Plans are okay. Missions are better.
When I was younger, I use to make plans obsessively. I had a 6-month plan, a 1-year plan, a 3-year plan, a 5-year plan, a 10-year plan and a 20-year plan. And then I changed my mind about a seemingly inconsequential decision and it screwed up my 6-month plan and then my 1-year plan and then my 3-year plan until I finally had to sit down and rethink everything.
Now I have a 6-month plan. That's it. Beyond that, I just have individual goals that act as check-points within my mission. Perhaps five years from now I'll decide that this model isn't working for me, who knows. But I realized that as much as I plan, life still turns out differently than I suspected and instead of being jolted by the unexpected changes in direction, I'd much rather live expectant, knees bent, ready to roll with the punches and spring for the opportunities.
My mission, on the other hand, hasn't changed in years. It's more of an idea than a concrete course of action.
I want to use the time, talents and resources given to me to celebrate Jesus and serve others.
That's the crux of it. If something changes along the way that I don't expect - let's say I get into a car crash and am paralyzed - my plans might change but I guarantee you that my mission won't. It's the highest calling on my life and it never fails to excite me. It never fails to get my blood pumping, my imagination racing and my hands eager to create. Because it's what I was made to do and what I ache to do. If I get off course on this point, it's not as simple as creating a new mission. I feel empty, useless and depressed when my day-to-day is not mission-critical.
Find your mission. Then hold your plans loosely.
When crap hits the fan and your plans get flushed down the toilet, do you still have a grasp of what you're supposed to do? Do you still have an end goal - a mission - that acts as the nucleus of your new plan (and every subsequent plan)?