Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. ~ Robert Burns

Many times, we can start something, make plans, try to help someone else, and yet it doesn’t go as we had planned. In fact, sometimes it can end up as a huge failure.

Our intentions can be absolutely good and worthwhile. We can feel that what we are planning and doing is the right path. We can even convince ourselves that it is going much better than it actually is because it’s hard to admit we have been wrong.

In some of these instances, our well-meaning errors only affect ourselves. However, in other less fortunate circumstances, these best laid plans affect others and that is when we can feel even worse.

The effects on ourselves can still be costly. If not in money, in other ways such as on our emotions, which can affect our physical health and on our thoughts about our ability to make good decisions. So we can begin to question ourselves, our intelligence, our intentions.

The effects on others can be more costly. Best laid plans may seem the right path to us, even for others, but when we try to decide or guide the paths of others and they are unable or unwilling to follow them, the cost can be high. Anger, loss of trust, loss of relationships, and emotional turmoil. Even with the best of intentions, we have to remember that others need to choose their own paths.

So what happens when our best laid plans go wrong? Outside of the things mentioned above, we are usually presented with some choices. The choices of how to continue now that we realize our error and the choice to learn from making the error so as not to repeat it.

Choosing to continue isn’t really a choice, life goes on. Choosing in what way we continue, however, is a choice. We can continue with trying to be better and do better or we can continue with being angry or depressed about our errors.

Choosing to learn and not repeat is a full on choice that we have to make ourselves. We can choose not to learn and ignore our responsibility in the error and we can choose to continue to repeat it suffering over and over and possibly causing others to suffer as well.

The best laid plans with the sincerest of intentions can look and sound brilliant to us, but in reality our perceptions can be wrong. Errors are unavoidable in life. We humans are flawed and we make mistakes. But we are also able to learn and grow and that is the beginning of every mislaid plan.

Until next time, Deborah

Mistakes

mistakes

Mistakes come in two categories. Those we do not realize we are making and those we choose to make. Both can be life changing and education, if we let them.

The mistakes we do not realize we are making can be the hardest to manage. They sneak up on us when we think we are doing the right thing or making the right decisions. It can take time for it to play out and for us to see that maybe it wasn’t a good idea in the first place.

These mistakes can be sometimes hard to accept. The ones where we think we are being smart but it ends up that we might not be as bright as we thought we were or that we didn’t do enough research or moved too hastily.

These mistakes can also be the ones where we are unaware of the issues driving us to make them or that we have not acknowledged those issues. Getting into bad relationship after bad relationship out of a fear of being alone but wondering why we keep doing it.

These mistakes can teach us lessons and can provide us with the knowledge of what not to do again – IF we let them. Recognizing the mistake and why it was made and working towards not repeating it can be life changing especially if it’s one that we have made multiple times.

The other kind of mistake, one we knowingly choose, is much harder to manage. The one where we know it’s wrong, or we know why we are doing it and do it anyway, or the ones we make out of anger or sadness but we know we are doing it. These can make us feel worse about ourselves after. These can cause us to seek out self-medication for the guilt. These can hurt others as well as hurting ourselves.

Acknowledging our responsibility in chosen mistakes can be very painful and something we try to avoid. We can try to tell ourselves that it was not our fault and blame others. But the truth is in us and it can make us feel like crap about ourselves but we may not know how to stop repeating them.

Both types of mistakes require self examination. Really looking to see how these mistakes happened. Were they the first kind or the second? Why were they made? What is our responsibility in them? And how can we learn from them, not repeat them, and grow? If the mistakes are choices, how can we work through the things that are causing us to continue to make that choice?

Mistakes are not the end, but only the beginning of learning, growing, acceptance, and healing. IF we allow them to be those things. The next mistake you make, stop, examine, don’t blame yourself or others, learn, grow, heal and keep walking.

Until next time,
Deborah

Be Smart About Your Goals

goals

Goal (noun): the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result or the destination of a journey.

The new year brings many things including the desire for many to make changes in their lives. We often hear about making new year’s resolutions. Resolutions always sounded like something congress does when they decide to make or change laws. It doesn’t really sound like a goal the word resolution.

To be successful about your goals you have to be SMART, not smart. Goals need to be:

S – Specific – Drill down to the most specific description of your goal. State exactly what you want to do.

M – Measurable – You need to have a way to measure your progress. Without measuring how do you know anything has changed?

A – Achievable – If you have no chance of success why would you start? Your goals have to be something you can actually do. If your goal is change someone else in your life, it is not achievable.

R – Realistic – Your goals need to be realistic meaning can you do what you want in the time you have specified for achievement. If you have smoked for 40 years is it realistic you can completely quit in 4 weeks without relapsing?

T – Timely – There has to be an end date of achievement for your goals. A goal that goes on forever is just a plan or a wish. The destination of a journey.

If you are thinking of making goals for the new year, really take time to think about them in terms of being SMART and also in terms of what you want your result to be. Consider all the areas of your life – mental, physical, spiritual, relationships, career/school, etc.

Also remember that if you start a goal and find yourself struggling, remember you can set a new timely end to your goal and hit the restart button. Some goals are daily, some weekly or monthly, and some are for life. An every day goal can be restarted every day. Make sure you pay attention to the successes, however small, they are important.

Happy New Year!

Until next time,
Deborah