What To Do When Things Don’t Go As Planned – Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Perhaps it’s a job that we wanted, a relationship that seemed so promising, or even just plans we made for a particular day – unexpected things happen, and what we had hoped for doesn’t turn out the way we imagined.
We all have those times when things are just not working out, and it’s okay and normal to feel scared or nervous. As humans, we prefer order over chaos, the known over unknown, and familiar over unfamiliar. Whenever we feel disappointment, it’s like a setback, and it slows us down. It throws us off course. The following tips should help you – when things in your life don’t go as planned!
1. Acknowledge Your Thoughts
When things don’t go according to your plans, your thoughts can get out of hand. They can either remind you of the past, or make you worry about the future. Now of course, you can’t just ignore your thoughts, or stop thinking – but instead of trying to resist them, recognize that these thoughts exist – without judgment or negativity. Acknowledge that you are upset, sad or disappointed. Once you calm down, you can begin to address the issue.
2. Don’t Take Things Personally
There are times when things are out of anyone’s control. During these times, tensions can definitely run high, and the matter of politeness can go right out the window. Try to recognize when this happens – and whatever you do, don’t take things personally. Keeping your own emotions in check can help you work effectively toward a solution.
3. Assess What Went Wrong
Be objective in how you look at a situation. Try to get a clear view of what happened and avoid blaming and pointing fingers. Make sure your approach is neutral because stress or emotions can cloud your judgment. You should evaluate the good and the bad, and make an assessment of the situation based on the pros and cons.
4. Identify How It Occurred
When there’s a problem, you probably try to make the best of the situation. While it’s important to develop a healthy coping mechanism, understanding HOW the problem occurred in the first place is equally important. It’s normal to think that the problem is out of your control, but most of the time,a lot of things can be prevented. It all comes down to the amount of responsibility you take over the problem.
5. Recognize If You’re Reacting Or Responding
You can’t change the negative things that happen to you, but the way you react to them is something you can change. If you don’t learn to deal with negative setbacks, you’ll find yourself caught ina negative cycle – creating even more headaches. This is why it’s so important to understand what went wrong, so you can respond properly.
Again, this doesn’t mean that you should blame yourself or others. It means figuring out what led to the problem by looking at the series of things leading up to it. This is an excellent way to understand how you can prevent a situation from happening again – and learn how to do things better next time.
6. Give Yourself A Break
Sometimes life can get difficult and things get really tough. But even during these times, taking time out from everything that is happening, can work wonders on your mind. Find a quiet place and take a few moments to just breathe and calm yourself down. It’s a good idea to distance yourself from the situation for a little while – be it a few minutes, an hour, or a day.
However much time you need. You can engage in relaxing activities such as reading a book, working on a hobby, or listening to your favorite playlist. This will help you calm down so you can resume with a clear mind. In fact, not only will you feel better, but you’ll find new ideas coming to mind – helping you work on solutions to the problem you’re dealing with.
7. Explore Your Original Expectations
It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t go as planned – it’s what happens when things don’t meet your expectations. Look at the situation, and think about the expectations you had. Sometimes your expectations are very reasonable, but other times, not so much. Breaking down your desires in a logical manner can be challenging – that’s because they are largely driven by emotions. However, doing this can help you explore your expectations in greater depth.
8. You Can Vent, Just Don’t Dwell On The Problem
When things aren’t working out – often, getting angry may be your first reaction. It’s easy to get angry at a person who betrayed you, that company that’s mistreating you,at your car for breaking down at the ‘absolute worst time’… and so on. If you feel frustrated and overwhelmed, go ahead and let off some steam.
Call a friend, complain, cry about it, or scream at the top of your lungs – whatever works for you. Just don’t get too caught up in the process – venting is NOT about letting your rage out on someone. If you don’t have a trusted friend to talk to, try a solitary activity like writing ina journal. Let your feelings flow. Get them out of the way, and then move on!
9. Focus On The Positive
Even when everything is going horribly wrong, your perspective is what truly matters. Catastrophizing only creates additional stress. When you only focus on the negative, you fail to acknowledge what is right in your life. To keep your chin up in a difficult situation, take some time to identify the positive things happening in other areas of your life.
You’ll be surprised at how much you can maintain your focus if you just stay positive- even during challenging times. Learning to deal with setbacks in a positive way – rather than letting them throw you off course – will help you deal with life’s challenges more effectively.
10. Seek A Solution
When life throws a curve ball at you, you should look at the problem and figure out if it’s completely out of your control, or if there’s something you can do to correct it. More often than not, when something isn’t working out, it’s because there’s an opportunity for something new – a new way of thinking or a new way of approaching things. So think outside the box, and try to observe the problem in a different way. If there’s a possible solution, determine your strategy, and take the required steps.
11. Set New Expectations
You should replace your old expectations with new ones – perhaps better informed and more realistic versions. Let’s say you’re not really in shape, but you want to start jogging. It’s much better to set a realistic goal of doing a 5k run within a few months than it is to plan on running a marathon.
If you are just learning to cook, it’s a lot more sensible to make dinner for a friend- then to attempt to make a three-course dinner for a group of people. If you want to reach your goals, it’s imperative that you stay level headed and approach those goals in increments.
12. Know When To Ask For Help
Sometimes, you are too close to a situation, you can’t be objective, and you don’t really see it for what it is. When you feel unsure about something, it’s a good idea to talk to someone. People on the outside may have a better perspective about what’s going on, and there’s really nothing wrong with asking for some input. Talk to people you trust.
Tell them how things are going, and ask them what they think about the situation. They may be able to give you some suggestions that you perhaps didn’t think of. Even just sharing your troubles with others can sometimes help you find clarity. Also, learn how to accept help graciously when it’s offered to you.
13. Recognize The Learning Points
Each new encounter you have, offers a chance to learn something. When things don’t go as planned, ask yourself what you’ve learned from the situation. Then, think about how you’re going to apply what you’ve learned moving forward. By doing this, you gain something from every encounter – no matter how bad they may seem. You walk away a better person – stronger, wiser, and with more life lessons to draw from.
14. Look At The Big Picture
Being in the present is a good thing. But, it can be easy to get lost when you’re just focusing on what is. When things aren’t going so great, you can realign your thoughts and gain some optimism by envisioning how you want to see yourself in the future. Remember, you can always change the perception you have of an event, so use this as a challenge, and be creative!
Sometimes a situation can be a real pain to deal with – but always do your best, and don’t beat yourself up over it. Embrace change instead of fighting against it – and learn from the lessons it can bringto your life. Worrying too much about the outcome is not going to change anything. The sooner you embrace this, the easier your life will feel.
What do you think? Have you ever had a major disappointment in your life? What did you do to overcome it, and how did you grow from it? Share your experiences in the comments below.