What To Do When Your Plans Don't Go Your Way

Photo by Noah Buscher from Unsplash

Back when we were huge dreamers, we foolishly expected that life would give us our ideal future wrapped in a cardboard box with the friendly tag saying, “You dreamt it, you got it.”  
When we were once innocent, ambitious children, we were taught and encouraged to dream. Every career choice that came out of our mouths was from what we saw in movies, or read in books, or heard as stories from other people (and we convinced ourselves it was our life’s purpose even when we had no idea what it was). Nevertheless, we were cheered on by our parents, by our teachers, because as they said, it’s nice to have something to wake up to every morning.

They loved our enthusiasm, our drive to face life head-on. The higher the dream, the prouder they were. They would tell us we can do anything we set our mind to, and nothing can stop us from achieving our aspirations. As kids, we get so excited to stand on our own two feet because they narrated life like it’s the same to every single one of us; they spoke like it had a happy ending.

The adults who told us, kids, that life would be easy once we worked hard left out a very important detail: that life won’t always be in our favor. We can’t foresee the future, let alone control it, so no matter what preparations we’d do, we can never be too sure. The mere idea of living the future we’ve always talked about having is mind-blowing, but for most of us, it’s an impossible dream. 




When life doesn’t go as planned, any normal person tends to lose motivation and sulk in his room like he had already given up. We would all feel discouraged when life knocks us down at our weakest points, especially when we have done all we can to prevent it from happening.

On June 16, 2016, I wrote this personal creed of mine on a small black notebook that my cousin got me for Christmas. Five years later as I read this again, I thought it was perfect to include this in this blog post. My thoughts remained the same until now and this principle still stands.

“Albeit my mind greatly pressures me to be like the people who are expected to be the best, I still hold onto a certain principle I consider my own. My ultimate goal isn’t merely to succeed, rather, it is to be happy in what I succeed in, and to succeed in what I am happy of doing. I dream not to scout every single trophy that hypothetically symbolizes one’s prestige, but I dream to impart to every single individual the confidence that takes years for some people to build within themselves. The search in seeking the true purpose of my existence leads to a myriad of trajectories that I have no control over. These trajectories light up the pavements that display the absence of certainty; then I realize that life wasn’t made for us to be complacent over it. It was made for us to ponder on the fact that we are living, leaving the unknown as an absolute mystery.” 






Have the initiative to look for solutions to the problem or to look for alternatives. Either way, never stop using your brain. Be open-minded and humble enough to accept that not everything has to come from your ideas. You should learn how to gather as much information as you can from different types of people and consider which are beneficial to you by listing pros and cons. Instead of forcing your original plan to push through even when you already know the outcome, swallow your pride and let it go.




When things don’t fall through, it means something in the equation is irrelevant or there’s a valuable step that you still haven’t done in the process. It’s an important skill to learn how to look at the bigger picture of the situation you’re in. Stop running around in circles and start asking questions that haven’t been asked before by being truthful with yourself. When you’re going through a rough time, it’s easy to dwell on the mistakes you’ve done because as much as you hate the guilt, you’d think it’s better to punish yourself that way. 




Having a back-up plan reflects your wit to come up with numerous strategies, experience to know that you must always be prepared for what may come, and wisdom to understand that life is surprising. If you’re not sharp enough to consider other options besides yours, you’ll be disappointed when the plan you’ve thought of for hours isn’t going to bring you to where you’re heading. Similarly, if your ego is too high to think you won’t need other alternatives and suggestions, you’ll find your stubborn pride crushed a thousand times when life rubs the failure right to your face.

Whether you like it or not, changes can happen in a snap of a finger, and sticking to your idea (even if you know it’s not going to work) is a mentality of an arrogant idiot. Always think a million steps ahead by considering numerous possibilities that can happen. Do your research, ask for advice from trusted people, and find the right solution to every possibility.




Anyone who says asking for help is a sign of weakness hadn’t reached out to anybody for help nor had offered an extra hand. Asking for help doesn’t make you any less capable. Don’t hold your ego on a higher pedestal at the expense of your dreams. There’s no shame in asking for help when conflicted, burdened, or desperate as these emotions can happen anytime and can happen to anyone. You need someone to help you out because you can’t do anything solely on your own. Some battles aren’t meant to be dealt with alone. We are all still learning, and social interactions are essential to provide us with knowledge. When you ask for help, you’re not only freeing yourself from the constant worry but also bringing peace to your life and those around you. 




