Stop Making Plans: How to Prevent Becoming Your Own Worst Obstacle

Perfectionists may find it better if they stop making plans and simply start taking some small actions.

Imagine a friend calls you and says, “Surprise! We’re going on a trip and I promise you it’s going to be amazing!”

OK, that’s exciting. Could be fun.

But, what if this friend tells you. “We’re leaving tomorrow. Pack your bags. And, oh, by the way, you’ll need to draw me a map.”

Then click, the phone goes dead.

Um, wait. What?

You’ll probably start wondering:

  • I have stuff to do. I‘ve got responsibilities. How am I supposed to drop everything and go?
  • What am I supposed to pack? Ski gear? Bathing suit? I don’t know where I’m going!
  • And, how in the world do I draw a map when I don’t know the destination!?!?

And, as a result, what will you do?

Nothing.

And, it would be completely understandable why you can’t do anything until you reach your friend again.

Why stop making plans

So, why is it that so many smart and talented women beat themselves up for not moving forward when they don’t know what they want to do with their lives?

Why call yourself “lazy” for not taking action towards your “dream job” when you are unsure of what that is?

And, I know what it feels like to be stuck. It’s painful.

Looking back, I’m the one who gave myself the most grief. I’m the one who berated myself for being foolish to waste 7 years of post-graduate work.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to figure out what I want to do with my life. I’m doing it now. But, what I’ve learned from the “collective wisdom” of my clients is that I took the long route. There is a shortcut.

What to do instead

And that shortcut begins with understanding two key ideas, I didn’t know back when I was struggling:

  1. You can’t make plans when you don’t know what the outcome is that you desire. Planning is important when you can describe the end result with clarity. Trying to draw a map when you don’t know what your destination is, and when the path is murky, will inevitably keep you stuck.
  2. Being hard on yourself will not only demotivate but immobilize you. You, will of course, lose our enthusiasm and confidence the very two things smart and caring women need. They are the ingredients that will help you discover how to share your gifts with the world while you continue to care for important people in your lives.

Stop making plans.

Don’t beat yourself up.

Stop becoming your own worst obstacle.

For the next four weeks, I will be sharing what you can do instead. I’m going to lay out the specifics step-by-step.


This post is the first in a series. Read the second, the third, the fourth and the fifth. Don’t miss other articles by subscribing to my newsletter.

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