What Do You Do When Your Plans Go Sideways?


What Do You Do When Your Plans Go Sideways?

I had big business and personal plans for the rest of this year.

Then I had a family issue come up that took me off my game for a couple of weeks. And then, a week ago, I got the flu and it had me in bed for five days.

So, now, those big plans I had for November and December have gone sideways.

If you’ve had some goals or plans and it looks like you’re not going to be able to achieve in the time frame you had hoped, then today’s episode is for you. Because today, I’m talking about how to get back on track when your plans go sideways.

We’ve all had those times when nothing is going according to plan. Things you had scheduled for just a few minutes take up the bulk of your time. Your to-do list keeps growing, but nothing’s getting checked off the list. That big goal you set looks like it’s just not going to happen.

You know you need to do something to get back on track, but you don’t know exactly what that something is. You’re frustrated because things are going sideways, ashamed you can’t get things back on track, and all you want to do is give up and maybe take a nap.

And actually, sometimes you do need to take a nap. That’s perfectly acceptable. There should be no guilt in allowing yourself to rest and regroup.

But if napping isn’t your thing, I’m going to share what you can do to get things back on track – the steps I’m actually walking through right now.

#1 – Acknowledge your frustration and move on.

Other than a cold every now and then, I rarely get sick. So, when I got the flu two weeks ago, it really threw me off my game.

I had planned on using that time to set up some business projects for this month and December. But now, my timeline is all  messed up and I’m trying to figure out how to fix it.

So, I’m frustrated.

But you know what? It’s okay to be frustrated. It’s okay to be upset.

The key is not staying there.

Because frustration is an emotional response to opposition to the fulfillment of your individual will. In other words, it’s what happens when we don’t get what we want when we want it.

I don’t believe it was God’s will that I got the flu. But I know these projects I’ve been working on are His will for my life.

And even though I may be frustrated because the timeline I set isn’t going to happen, that does not mean I can just forget about completing those projects He wants me to complete. So, I acknowledge that I’m frustrated, but I have to move forward even while I’m frustrated.

Galatians 6:9 reminds us: “So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

#2 – Change your mindset, by changing your location.

As I was recovering from the flu, I finally got to the point where I could rationally think about my projects and what I was going to do with them. At that point, I knew that I needed a new plan, and my negative thinking wasn’t going to get me there.

So, I had to take a break. I went to Starbucks for an hour and concentrated on moving forward instead of thinking how my plans had gone sideways.

Take a break – five minutes, an hour, a day – to interrupt your negative thinking.

When our plans get off track it can easily lead to a spiral of negative thinking. In order to stop yourself from dwelling on those negative thoughts, sometimes, you have to physically change your location.

I went to Starbucks. Maybe you need to go for a walk, go see a movie, or have lunch in a park. Wherever your happy place is, go there and change your mindset about your plans.

There’s nothing I can do about my missed timelines because I had the flu. So, it doesn’t do anything for me to dwell on that.

Philippians 3:13-14 says, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

#3 – Simplify your to-do list.

When I looked at my plans while sitting in Starbucks, it became totally clear that even if I had not gotten sick, I was not going to be able to do all the things I had planned on doing in the time I had allotted to do them.

So, I had to do ask myself: what can I get done by December 31st? Not what I’d like to get done or what I hope to get done, but what are those one or two things that God is absolutely calling me to get done? The question then became, what things do I need to take off my to-do list?

You’ve got to ask yourself the same questions if you want to get back on track.

Because the truth is, when you simplify your plans to what is essential, you will be able to gain the momentum you need to re-focus and get things done. This is how you get out of overwhelm and frustration.

So, I took my list of five big projects I had planned on doing in two months, and reduced it to two smaller projects. That’s manageable and I won’t have to work nights and weekends to make them happen.

And to tell you the truth, when I really looked at my plans, I was going to have to work many more hours than I wanted to, to get those five projects done.

Psalm 61:2 says, “From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.”

#4 – Tackle something on your new to-do list.

To get some momentum going, I looked at my to-do list and chose the easier of the two projects as the one to get started with.

I don’t have time to think about what might have been – I need to concentrate on what can be.

So, since I’m going to be running some Facebook ads for this project, I decided that I would tackle setting up my targeting for those ads – which women I’m going to run the ads to. That’s an important step, but it’s also a fairly easy one that I could get done in less than an hour.

The important thing was to get into action.

There are two theories about where to start with your essential to-do list. The first theory is to start with the hardest thing first. Get the big, scary thing off your list and be done with it.

The second theory is to start with the easiest thing first, to gain momentum. That’s what I chose to do.

But you do what works for you. Pick one thing and check it off the list.

Progress brings about more progress. You build momentum by physically checking something off your to-do list.

Ezra 10:4 says, “Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” 

#5 – Make a plan for moving forward.

Sitting in Starbucks, I realized that I needed a brand-new plan. I had to erase tasks and timelines in my calendar and replace them with my stream-lined two project to-so list.

If you’ve been in my community for a while, you know how much I love a good plan. I realize that plans don’t always go the way we want them to. For instance, you might get the flu and your plans go sideways.

But that doesn’t mean you should try to get back on track without some kind of plan. Because that only leads to overwhelm and more frustration.

Today is a fresh opportunity to get started again.

Prayerfully set yourself up for success today by re-working your plan and creating a new to-do list. 

Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

So, if your plans have gone sideways, and you want to get back on track, take these five steps.

#1 – Acknowledge your frustration and move on.

#2 – Change your mindset, by changing your location.

#3 – Simplify your to-do list.

#4 – Tackle something on your new to-do list.

#5 – Make a plan for moving forward.

I’ve completed most of the steps and am working on the last one. And I can tell you, it’s working.

So, don’t give up by thinking there’s nothing you can do – do these five things and you can turn your situation around.


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