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Diversity Blog > Career Advice

What to Do When Change Does Not Go According to Plans

What to Do When Change Does Not Go According to Plans


 Not every change you initiate will go according to plan. That is a humbling and frustrating experience, especially for diverse professionals. Women and minorities already seem to have so many social obstacles thrown in the way of their progress. They tend to be the most motivated to change their lots in life. Nevertheless, it can seem sometimes that even the Fates are against our best intentions.

You’ve taken the time to identify the aspects of your life you’d like to improve, the goals you’d like to achieve, the contributions you’d like to make. You’ve followed through religiously on the actions and habits that should have brought your desires to fruition, but some or all of the plan just doesn’t work out.  


If you feel you’ve made a good plan and pursued the goals without the expected results, pause in your pursuit to review just why success eludes you. Some of the reasons can include:

  • Your goals are too lofty for the resources you are able to bring to bear on change

  • The times are just not right to make some changes happen

  • The changes are not aligned with your core values

Lofty goals are all well and fine as long as they are attainable. Sure, we’re told as children in the United States, you too can one day be President of the United States. The experience, money, people, and stamina you need to make that happen, though, may not suit your personality or real ambitions. The same can be said about writing (and getting published) that Great American Novel you’ve had rattling around your head for years. It takes a great deal of time, scheduling, and resources to make it happen. 

And despite some of the best intentions and well-wrought plans, sometimes the times are just not right to realize the changes. Perhaps you’ve just given birth to a child, which means you are perpetually exhausted and time-constrained. Or maybe a series of coincidental events occur that absorb your immediate attention. Sometimes, the urgency of financial, work or life events precludes your getting off the ground with your ideas. 

One of the most difficult reasons for events not going according to plan may not have to do with the external world, but with you, instead. Your efforts just may not be in line with what you truly believe about yourself, about what you really value. If you’re a creative writer and you’ve set yourself the goal of becoming a millionaire by the age of 30, then it is unlikely that you’ll be able to realize that dream without serious compromises to your craft. The misalignment between what you want and what you value saps energy and momentum from your efforts.


There are three things you can do to get back on track and at least realize some of the goals in your plan:

  1. Stop

  2. Review

  3. Readjust

If after four or five weeks of steady effort to realize your goals you feel your efforts are going nowhere, stop. Just because you want to make a change, it doesn’t mean the change is right for you. 

Take into consideration the reasons discussed above as possible causes for the lack of results you’re hoping for. Be honest in the assessment. There may also be other reasons beyond those already cited. Nevertheless, it’s important to be honest with yourself before investing any more time and energy into the effort. 

Readjust your ideas and actions to suit the reality of the situation. It may just be that your goals were too ambitious: break the plan into smaller milestones. Gauge results daily, instead of weekly or even monthly. If after several days you are still not seeing even a hint of the results you seek, readjust again. Sometimes, you have to be more nimble and resourceful than you’d anticipated to get the results that satisfy you.   

The process of change really is a journey. We often desire to make changes to energize our lives and bring interesting events and people into our experience. Like any good adventure, though, there will be unexpected chills and thrills intended to take us out of our comfort zones and bring us closer to our true selves.