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7 Steps to spring-cleaning your plans for the future

Re-frame the way you make plans and learn to embrace the unknown

It used to be the case that when you accepted a place at university, the start date eventually came around and then, no surprises what happened next… you went.

Until recently the future could be relied upon to, at the very least, deliver on certain plans: the academic year, a holiday and a queue at Starbucks on the way to work.

Now, even the horizon is foggy, and we’ve seen how fallible our lives can be, not just because of Coronavirus but because of the economic fall out and our beleaguered and altered states of living.

The good news is that our experiences over the last year have also caused a small evolution in our ability to be flexible.

We learned new skills, we talked to our neighbours, we re-learned homelife, worklife, we found new ways to communicate and talk, deal with our loneliness and the care of others.

And now as we begin to open up our lives once more, and perhaps reappraise our lives in a changed world, we’re finding a new resilience, the capacity for new creativity, and a newfound appreciation for even the smallest freedoms and signs of success.

We are learning that embracing the state of not knowing, and rolling with our loss of control, can be powerful. And now’s the time to make the most of it.

01.Start with what you have

For example “I have some good people around me and that’s a great place to work from”.

There are so many things to be grateful for: health, the internet, your dog, a home, a good cup of tea, your endearing personality, the way the sun caught your hair this morning—anything, look around you, start noticing.

02.Accept your future is uncertain

And feel the freedom in that!

By releasing the pressure on things going to plan, you keep your thinking and goal- setting agile, drawing on your character qualities and pulling them into the open.

03.Ask for help

Talk about it, by doing this you’re acknowledging your emotions and allowing yourself to feel heard—something hugely important for us all. Social support can be a superpower. And generally speaking, people enjoy being asked for help, it’s a chance for them to feel heard too, and demonstrate their expertise.

04.Don’t be too specific

Let go of perfectionism, it causes us to set unattainable goals in an attempt to control our environment. Do this by trying to recognise what it is that’s attracting you to your goals, rather than focussing only on the endgame. For example, are you chasing financial wealth? Or is it financial independence that you really want to achieve?

05.Turn your dreams into goals If what you’re setting out to achieve can't be approached with a step by step action plan, it’ll be hard to begin the process of making it happen. Set up goals in such a way that sets you up for success, by breaking each goal down into small actionable steps: completing each step becomes a small win, giving you an ongoing sense of achievement and progress.

06.Nurture relationships and communication

Whatever you’re designing your future to look like, the love, support and company of others is something too easy to undervalue, until we need it.

07.Don’t look for validation in others

It takes practice because most of us learned this behaviour from childhood. Our individual happiness can more naturally be reached and understood through looking at our passions and dreams. Accept that success really does look different for each of us—and that’s the beauty of it.

A chat anytime you need it along the way can be found on the Wangie app, it’s a supportive community that celebrates mental health. We’d love to know what your plans look like and what first steps you’re taking to achieve them.

There are no names on Wangie, and there’s no judgement—you can just be yourself. And the best bit is that there are Mentors present for support.

Come on in and #Let it out feel the benefits of that, other rooms cover relationships #Let’s talk love family #My family are nuts and work #Vent my shift

Expressing this stuff really helps you look forward.

And next time that dreaded question arises, where do you see yourself in 5 years? Rather than feeling the fear and saying “I don’t know”, you could choose to smile, open your arms wide and declare excitedly:

“I don’t know! Isn’t it great?!””

And that would be very Spring 2021.

@Alma_W | Wangie Mentor

There’s always someone to talk to on Wangie.

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