Seven Reasons Why People Fail to Plan

December 31, 2020 –

Over the years, I suppose that I’ve made my share of New Year’s resolutions and considered personal plans for the New Year. With 2021 only a day away, I am working on my new success plan for the New Year. My first goal is to eliminate my excuses for failing to plan in the past.

Many people are familiar with the process of business or military planning. A growing number have experience setting goals, developing strategies, and listing the action steps needed to achieve the goal. But, few people have applied the planning process to their personal life. Personal planning can shape the way you approach your daily life. Planning is not a simple aggregation of activities or a programmed pattern of behavior. It is a proven approach to decision making that, over time, focuses you on actions that enable you to achieve your goals

There are many reasons why people fail to plan. Here are seven.

  1. Planning is not a priority. This excuse often comes disguised in the statement, “I don’t have enough time to plan.” But that’s not true. Everyone has the same amount of time, 24 hours each day. The question is not more or less time; it is how you choose to spend your time. People do the things they want to do.
  2. Lack of planning expertise. Stripped of its puffery planning boils down to a few simple steps: 1. Know where you are, 2. Know where you want to go, 3. Devise a method for getting to your target.
  3. Apathy or Indifference. This reaction is the response of the fatalist. In his/her opinion, whatever is to be will be. So, don’t make plans for tomorrow. If you are not convinced that planning will make a difference and help you achieve your goal, you will not put effort into developing it.
  4. Believing that planning is a straitjacket. People fail to plan because they don’t want to be boxed in. They resent goals and measurements because, in the past, when they have been unable to achieve a goal or complete a task, they feel like they failed, and by failing, they have become a failure. Therefore, to avoid further failures, they will resist being measured against a benchmark. Their motto is, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
  5. Resistance to change. People often resist change because they may be uncertain about their ability to take on new roles. Sometimes people prefer the status quo to something new, even when the present situation is inadequate. People who don’t see a need for change are seldom motivated to seek change. They see planning as a threat.
  6. Fear of failure. Lack of self-confidence is always a contributor to a failure to plan. Attempting something new, even if doesn’t work, often opens doors that would have otherwise had remained closed. Overcome fear by doing what you fear. Develop your plan.
  7. Not prepared to work to achieve the goal. The first 80% of goal achievement is the determination to do it and not compromise, no matter what roadblocks you encounter. Having a compelling goal encourages you to work on your plan. Once you have the plan and take action to achieve it, don’t get sidetracked by side issues. Stay focused on the plan. The difference between success and failure in planning can often be traced to the question, “How much passion, commitment, and enthusiasm did the planner have?”

If you use today to plan for tomorrow, you’ll experience a Happy New Year.