6 Stree-free Tips for Planning Your Future
If thinking about your future freaks you out, it’s OK–you’re not alone! Whether you’re looking ten years, five years, one year, or even just a few weeks ahead, there are strategies you can use to help yourself feel more organized and prepared for the future.
1. Accept that nothing in the future is ever 100% guaranteed.
This is the hardest part about planning for the future. It’s scary, intimidating, and completely true. Even with the best-laid plans, there’s always room for error (or a little unpredictable “spice of life” style surprise).
Life Goals Magazine suggests turning this into a mantra to better cement this fact into your thoughts. When you make yourself repeat this thought, sit with it, and consider it, you begin to accept it as reality.
It’s important to remember the beauty in the mystery of it all. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we hoped, and that’s OK. Sometimes we realize later that we’re happy things worked out differently! Being flexible and aware of the possibility that we may not get exactly what we want is an important first step in planning for the future.
2. Find a way to visualize your goals and aspirations.
Record your thoughts, hopes, and dreams for the future. It can be in the form of a list, a blog, a journal, a visual board, or any other medium you prefer. When you have a record of your goals for the future, you can revisit it to make changes, add new goals, or remove old ones completely.
Bonus points–find a place to keep your visualization easily visible or accessible. The more you see it, visualize it, and build it, the more thought you’ll invest in your future goals.
Bonus bonus points use hypnosis to power up your visualization and tap into your senses.
3. Take your biggest goals and turn them into smaller steps.
Planning your future often involves a lot of big goals. For example, losing a lot of excess weight is a great goal to set for yourself, but it involves a lot of work to make happen.
Entrepreneur magazine suggests breaking large, overarching goals into smaller goals that demonstrate progress. In terms of using weight loss as an example, you could have a goal of wanting to lose 50 pounds in one year. That’s a lot of weight and a long period of time.
To make this goal less intimidating, you can set smaller goals to serve as milestones in the longer journey. For example, saying you’d like to lose three pounds in the first month of your weight loss journey is a more reasonable way to get started, and doing so will put you a step closer to your goal of losing the whole 50 pounds.
4. Open yourself to many different possibilities.
When you’re planning for the future, it’s tempting to get yourself stuck in one train of thought. When you fantasize about meeting a goal, you may only picture it happening one way. In reality, it could happen in many different ways!
It’s totally fine to dream about your most ideal situation, but it’s important to consider that there’s more than one way to move toward your future goals. Many people who met similar future goals will likely all describe their journeys to get there differently! This certainly applies to you.
5. Always keep a safety net for yourself.
One of the certainties of life is, ironically, the uncertainties. All people face hardships from time to time. One way you can plan for your future and keep your goals on track is to keep a savings account. In an emergency, you can have backup funds to keep you moving toward your larger goals. Financial setbacks can totally derail your progress, but when you prepare for them, you can protect yourself.
6. Make time to reevaluate your goals and adjust them as needed.
Life happens and people change over time. As you work toward a goal, you might realize the future you wanted isn’t quite what you want anymore. It’s OK to feel stuck in moments like these.
It’s important to remember that you haven’t wasted your time. Entrepreneur magazine stresses the importance of reflection: Even if you think your path needs to change, the work you did to get yourself to the present isn’t wasted. It’s normal to adjust your goals and change the course. Ultimately, your happiness and satisfaction are your biggest priorities when planning your future.