Why Planning Doesn’t Work Without Reflection?

The truth is that goal setting, planning and thinking positively on it’s own won’t work because it only provides one of the 3 perspectives.

It is purely focused on the future and yet in every moment we are experiencing present, past and future.

Besides the future is over there, in the distance and often means you are working towards something. As the saying goes “tomorrow never comes”

As your critic designed to keep you safe right now here in this moment, it is not reassured very much that one day you will be healthier, one day you will be happier or that it will take weeks or months or even years to achieve the goal. Now don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting you should not have big audacious ambitious goals. In fact I have a goal to change the way the world listens. That is a pretty big goal, don’t you think?

But there is some danger to be mindful of if you ‘only’ focus on the future when planning. For example you can start the journey under resourced and fearful with a belief that the gap between where you are now and where you want is far greater than it is in reality. Which in turn makes achieving your goals an uphill struggle from the outset.

Power of Reflection

When you take time to reflect on what has worked and what is working it often provides a solid foundation to work from and in doing so provides you with a clear starting point which you can evaluate progress and change against.

And often when I work through this process with clients they discover they are far closer to their goal than they thought.

And for those big scary goals that may well take a life time, reflecting can be used to remind yourself and your critic how you have overcome similar challenges which again reminds your system you are resourced and all is okay.

Even if the only thing you reflect on is to work out how you have managed yourself through change before, that can give you the insight needed to take yourself through your very own step by step process.

Creating plans that are founded on your strengths increases the potential for your dreams to turn into reality.

Without reflection I see too many people in a state of overwhelm which holds them back from taking any action.

And some people love overwhelm, they thrive on the unknown, and if you are a bit of an adrenaline junky, it might well serve you to plan without reflection. But if like many of my clients you are sick of overwhelm and the impact it has on you personally, then I highly recommend you take time today to reflect.

Our nervous system and sense of well being is impacted when we maintain a state of overwhelm for prolong periods of time and if not our own internal critic, then I am sure family and friends will share their concerns.

Don’t get me wrong – change and growth can be and are by nature a little uncomfortable – but your critic will not support change that it believes will cause you pain. You will end up sabotaging yourself, saying one thing and doing another which just leads to frustration for all involved.

Learning to pay attention to the story you are telling yourself and others can give you the clues as to whether you are telling a story that manages your critic’s fears and concerns. Sometimes simply reminding yourself consciously that you love and embrace change and you have got this is enough of a change of story to have an impact. For many affirmations like this work. But others they need you to put your strength and solution detective hat on and present the evidence that you have been here before and you are still fine, by reflecting on what you already know and what is already working can set you up for success whilst managing your critic. 

If you want to create lasting change and turn your dreams into a reality then I encourage you to invest time in reflection as much as you do goal setting and forward planning. That way you can articulate to yourself and others with clarity and confidence what you want and what works for you.

Power of Reflection


Taking time to reflect and notice what has worked, what didn’t work and considering what would have needed to have happened for it to work better updates your critic with a more objective view of the past. By writing it down and then reading it out loud to yourself or someone else will mean that you embed the latest information ensuring your story and decisions are based on the most up to date data.


Taking time to consider what is working right now, what is not working and what needs to happen for it to work better ensures you understand your starting point so that you can review progress more effectively – this keeps your own inner critic at peace and it gives you confidence to communicate to others the progress being made.

These questions require you to have a reasonable level of memory recall and if you didn’t know you needed to remember you might not instantly have access to the answers so you have a couple of choices:

Peer support – Ask for peers – friends, family and colleagues that you know have your best interest at heart to share what they think is working or not working or what has worked.  This can give you a new perspective that is outside your conscious awareness right now.

Record – start now to record daily, weekly or monthly what you are noticing so that you have the data when it comes to reflecting in the future. Keeping a journal is great for this. But also working with a coach who will keep track of your progress and remember when things are changing and improving should you fail to notice it.

Christmas and New Year can be a time for being present with those we love, reflecting on the year just gone and planning the year ahead. My advice is that you make this a discipline that you do daily, particularly if you are struggling with your critic and overwhelm is preventing you from taking action to create the change you want in your life.

Thanks for listening.


The Strength and Solution Detective

Step by Step Listening
Supporting you to do more of what you love and ditch the critic that says you can’t

Please share below your thoughts as google likes to know you like me or join us for more private conversation in our closed Facebook group Manage your critic

If you are struggling to be heard and understood and it is preventing you from doing your best work and living your best life then please do book a 30 minute call today with no obligation and I will be happy set you up for success.

I might be part of the solution you need and I might not, but you will you know your next best step.

And you can thickpaperbackfront_Finalpurchase a copy of my book here








About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.

That was until she learned the importance of being heard and asking for support. In her book she describes the step by step journey she took to learn how to manage her critic turning her overwhelm into clarity in 7 steps.

Sheryl now runs retreats that encourage you to really listen to what you need to work, learn and live at your best with others and the confidence to ask for those needs to be met.

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Published By

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening is well known for her fast speaking and highly motivational passion. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult when criticised even when she knew they meant well and found it difficult to respond rather than react. A series of 3 events in her personal life exaggerated her emotional overwhelm and forced her to address this problem and conquer her sensitivity to criticism. Today she shares every day stories of every day people and inspires you to discover ways to gain clarity and confidence to change the way feedback and criticism impacts your performance.

View all posts by Sheryl Andrews →

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