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The Power of The Plan – How I Got Everything I Have

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This week is “birthday week” and Confessions’ 6th Anniversary! As I reflect on the two celebrations, I have begun thinking about the incredible power that planning has played in my journey. It has occurred to me that everything I have, all that I’ve built, anything I’ve fixed—all started with a plan.

Decades ago, I was introduced to a friend who always used this one phrase. When someone was complaining about their life, he’d say, “Yeah—well, what are you gonna do about it?” In translation, “Stop your belly aching! Get off your ass, and do something to change what needs changing.” This directive resonated with me so much that now, whenever I hear myself droning on and on about a problem, my next thought is, Well Mags, what are you going to do about it? And that’s where The Plan comes in.

Trouble in my marriage?
What’s The Plan?
Trouble with a kid?
What’s The Plan?
Trouble with my physical, mental, or spiritual health?
What’s The Plan, Mags?

My planning usually starts as a stream-of-conscious journal exercise. After that, I might start doing a little research on the thing that needs changin’. Then, I begin talking the problem through with trusted family, friends, and professionals. Next, I start figuring out more specifically how I’m going to achieve what I want. And finally, I write up The Plan for getting there.

Now feels like a good time to note that my plans have less to do with control and more to do with flow. Every plan I create is designed to protect and guide me to my destination. My plan is a friend, not a drill sergeant. Each of my plans has gently allowed me to mend, build, or achieve one thing after another. To give the Team a clear picture of my vision I came up with an acronym:


As a recovering micromanager, one of my absolute favorite things about a “Please Love and Nurture” Plan is that I make a plan, and then I completely let go of The Plan. I’ve found that just having The Plan makes things run smoothly, rather than keeping The Plan. In fact, trying to keep a plan is precisely where I lost most of my serenity before recovery.**

Speaking of loss of serenity, summer-with-kids happens to be one of those things I still find myself moaning about. Our family changes a lot in the course of the year, so I can’t just do whatever worked last summer. And, I only have a few months to “get it right,” and you guys know how pokey I am. Summer just isn’t enough time for “Slow-is-the-new-fast Mags” to pull her act together. Finally—and this is where I want to change my approach—I make the same mistake every year! I’m hoping you can all humor me over the next several weeks as we talk about that “same mistake” and I work out TeamDe’s Summer 2023 P-L-A-N right here in Confessions. Until then though, I’ll leave you with my favorite Magsism about planning:

Planning is hard, but it makes life easy.
Not planning is easy, but it makes life hard.

**Having stated the above, I want to distinguish between two different personality types. In my journey, I’ve been challenged to do the opposite of what comes naturally to me. In my experience, reversing my natural instinct is where the actual recovery happens. If I’m someone who makes and always sticks to a plan, making and letting go of a plan–or even avoiding a plan altogether–is where my recovery lies. If someone tends to be a free spirit who resists any plan at all, their recovery might come in the form of making and sticking to a plan. To each their own. You know who you are, but I think it’s an important distinction to make on this topic. 

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  1. Ugh… I know you are right and planning would help me but I am horrible at sticking to a plan… but I’m going to give it a try … thank you! And Happy Birthday!

    • Daniel,
      There are some plans I’m good at sticking to and others I’m not. When I’m struggling with sticking to a plan, I ask for help. I can usually find someone else in my life who wants what I want and I circle them in as an accountability partner. I’ve been able to get so much done by only doing one tiny step a day or week…before I know it, I’ve climbed the whole staircase.
      So nice to hear from you~

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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I would love for you to join me as I work to undo these old patterns and evolve to create a more serene and accepting existence. (And you should know that I still want to ear flick the little knuckleheads {this includes my husband} when they don’t rinse a dish before putting it in the dishwasher — always a work in progress.)
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