What does it mean to plan ahead? Well, some plans may be concrete and some plans may loose or just simpler than others. There is no exact or correct way to plan; the important thing is that we should not be pressured into thinking that we don’t have the freedom to plan things on our own or with other people. Everyone has the right to plan whatever they like.
It’s little known that planning has a positive impact on our mental health.
A long-term plan for improving a skill or a hobby? Sure.
A plan to buy yourself a treat from the grocery store or online shop? No problem.
A simple dinner for next weekend? There is no stopping you from planning.
And even better, planning for your self-improvement? That is your unalienable right.
Planning is a form of proactive coping and also part of your management for a quality of life. According to Greenglass (2002), proactive coping is a multifaceted, forward-looking coping technique that incorporates processes of personal quality of life management with self-regulatory goal accomplishment.
And, with the act of planning ahead, we are not only managing our quality of life, we are turning to an optimistic way of looking at our daily lives. And according to Greenglass et al. (1999), due to the optimistic approach of coping with stress and being “proactive”, we are able to anticipate and deal with stress with more preparedness and emotional readiness, than the traditional coping of stress where we think on past stresses which affect our present thinking.
Planning ahead may seem challenging when we have a reactive mindset rather than a proactive one, but it is not impossible. Below are some suggestions (from various sources) on how to plan ahead and maintain an optimistic view in life:
- Be flexible (plans don’t have to be fixed)
- Create a list of your wants to plan from
- Establish a routine – use a journal or daily planner
- Give time for yourself to plan
- Celebrate the wins (a win is a win, no matter how small, it is progress)
- Manage your expectations – you’re not going to stick to every plan!
Planning ahead makes us acknowledge that there will be a future for us. This in turn has a hugely positive effect on our mental health.
So, don’t be afraid to plan, for we all deserve a treat after all our hard work.