There’s a couple of reasons that our thinking about plans has been all wrong (in my opinion of course)
Let’s look at timing first.
There’s something that feels right about doing our planning at the time of a new year. It marks the end of one period in time, and celebrates the beginning of a new one – it makes sense that we’d plan then.
But in ancient times, the new year was celebrated around the time of the spring equinox, mid March. The calendar was based on the seasons, and as March was also the start of the planting season, it was chosen to be the first month of the year.
The calendar system has changed a few times since then, but we started using the current (Gregorian) calendar relatively recently, with the UK adopting it in the 18th century.
I won’t go into the ins and outs of why that happened or which is better, other than to say I much prefer the thought of the new year (and thus our planning) being in March.
By following the rhythms of nature, and specifically the seasons, we can work in more ease and flow and spring is the time for doing our annual plans, not winter, which is when we should be resting and retreating!
So what about the definition? What even is a plan?
If you’re not a natural planner, you might avoid doing them at all costs, imagining that they are these long winded, boring things that need eleventy billion pages, which then just get tucked away in a drawer, never to see the light of day!
And if you love a plan, you might be at risk of creating a beautiful document but not doing anything with it!
One dictionary definition of the word ‘plan’ is ‘an intention or decision about what one is going to do’. So that means that you don’t even need to write it down if you really don’t want to (though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that!)
But what it does mean is that the plan itself, the physical thing that we create is far less important than the intention or decision that sits behind it.
It’s the discernment and clarity about what we want to do, why we want to do it, and how we’ll keep our focus on that, that matters most, not what it looks like.
So, I’d like to invite you to take a fresh look at your thinking about plans, and consider how you might approach them differently.
- What opportunities do you have to do your planning in March instead of January? (If you’re a solo-preneur or working in a SME you’ll have more influence over this. Large corporate organisations are typically governed by centralised systems and processes, but what influence do you have?)
- How might doing your plans in March better enable your success this year?
- How might you change the content of your plans, so that you are being more discerning about what you want to focus on and achieve, rather than what the plan looks like?
If you are naturally inclined to avoid planning, how might you create something that feels more suited to your natural style?