Know the reason behind the situation. To make smart, reasonable choices, you must be able to focus if that problem is worth your time and energy. Analyze the situation at hand so you can formulate intelligent ideas. Identify and discern which problems are necessary to be solved to get to your goals quicker. If they’re just distractions or situations that aren’t meant to be your problems in the first place, then stop investing so much thought into it. Be wise in choosing which to pour your strengths too and take action. 




The secret to building resilience is to take on every challenge with the hope to succeed, not the fear to fail. You don’t have to intentionally make bad choices to have resilience, you just have to put a smile on your face. Having resilience means having the courage to keep pushing towards your goals even when the circumstances are daunting.




Although you may not want to admit it not everything we’ve known for our entire lives is true (or right). All your life, you’d think that kind of mindset is the answer to all your questions because you believe it has led you to the right path when the truth is, it hasn’t led you to any form of growth at all. And one day, when you hit rock bottom, you blame everyone else without acknowledging the baggage you’ve been carrying on your shoulders for so long. Anything can happen in. Put things into perspective. If that strategy doesn’t do good in your circumstance anymore, the best thing to do is to forget it. Alter the thinking that serves you in the best possible way. 




When you make it a habit to contemplate your thoughts, motives, and feelings, you’ll have a deeper understanding and relationship with yourself. You can figure out what fuels your purpose and start making good choices to get there. From answering these questions, you’ll know what you truly prioritize and what you consider as less important. Introspection saves you from confusion and failure. It helps you formulate decisions to solve your problems and to give meaning to your life. 




By returning to your family, loved ones, you recharge yourself to your trusted support system. You find comfort in the people who believe in you and who can help you during times when you can no longer stand it by yourself. By maintaining your relationship with your source of strength, you’re cultivating your sanctuary of peace and happiness. You’re reminded that you are not alone and in a world full of monsters and strangers, you will always have a group of people you can call home. When life rains on your parade, you feel confident that you will surpass this because of these people. You will feel secure when facing newer problems, and you need all the reassurance you need during difficult times. 





When you’ve done all that you could and still feel like you’re in the same place as before, it’s time to humble yourself in front of the Lord. If you’re at a point in your life where you feel like you’re going to the same road at the same pace, it’s either you’ve not reached your destination or you were never meant to take that path in the first place. By turning to God and talking to Him through prayer, your mind will be cleansed with negative thoughts and doubt as you’ll be manifested with the truth.

You feel stronger and wiser because your faith is strengthened by the grace and power of God — that whatever you go through is part of the process, and every setback you encounter is one step to discover your true purpose in life. You receive life-changing advice unlike from any other friend or expert you’ve asked for help from. You begin to see life from a transformational perspective, and you’re filled with God’s everlasting power.




There’s nothing worse than regret because you’ve wasted the learning opportunity that comes along with failure. It’s essential to take accountability for your actions but do not put all the blame on yourself. There’s no reason to hate yourself if you’ve done all you could. Acceptance of the setbacks and willingness to move on are what matters when learning from mistakes. It’s a tough nut to crack but it will all make sense eventually. 




Along the way, you’re going to commit many, many mistakes. Small or gigantic, you’re going to learn something from that horrible experience once you accept that you were meant to be in that place. You begin to hear what God is trying to tell you once you surrender every burden to Him. You begin to see things more clearly and to breathe more calmly once you understand that you are not just a small part of this gigantic world. 




“I am a person who continually destroys the possibilities of a future because of the numbers of alternative viewpoints I can focus on the present.”

Doris Lessing, author of The  Golden Notebook

Published by Monique Renegado

Monique started Life Begins At Twenty as a 20-year-old college student from the Philippines. In her lifestyle and wellness blog, she shares first-hand experiences and soulful advice about student life, relationships, mental health, adulting, and self-growth. Monique is passionate about literature, music, public speaking, and family. Besides studying and blogging full-time, she strives hard to become a published author with her first YA fiction novel and poems. Monique is the older sister you wish you had to help you navigate your twenties successfully. If you want a constant drive for motivation and pep talks, be a part of her journey.

6 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Plans Don't Go Your Way

  1. Wow! You have such wisdom to share. I love all of your ideas for how to continue on when it seems that things are not how you imagined them to be. Many people live their whole lives not knowing what to do when things don't go their way.


  2. This post is beautifully written and I love how raw it is. I certainly believe mistakes are just only our guides throughout our way. Thinking outside the box as well as getting help from others as you also mentioned would be very helpful! – Penny /whatdidshetype.blogspot.com


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: