When you are in the midst of depression — or even when you just feel a bit low — making plans seems pointless, at best. The idea of following through with the plans feels impossible, so you decide it’s best to avoid making plans. However, that’s the worst thing you can do: it is vital to make plans, even if you are certain you can’t stick to them. Here’s why:
• Plans assume you have a future. If you make plans, you are open to the possibility that you have a future — even if this feels like a narrow possibility. It reminds you that there is hope.
• Plans give you something to look forward to. So no matter how awful you feel right now, you know you will be meeting up with friends or buying a bar of chocolate or doing something else pleasurable in the future. It doesn’t matter how “small” your plans are — they still make a difference.
• Plans help you escape your current state of mind. When you are planning, you aren’t caught up in negative thoughts and emotions. It really is that simple!
• Plans give you goals. To change your life, you need goals. You have something to work towards, which is essential. It doesn’t matter how small the steps you take towards your goals are — or if the goals themselves are small — as long as you have an aim.
• Plans are a way of connecting with other people. You can ask friends and family for help or advice. You can read and post in internet forums. Just readi about people with similar plans can help you feel connected to others. Plans remind you that you are part of the world.
So make lots of plans and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t stick to your original plans — they can always be adapted.