Plans do change, whether we like it or not. So, what is there to do when plans change?
You probably know the feeling. It is those times when you had set your goal, made your plan, and scheduled all the appropriate tasks but then something happened. You have worked so hard but still, nothing goes on as you had planned.
It has happened to all of us. You might for example have been preparing really hard for a full year for your final exams and a week before the exam you had an accident and had to spend days in hospital.
You might have been working hard to get a promotion and deliver a super project to your boss when suddenly a storm cuts off electricity for days and everything is postponed.
These are just a few examples of things that can go wrong which are not on our hands no matter how well prepared we could have been.
Yes, when we set a goal and make our plans about when and how we can accomplish it, we also try to predict some things that might go wrong. However, examples like the ones mentioned above are not of those that one could ever predict.
“All human plans [are] subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Universe.”― Arthur C. Clarke, 2010: Odyssey Two
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Accept the Fact that Plans Change
There are several circumstances that can force plans to change. Although we would never welcome them and they certainly make us feel uncomfortable, yet, we should not be afraid of them or let them discourage us.
Could we have known about what was going to happen?
Ought we to predict something like this?
Of course not.
Unfortunate events that might force us to change our plans do happen but it does not mean that we should stop planning our actions in order to accomplish a goal. Quite the opposite. A good plan is necessary to help us work towards our goal and finally achieve it but yet, plans do change. It is important to accept it as a fact. There is no reason to paralyze or panic.
Everything is part of this constant change which after all is life. When a flight is canceled but you absolutely have to get somewhere you get flexible and start thinking of the alternatives. You can get there by train or bus. If that is not possible alter the date you have to be there. Don’t change your destination, thus your goal, change the means or the timeline instead.
“When things don’t go according to plan, plan according to how things go.”Kayambila Mpulamasaka
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How to Adjust Your Plans and Think of Your Next Steps
1. How Much Does The Change Affect Your Plans
This change that happened, how much does it really affect your main plan? Did you suddenly lose a person working with you to accomplish your goal? Will you be able to find someone else? Did your computer break down and you have to replace it? Will you be able to fix/replace it soon?
If something crucial happened this means that it affects the plan a lot. In these cases, you should review the plan and probably alter it. If it was something small then probably some small adjustments to the plan could work.
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2. Does The Change Affect Your Dead Line And How?
This change that happened, does it mean that the original goal will not be accomplished on time? If yes then when could you most possibly accomplish it?
Time is one of the main parameters that must be set when making a plan. It is important to identify how much does the change in plans affects the goal deadline. Would it be a few days, weeks, or even months?
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3. Do You Have to Change Your Necessary Steps?
Sometimes a change in plans might mean that some of the steps that were originally planned are no longer needed. In this case, these steps should be removed. This might also mean that new needs might appear, meaning that you should add new steps to the original plan. Changing the steps or the plan means that you change the strategy you will follow to accomplish your goal.
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4. Can Your Goal Remain The Same?
And finally, when something happens the goal itself might no longer be the same. Sometimes when something happens which changes everything we had in mind we might realize that the original goal is no longer feasible no matter how much we adjust. In this case, we should think of something else, maybe a bit less than the original goal within the same time frame.
In some other cases while working on something you may realize that it is not exactly what you thought it would be. You then realize that it is something else you want instead and this new thing should now be your main goal. After all, this new goal might be what you really need.
“Always plan for the fact that no plan ever goes according to plan.”Simon Sinek
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Even if Plans Change Stay Focused on your Goals
Your goals are where you wanted to be in the first place. Even if sometimes things get out of your control your eyes should always remain on them. This of course stands as long as you are absolutely sure that this goal is what you really want.
No matter what happens in between that might cause a change in plans it does not mean that it should discourage you or prevent you from working towards your goals. Your goals are there to remind you who you are and what you are able to accomplish as long as you want it bad enough. Life will always be in the way and that is not a bad thing. Remember that no matter what happens you can always make it happen.
“No matter what the work you are doing, be always ready to drop it. And plan it, so as to be able to leave it.”― Leo Tolstoy, The Journal of Leo Tolstoy
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Final Thoughts on What to Do When Plans Change
If everything in this life always went according to plan, let’s face it, life would be pretty boring. People make plans all the time and they are all susceptible to change, so as life is.
What can you do when that happens is to accept the fact that plans, no matter how good they are, they do change. Adjust your plans or yourself and think of what your next steps should be.
Identify the impact of this change to your main plan and whether your final goal is affected by this change and how . You should also identify whether your time limits remain the same or they should be adjusted. Maybe your working approach should be altered.
However, sometimes this unexpected changes might force you to evaluate your final goal altogether. At that point the main question is whether your final goal remains the same or not.
Sometimes while people are working on their alternatives they realize that this is what they actually wanted all along. But yet, it took this uncomfortable change of plans to let them acknowledge it.
What I mean to say is, set your goals, make your plans and work hard to achieve them but always be aware of the unexpected. Learn to accept what you cannot control and move on.
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58 thoughts on “What to Do When Plans Change? Accept it and Adjust”
These are really helpful tips. I’ve had some plans that have drastically changed. I’m definitely going to listen to your advice.
Thank you for reading and commenting Kelly!
I like where you said change you timeline, not your goal. Definitely because no matter how much you plan, some unexpected things happen that you have no control over. Instead of brooding, we can look for alternatives that leads to the same goal, although timeline may change.
