course far too often.
Looking back, if I hadn’t made myself build a plan, I would NOT have: cut down on work to spend time with my family; invested in other key relationships; devoted time to spiritual and personal development; worked on many service projects; or written a book.
By the way, regarding those 5 reasons why people don’t plan: (1) Anybody can create a 1-hour life plan. (2) We’re never too old to remind ourselves what is important. (3) We can be better doers if we do the right things. (4) In tough times, we can find hope envisioning a positive future. (5) God is in control. But, he wants us to do what we can to find, and then play, our role in his plan.
A life plan does not have to become an onerous list of what we ought to do’s. It shouldn’t add guilt, but lessen it, by freeing us to feel better about what we do each day, even the things we choose not to do. We can better enjoy each day with less worry about what comes next.
Planning is less about performance than stewardship. I think God likes it when we are thoughtful what we do with our time, as long as we remember he is in control of the outcome.
There are many reasons why people don’t plan. Frankly, most are excuses. Why not try it? Start by creating a 1-hour life plan. Then, hold onto it loosely, trust God, and take the next right step.
Question: What do you think is the biggest reason why people don’t plan?
Action: Pick 1 important thing you will devote more time to starting today.