There is a reason why new year’s resolutions are a popular tradition – planning is good for you! Beyond conventional wisdom of “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, planning has definite psychological benefits:
Planning allows you to problem-solve and have a greater control over your course of action, which would likely result in better long-term experiences. In addition to plotting the course of action, planning allows you to anticipate possible challenges and hopefully avoid them.
Planning allows you to mentally rehearse the course of action, reduces reliance on reactions, which, in the moment, could be not exactly on point!
Planning reduces feelings of overwhelm by reducing multitasking – by creating a plan of action you plot a step-by-step path to follow, which is much easier than trying to continually make decisions about what to do next.
Planning reduces worrying – worry is often confused with problem-solving, but it actually only accomplishes the first two steps of problem-solving – it identifies a potential problem and assigns a level of importance to it. Worry is a big part of anxiety, a huge problem that plagues more than 30 percent of US population. Planning on the other hand moves us from worry to the main part of problem-solving. It involves a different part of the brain (frontal and prefrontal cortex), and actually signals the brain that it can now stop worrying and feeling bad. So basically even if your plan will ultimately prove to be ineffective – the act of planning will still make you feel better.
So go ahead, make some plans!