One of the harder things in life is to do long-term planning. Whether for retirement, business transitions, or family plans, taking time out of your day to plan for something that may be a decade or two away is hard for a couple different reasons. For one, most people are burning out dealing with just today’s tasks—there is no time to look to the future. Another reason is that unexpected life changes can make your long-term plans irrelevant.

However, having a long-term plan is extremely important because it helps you stay focused on the future instead of the present. For example, if you are focused on just the present when a problem arises, you think about it through the perspective of what’s going on at the moment instead of how the issue ties into your life over the long term. Then, relying on where you are mentally, spiritually, or physically at the moment may influence your decision more than what is actually good for you over the long term. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that making decisions based on your current emotions will, more times than not, lead you to make inconsistent decisions that do not benefit you in the long run at all.

Having a plan provides a structure for the future. I found an interesting statistic about small businesses: only 30% of family businesses will make it to a second generation, only 12% will make it to a third generation, and less than 3% of family businesses will make it through to the fourth. When polls tried to determine the biggest destroyers of value in these family businesses, they found that companies that lacked succession plans were more likely to not make it through the generational change; but the opposite was true for companies that invested in setting up good succession planning policies. This shows that when making plans for the future in the business setting, structured goals provide an advantage, even if they are subject to change. Similarly, in one’s personal life, taking time to plan for the future is important and can help you prepare for many different situations.

So, I would encourage you to make sure you take time out of your busy day to make long-term plans, even if you can’t envision 100% how it will look when you get there. At the minimum, you will have a general roadmap of where you want to be, and you can start taking steps to get there rather than burning out on the current tasks at hand.

I know that in my life, even through all of the ups and downs, having a long-term vision has helped me weather many storms and make decisions that are consistent with the long-term plan.

Proverbs 21:5: the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.