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How to Survive When Things Aren’t Going as Planned

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Plan A, Plan B, C, D,… Z

For our parents, it was easier. They could be a teacher, a doctor, or a police officer. My mother has told me the story multiple times about how she had her life figured out by eighteen. However, for millennials, is not as simple as that.

There are millions of careers and destinations we can pursue, and we know it. Yet, even if we are a different generation, we are not immune to crisis.

For us, as for our parents, there comes a time in life when we can’t figure out the way to our ideals.  Still, we shouldn’t lose motivation or give up on our dreams. Then, what are we supposed to do?  How to survive when things aren’t going as planned?

Here is a guide to follow when your life-plan is falling apart…

First, identify the opposing force

Plan: identify the opposing force

When something is not going as planned, ask yourself the reason. What’s the obstacle that’s keeping you from reaching your goal? There are countless things that could go wrong in our plans. Nonetheless, stopping for a moment to analyze everything can help us pinpoint the exact problems so we can proceed to resolve them.

In fact, with frequency, we will find that the greatest opposing force to our dispositions does not come from the outside but from the inside. Sometimes, our despondency, our indiscipline, or our lack of focus can come in the way between us and our final destinations.

On the other hand, when the obstacles are exterior, identifying them can help figure out the complexity of our battle. Is the problem standing between you and your goals a lacking skill, an unknown language, or missing equipment? Do you need to travel; to go somewhere? Distinguishing each obstruction will let you know where you are standing right now and what you need to do to move on.

Second, reflect upon the original plan. Is it realistic now?

Of course, you had a strategy. If not, at least you have an idea of where you wanted to be at this point. Nevertheless, you are far from it. This is when we all ask ourselves “what went wrong?”. Before sinking into despair and frustration, it is important to understand that not everything will resolve the way we wanted it to. This is called life. It is what happens while we are busy making plans.

It applies to relationships, to labor, to our journeys, and everything you can imagine. Understanding things won’t always go your way is part of growing up. Even though as a kid you could get almost anything by crying, as you grow up, you’ll notice that crying won’t reverse a breakup, change a grade in an exam or bring money magically into your account. C’est la vie

Does that mean you should give up on everything? No. At this point, you already recognized the complications between you and what you desire. Therefore, analyze the original plan in light of your new obstacles, as objectively as possible.

Is it realistic? Is it smart? When you made it, did you consider these possible difficulties? If after all this questioning, you believe the original tactics stand a chance, retake them. This time, you will have a clearer notion of what you are facing and what is standing at the end of the line.  If the original scheme is useless, then it’s time for something else…

Third, trace a new plan

When not going according to plan: trace a new plan

Yes, it’s time to sit down and write. Scribble down your goals and how to make your way to them. If the original plan didn’t succeed, you should change it before changing the dream. You could use a goal-setting journal to get inspired and track your process. This time, when tracing your scheme, keep in mind the obstacles you identified.

If you are one of them, figure out a way to stay motivated; to push yourself to do what’s necessary. Make a to-do list, put deadlines to every step in your plot, write them in your calendar. Then, every three months stop and analyze what you’ve achieved, what’s left to do, and what needs to be modified or changed.

Be careful with wanting to do everything at once. You probably have different ambitions for different aspects of your life. Nonetheless, it is foolish to expect them to work out all at once.

Some things will take more time than others. So, instead of overwhelming yourself with trying to do everything simultaneously, focus on achieving one thing at the time. It is better to go slow and steadily than to lose the way on the road.


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Fourth, work with what you’ve got. Be ready to improvise on the way

Expect the best but prepare for the worst. Even if you traced a realistic strategy and you follow it trough, there will be detours on the way. Therefore, understand that a plan is like a script: it is always subject to changes.

Instead of panicking or giving up on hope, learn to deal with what you’ve got. Accept the new challenges you are facing and grow up with them. Whatever you learn from these experiences will be useful for your future. Just make sure you don’t lose your way.

Keep in mind the end for which you are striving and every now and then reflect about where you’re at, what are the new obstacles, and if your strategies are still valid.

A final word on how to survive when things aren’t going as planned

In conclusion, there will be moments in our lives when we realize things aren’t working the way we expected them to. Nevertheless, before giving up on everything, we should analyze the problems, our strategies, and our goals to get a clearer view of how to move on.

Even if things don’t turn out our way, we will always learn new things and live worthy-telling experiences. Just be careful not the get so caught up in an idea or a plan, that you miss the life that’s passing by.

Enjoy your process. Don’t compare yourself to others and trust your personal timing. Now start that planning and make it happen!

When not going as planned: Make it happen!

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