Lesson learnt from your post. Thanks for sharing
Glad you liked it Rayo. Thank you for commenting ❤️
I think I’ve fallen ill before ever exam period growing up, without fail. It was so annoying. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had an issue with plans changing in general, but for a while I’d crash into a deep suicidal depression if my weekend plans got cancelled. I needed that release to cope with life. But I decided to do something about it so that need and that crash no longer happened
Good to know you decided to do something about it. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂
So true. We all have plan bombs. But we still have to stay focus on our goals and find solutions.
Thank you Fadima ❤️
I agree, we need to accept that the plans changes and recover. Great tips to help with changing plans. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Frank!
I think there’s lots of different ways to manage with having your plans changed and I definitely think it depends on how big the plan was in the first place. Acceptance is such an important place to start though!
I think acceptance is an important place to start with almost everything in this life Jenny. Thank you for commenting 🙂
I think I need to print this post out and clue it to my office wall.
Most time it feels that only thing that don’t change in my plans are working hours. Thank you for this post!
Glad you founf it helpful. Thank you for commenting!
This is SUCH a good post! So many times things just happen and you can either suffer and resist or figure out a way to adapt and move forward. I would say especially with travel buddies it’s important to find people who can adjust and still have fun 😀
Oh yes Andrea, when it comes to traveling it so important to travel with someone who can adjust to how things happen. Lots of things might go wrong no matter how well they were planned. Thank you for commenting ❤️
Admittedly, I am not very flexible when it comes to my plans changing. Every time I have the chance to bend with the change, I bend a little better and I bend a little more, but I definitely still resist the change a little bit. Loved reading this encouraging and helpful post and especially your thoughts on how, while plans change, goals can remain the same! <3
Glad to read you liked it Jaya. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂
This is something we all need to come to terms with and have emotional tools at hand to navigate because changes, especially unexpected ones are all part of life. Lovely advice!
Exactly Molly! Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂
Great post. Thank you for sharing these incredible tips. Flexibility is probably one of the best things we can have when plans change or don’t go our way. The best we can do is adjust and use the path changes as motivation for greater success.
Absolutely! I am glad you liked it. Thank you for commenting 🙂
Love the acceptance aspect and the Arthur C. Clarke quote!
Thank you Drew!
My favorite quote of course is from Benjamin Franklin you fail to plan you plan to fail- but honestly life happens I agree with your take away because all we can do is adjust and not let it crush us!
Exactly Gee.Thank you for commenting 🙂
This is a really interesting post! Plans changing can be really disheartening but I’m loving these tips you’ve shared. I’ll 100% be keeping these in my mind as a reminder! Thank you so much for sharing Xo
Elle – ellegracedeveson.com
Glad you found it helpful Elle. Thank you for commenting!
yes plans changing can be a hard pill to swallow.. but i believe that acceptance can help tremendously & then taking the necessary steps to adjust. great post
Thank you for reading and commenting Helen 😊
Yes, plans do change. Many times I feel they change for the better & new horizons open up.
It can be hard, especially when you have anxiety, to watch plans change. It’s often outside our control too which can only add to the stress. You’ve given some great pointers here to remember though! Great post!
Glad you found it helpful. Thank you for commenting ❤️
Thank you Jodie!
I knew a couple of people growing up that it’s hard for them to change plans. I remember thinking it’s good to be open-minded and accept change and be flexible in life.
I am glad to understand that you are not one of them 🙂 thank you for commenting!
These are some greta tips. I don’t like change, but asa I’ve got older I’m more resigned to them happening a lot
Thank you Emmba for reading and commenting 🙂
Thank you for sharing! I really struggle with change but I find if I give myself a bit of time to process and as you say reflect on how much it actually changes my plans for the day. It can help.
Good to know you have found some copying mechanism that works for you. Thank you for commenting!
I’m definitely someone who struggles with change. This might be due to my obsessive need to plan things to combat anxiety or the insecurities that I hold deep in my roots. This post is helpful with the reminder that change is inevitable, but that does not mean you have to give up on a goal or that you’re not meant to have whatever it is you want.
I’m working on this fear!
Thank you for sharing this post because it is extremely helpful in my journey.
I am glad you found it helpful Christina! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!
Thank you for sharing this. Change is kind of hard for me to adjust to. I journal about it and I allow myself to process how I’m feeling.
I am glad you liked it. Thank you for commenting 🙂
It’s so frustrating when plans have to change due to forces outside our control, but you’re right, accepting and then moving on is key. As one of Aesop’s fables says, be a reed that bends in the wind rather than an oak that gets uprooted.
Thank you Lisa for your wonderful comment 🙂
Great read! I liked the part where you reinforced that just because change took place doesn’t necessarily mean that your goal has to change. Before I get flustered when change suddenly occurs I need to remind myself to -pause-, process what just happened, and acknowledge it, (before thinking of alternatives).
I am glad you liked it. Thank you for commenting!
These are such helpful tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂
I’m not the best when it comes to handling a change of plans, but your post has some helpful tips on what I can do the next time my plans inevitably change
Thank you for commenting Karalee!
The ability to quickly adapt to change makes life easier. I love the Simon Sinek quote. It’s true that we should be prepared for plan changes but I know I rarely am.
Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂
Lovely ideas! I hate change and I dread it but change is a part of our lives and we need to accept it. Thank you so much for sharing xx Penny / http://www.whatdidshetype.com
I love what you said about goals! That is so important. Plans change and we can adjust, no matter how hard it is, but goals are set for a reason. They may just take longer than you thought when plans change. It’s important to not give up.
Exactly Heidi, thank you so much for reading and commenting!
these are great tips!