Let's face it: Plans fall apart. You think you have it all figured out, down to every last detail, and suddenly you're faced with the crushing disappointment that things simply didn't pan out how you wanted them to.
When your plans fall through, it's important to take some time to grieve and even feel anger, if that's natural for you. Whether you spend the past year working on a novel that isn't working out, worked hard to get a promotion that wasn't granted, or broke up with someone you had planned to marry, facing the collapse of long-laid plans head-on can be really painful.
Here's a guide for what to do when your plans fall through.
What to Do When Plans Fall Through
1. Let yourself feel disappointed
It would be nice if we could all bounce right back as soon as our plans fall through, but most us need a little time to grieve what could have been. So try to figure out what healthy grieving looks like for you: For some people it will be curling up on the couch with a show, for others it will be long walks around the neighborhood with a good friends, for others it will be lighting a beautifully scented candle and journaling.
2. Try to ban all the 'what ifs'
This is easier said than done, but try not to spend time ruminating on what would have happened if it had all worked out the way you wanted it to. If this isn't working, try taking our your journal and writing through the "what ifs." Sometimes, putting pen to paper and writing through your emotions is exactly what you need to move on.
3. Try the "everything happens for a reason" mentality
To be clear, we don't always love this mentality—sometimes, it can be really destructive. But when you're working through the demise of your plans, it can be helpful to tell yourself that something not working out is simply the universe paving the way for something better. This can make accepting that loss much easier.
4. Dive head-first into self-care
This is a great time for self-care. So turn off your phone, take the scented candles out of your closet, draw yourself a bubble bath, go to the bookstore and stock up on new books ... you get the picture. Taking a day (or even a week) to put self-care front and center can make all the difference as you start to think about a plan B.
5. Figure out what's next
Speaking of plan B, now is the time to figure it out. If you're super-organized, maybe you came up with a plan B a while ago. If that's not the case for you, it's time to start thinking about it now. No, your plan didn't work out—so what's next? Maybe it's time to start working on another novel, or a book of short stories. Maybe it's time to start looking for a new job, and if you feel ready, it could be time to take on the dating scene again.
6. Believe in yourself
We know, we know: This point feels a little cheesy, but it's important. When plans don't work out, it's normal to feel shaky in your confidence and feel like you'll never achieve what you want to. If this sounds familiar, try coming up with a list of affirmations you can default to (start with this list), and refer to them whenever you feel like "nothing is working out"—a common feeling when plans all through.
7. Don't give up
To quote Winston Churchill, it's vitally important to never, never give up. Your plans didn't work out—that's really hard. But now it's time to dust yourself off and try again. If you have a dream, with enough hard work, determination, and some solid strategy and planning, you can make it happen.
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