The Importance of Planning Ahead

08/02/2018 10:51 AM | Lee Richmond

“Live in the moment” has become a slogan of our time.  If you Google it you will find many articles, books, recordings and even videos about the importance of being in the “now.” You will find readings that tell you four, six, and even eleven steps about how to live in the present, and you will learn that if you follow these steps you will expand your awareness and increase your joy, abandon stress and lessen, if not eliminate, pain. Both Reader’s Digest and Psychology Today tout the value of being present in the now, and in fact thousands of years of meditative practice, and sound psychological research record health benefits from present awareness. But both meditation, as practiced by sages, and sound research put the now in perspective.  As I recall, Abraham Maslow, and his student, Edward Shostom, in their study of self- actualizing people, discovered that truly self-actualizing people spend one part in the past or future to every eight parts in the present.  This means that as important as the now may be, it is also important to remember the past and plan for tomorrow. The world-famous ethologist Konrad Lorenz said something like: humans, after all, are the only creatures on earth that can remember their past and have future goals.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, is quoted as saying “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” A wish is like a daydream. Rather than daydreaming, achieving is what self-actualizing people do. While I like to think that I am self-actualizing, as a high N- P on the Myer’s Briggs I admit that I do not have as much love for detailed planning that my S-J colleagues have. Nevertheless, I know even though keeping a calendar is tedious for me, and even though I sometimes hate to write things down, I basically do it. (My S-J friends keep behind me, sometimes draw me out of my big picture dreams, and remind me that if I don’t plan for it and put it on my calendar, I’ll miss it.  And if I “miss it” where will big picture dreams and being in the now get me?)

This brings me to the point.  My colleagues and I plan the schedule for the PsyCoun Institute events.  We determine the days when things will happen.  We design an events calendar.  This year we have some big events coming, and if attending them helps you better actualize your personal or professional future you need to put them on your personal calendar and register for them as soon as it makes sense for you to do so. This fall we are offering three important workshops They are:

Sat, Oct 27:  Helping Traumatized Youth through DBT Practices by Lee Richmond and Martha Milli

How can DBT be used to help traumatized youth? Get practical tools you can use to reach affected youth. See more…

Fri, Nov 2: Sacred Counseling by Lee Richmond

Sacred Counseling is counseling that “cares for the spirit” and is concerned with finding meaning and the passion that inspirits. See more …

Sat, Dec 8: Finding Meaning Through Photo Metaphors by Lee Richmond, Marilyn Maze, Elda Schwartz, and Suzanne Savickas

Photo Metaphors help clients become aware of values and motivations. Uses will be explored in settings from HR to clinical counseling. Materials included. See more …

Each of the above offerings are timely, and on-target for counselors.  And while we haven’t finished the spring calendar yet, we will be joining with various Maryland state counseling associations in sponsoring a three-day program that you won’t want to miss. Watch our calendar of events in coming weeks.

If this blog sounds more commercial than usual, it is meant to.  I sincerely believe our offerings will be worthwhile! Also, I know how hard it is for me to do advanced planning. Like you, I try to live in the now, reaping the benefits of the present: it’s the only time that we really do live!  Nevertheless, I know that future goals without an action plan are the wisp of a daydream.  If I want to actualize my goals I know what I need to act.  I hope (in all things) that the same goes for you.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  Starting October 1st,  I will be accepting new clients who are counselors seeking LCPC supervision. Send an email to if you have an interest or would like to hear more detail.