Almost all of us want to change some aspect of our life. To do this, we generally need both a plan and a sense of optimism (or hope) that we can make a change. However, sometimes we’re missing one of these two key components, and try to change anyway. We realise that hope is not a plan, and all plans need hope. This is where we sometimes become stuck.
Hope is not a plan
When some people try and make changes, they rely too much on hope. Although they can identify a change they want to make, they feel that investing in motivating themselves and focusing on the ‘internal game’ of change will be enough. They spend time convincing themselves and psyching themselves up, and imagining a better future.
This approach is valuable.
We need to be able to see a reason for change before we can effectively engage with it. Unfortunately, the hope needs a way to find expression and this is usually through a plan. Without a plan, the hope we feel never finds traction and eventually turns into disappointment, and eventually disillusionment. Approaches that emphasise hope over planning include Positive Thinking and The Law of Attraction.
A plan needs hope
Other people try to make changes through focusing on planning. For these people, having a strategy, broken down into tasks and subtasks is critical. Then, all they need to do is execute the tasks one by one and they will reach their objective. This approach is appears logical because it’s easy to see how the steps can lead towards the desired outcome.
The logical structure makes people think it’ll be effective. However, too much emphasis on planning can be too dry. Crucially, it can also also fail to address the need to have belief in the plan as well. Any effective plan needs to be driven by our hopes. Approaches that focus too much on planning include Behavioural Therapy.
Bringing it together
Hope is not a plan, but neither does planning take the place of hope. Both are needed if we are going to make successful change.
by Tim Hill
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