When things don't go as planned...

Our whole lives, we create expectations for ourselves.

We dream. We set goals for our personal lives, careers, and education. We’re constantly planning ahead, drawing a rigid picture of the perfect dream life we so desperately aspire to.

Though that dream life we create in our minds is stunningly beautiful, there is a darker side to the lofty goals and expectations we create for ourselves.

When things don't go as planned, we tend to beat ourselves up.

And then, when we beat ourselves up, we make ourselves feel bad and delay progress. When a life transition is happening, feeling stuck like this only further prevents us from achieving the life we dream of.

It’s a vicious cycle that keeps up dreaming, planning, and beating ourselves up when things don't go as planned.

How can we break the vicious cycle and get back to working on our lofty goals and beautiful dreams?


Here's what to do when things don't go as planned:

  • Let the situation sink in — So...this isn't what you had in mind, but it's happening anyway. Really take some time (whether it's 5 minutes, an hour, or a week) to let the situation really sink in. What's going on right now, and how is it not falling in line with what you had planned?
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath — Seriously, close your eyes and BREATHE. When you're upset, your body tends to take shorter, shallower breaths, making it more difficult for your brain to process what in the world is going on. Taking a deep breath will give your body the physical chance to catch up with your thoughts and allow you to mentally reset, too.
  • Shout, "Plot twist!" — Give yourself the opportunity for comic relief. Though the situation may not be ideal, you can reframe your thoughts to be more positive. Bonus: If this makes you smile or laugh, you are already on the right track to begin making progress.
  • Dive in — Making progress feels good. Taking that first step toward progress is usually the hardest part, but you've already prepared yourself for this. What is one thing you can do right now to take your first step forward? Do that one thing and show yourself you're capable of moving on with life, no matter what road blocks are thrown in your way.

It's normal to feel nervous or scared.

You're human, and it's completely normal to feel nervous or scared when things don't go as planned.

As biological beings, we prefer order over chaos, known over unknown, familiar over unfamiliar.

It's not the lack of fear that will push you forward. It's the acknowledgement of fear and having the gumption to push forward in spite of it.

Support for your journey ahead

Riddles of Life is all about guiding you through obstacles you face in life transitions. Here are a few helpful Clues blog posts to get you going.

Looking at your first step to make progress and feeling overwhelmed? Check out this Clue to help you handle the overwhelm and get back on track fast.

If the road ahead of you looks like a big mountain of life change, read this Clue to help you start small and make big change in tiny steps.

Maybe you're looking at the journey ahead of you and thinking it's too difficult or painful to manage. This Clue about embarking on a new life adventure is just for you.

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