Yes. We know that most plans fail – most projects overrun their budgets and overshoot their schedule. Yet, even as plans fail, the act of planning propels us forward.
One reason why planning works is because of our tendency to be ‘loss-averse’. We humans rue losses more than we appreciate gains. Losing $100 feels worse than winning $100 in a raffle. Psychologists have established that losing something makes us feel twice as worse as gaining it makes us feel better.
The act of planning puts us on the hook. Once a plan is committed to paper, we have something to lose by not following through. In the absence of planning, anything we achieve is a gain – one that we fail to value as much. One reason why planning gets us moving is by switching our mind into loss-aversion mode.
This fact is further amplified by accountability. Once you tell everybody about your plan, you have much more to lose if you don’t follow through.
Planning is yet another trick in your toolkit to train your brain into doing your bidding.