I’m great at making plans! I’m not good about keeping them. So I avoid making plans in advance.
Even if I make plans for the next day, I still end up cancelling. On a recent Friday, my husband and I decided that on Saturday, we would play mini-golf and then have dinner at an Indian restaurant we hadn’t been to.
When the evening came, I couldn’t do it. All day, I thought about everything that could go wrong: what if the mini-golf course was crowded, and there were people behind us waiting to play our hole, while we were directly behind another group still playing our next hole? What if the food at the restaurant didn’t taste as good as the food at the Indian place we usually go to? What if there was a long wait? Then what? Then what? Then what?
The next day, we went as soon as I showered and dressed. The mini-golf place wasn’t crowded because it had just opened, and the restaurant experience went smoothly.
My therapist helped me realize that it’s easier for me to leave the house soon after I’m dressed, like I do with my regular appointments (salon, therapy). If I have to wait for hours, anxiety sets in, and I feel unable to go because I’ve had all that time to think about everything that could possibly go wrong, especially if the plans involve an unfamiliar place.
Making plans and then cancelling them, even if the other party is understanding, is something I can’t stand doing. When I last saw my psychiatrist, he said I should push myself to do stuff I don’t think I can do, because eventually, it’ll be easier. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do: push myself to keep my commitments. Everything that could possibly go wrong isn’t likely to, right?
A couple of weeks ago I made plans with my sister a few days in advance, and a week in advance. I’m happy to report that I kept them, even though they took place hours after I got dressed! I had moments when I wanted to cancel, but I didn’t. I’ve learned that when I go through with my plans, it’s rare that anything goes wrong and I almost always have a good time. I’m still hesitant about making plans, but I’m committed to keeping them.
Photo credit: TLV and more via Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND