I talked yesterday about the limitations of an approach that involves us “doing it in my head”.

About how doing that is fine.

Until it isn’t.

Getting things down on paper, or into a trusted system, can mean we get more done and it’s easier to get it done.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with people over the years about planning.

And their reaction is often the same as mine was a few years ago.

“I have to do enough planning at work”.

“I like to keep things flexible. To go with the flow.”

Which I get.

That’s an appealing way to view things.

It’s a powerful realisation though, that there is no such thing as “no plan”.

The absence of a new, specific…………..

Is planning on default behaviour.

Which, again, is fine.

Until it isn’t.

Our default behaviours lead to our default results.

And if we’re not happy with them, a better plan is required.

We’re often reluctant to set plans.

Because they feel restrictive.

But they can be the exact opposite.

A good plan is freeing.

A good plan means we get done the stuff that needs to be done as quickly, easily, efficiently and effectively as possible.

A good plan makes better uses of our finite resources of time, energy, money, enthusiasm and focus…………….

So we then, potentially, have more of those things left for the other, more fun stuff in life.

If anything, a good plan creates even more of many of those things.

Imagine if your plan made you more energised, focussed, attentive and present when doing stuff with friends and family.

Doesn’t sound restrictive to me.

Less energy and ability to focus on and be attentive to what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with and to have a mind that’s always “elsewhere” is much more restrictive, I’m sure we’d all agree.

One of the most powerful lessons I ever learned about the value of planning is……………..

That we avoid it because……………

It “creates the conditions of failure”.

When we have a plan, it’s very clear what successful or unsuccessful execution of it looks like.

It’s super obvious if we succeeded or failed to do what we intended to do in that day or week.

Without a plan, there are no conditions of failure.

But without a plan, it’s even more likely those things won’t get done.

It’s even more likely that we’ll fail to do what we want to do.

And to a greater extent.

It’s just that “failure” is hidden.

We don’t even notice it.

We shy away from planning because it’s a bit scary.

It applies a bit of pressure.

We can choose to see that pressure as distress – that more negative, discouraging bad feeling we’re probably more familiar with.

Or we can choose to see it as eustress – positive, energising challenge that can motivate us and inspire us.

Not all stress is bad.

Discomfort is unavoidable.

We either have the milder, more immediate discomfort of setting plans and making them happen.

Or we have the longer term, greater discomfort of things not changing (or getting worse).

Again, we can’t avoid failing to achieve by avoiding planning.

We can just hide it.

For a while.

Setting a plan creates those potential conditions of failure.

It’s a brave choice.

But, if we’re going to make the changes we want to make, it’s the only one.

Much love,

Jon ‘I regularly don’t achieve my plans. But I try to learn when I do. And I remember I’m failing less by planning than I would be if I wasn’t planning’ Hall


RISE in Macclesfield was established in 2012 and specialise in Group Personal Training weight loss programmes for those that don’t like the gym and find diets boring and restrictive!

Jon Hall
Jon Hall

When not helping people to transform their lives and bodies, Jon can usually be found either playing with his kids or taxi-ing them around. If you'd like to find out more about what we do at RISE then enter your details in the box to the right or bottom of this page or at myrise.co.uk - this is the same way every single one of the hundreds who've described this as "one of the best decisions I've ever made" took their first step.