Why Are People Bad at Long-Term Planning?


It’s no secret that many people are bad at long-term planning. In fact, a study by the University of Pennsylvania found that only about 33% of people are able to successfully complete long-term tasks. So why is it so hard for people to think ahead?

There are a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that humans are terrible at predicting the future. In this article, we will discuss some of the reasons why long-term planning is so difficult, and we will offer some tips on how you can improve your own planning skills!

Why Long-Term Planning Matters?

Short-term planning might seem more efficient, but it’s actually not. Long-term planning is the key to success. Here’s why:

It can be tempting to focus on short-term goals and tasks when you’re trying to get things done, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or pressed for time. But while short-term thinking might make you feel more productive at the moment, it’s actually not as effective in the long run.

If you want to achieve your goals and objectives, you need to prioritize long-term planning. Here are four reasons why that’s so important: 

1) Long-term planning helps you stay focused on your goals

If you’re only thinking about what you need to do in the next few days or weeks, it’s easy to lose sight of your bigger objectives. Long-term planning keeps you focused on the future and prevents you from getting sidetracked by less important tasks. It can be helpful to write down your goals and review them regularly to make sure you’re still on track

2) Long-term planning helps you make better decisions

Short-term thinking can lead to impulsive decisions that may not be in your best interest. When you’re making a decision, always ask yourself how it will impact your long-term goals. If the answer is “not very much,” then it’s probably not worth your time and energy.

Why Are People Bad at Long-Term Planning?

3) Long-term planning gives you a sense of control

The future can be scary, but long-term planning can help you feel more in control of your life. By setting goals and working towards them, you’ll have a better chance of achieving the things you want.

This doesn’t mean that you should never live in the present or enjoy the moment. But, if you want to achieve your long-term goals, it’s important to focus on the future and make plans accordingly.

4) Long-term planning can help you avoid regrets

If you don’t plan for the future, you may end up regretting the choices you make today. It’s important to think about how your current actions will impact your future self.

Will this decision help or hinder my long-term goals? Will I regretted not doing something differently? Asking yourself these types of questions can help you make better choices and avoid regrets down the road.

Why People Have Challenges With Long-Term Thinking?

People are bad at long-term planning because the brain is wired to focus on the present. The prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functions such as impulse control and goal setting, is not fully developed until people reach their mid-20s. This means that young adults and teenagers have a difficult time thinking about future consequences and making decisions that will affect them in the long run. 

In addition, people are bad at long-term planning because they tend to be shortsighted. They want immediate gratification instead of waiting for a larger payoff down the road. This can be attributed to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate pleasure and reward centers in the brain. Dopamine motivates us to seek out rewards now rather than later.

So why are people so bad at long-term planning? Part of it has to do with brain development, and part of it is due to our natural tendencies. But understanding these reasons can help us be better at making decisions for the future.

Why Are People Bad at Long-Term Planning?

How to Improve Long-Term Planning Skills?

In order to be successful, it is important to develop good long-term planning skills. This means being able to think ahead and come up with a plan that will achieve your goals. Here are some tips on how to improve your long-term planning skills.

1) Understand your goals

The first step to any good plan is understanding your goals. What do you want to achieve? What are your long-term goals? Once you know what you’re aiming for, you can start making a plan to get there.

If you’re not sure what your goals are, take some time to think about them. Write down your goals and what you hope to achieve in the future.

Take some time to think about your short-term and long-term goals. What do you want to achieve in the short term? What are your long-term goals? Once you have a good understanding of your goals, you can start making a plan to achieve them

2) Break your goals down into smaller steps

Once you know what your goals are, it’s time to break them down into smaller steps. What are the smaller goals that you need to achieve in order to reach your larger goal?

For example, if your goal is to lose weight, your smaller goals might be to exercise for 30 minutes each day and to eat a healthy diet. If your goal is to save money, your smaller goal might be to save $50 each month.

Making your goals smaller and more manageable will make them seem less daunting and more achievable.

3) Set realistic goals

If your goals are too lofty, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Make sure that your goals are achievable and realistic. This doesn’t mean that you can’t challenge yourself, but make sure that your goal is something that you can actually accomplish.

If you want to lose weight, don’t set a goal of losing 50 pounds in a month. Set a goal of losing one to two pounds each week. This might not seem like much, but it’s a realistic and achievable goal.

The same goes for other goals, like saving money or quitting smoking. If you set unrealistic goals, you’re more likely to give up before you even start.

4) Make a plan

Once you’ve set your goal, it’s time to make a plan. This is where a lot of people fail. They know what they want to do, but they don’t have a plan for how to get there.

Creating a plan gives you a roadmap to follow and helps to keep you on track. Without a plan, it’s easy to get sidetracked and give up on your goal.

A plan doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as deciding what you’re going to do each day to work towards your goal. For example, if your goal is to save $100 in a month, your plan might be to save $25 each week.

If you don’t have a plan, it’s easy to get sidetracked and give up on your goal. So make sure you take the time to create a plan of how you’re going to reach your goal. Once you have a plan in place, it will be much easier to stay on track and achieve your goal.

5) Set a deadline for each goal

If you don’t set a deadline for your goals, it’s easy to keep putting them off. Make sure that each of your smaller goals has a deadline attached to it. This will help you stay on track and give you a sense of urgency.

For example, if your goal is to save $50 each month, you might set a deadline of the end of the month. If your goal is to exercise for 30 minutes each day, you might set a deadline of 12 pm each day.

Without setting deadlines, it’s easy to push your goals off until tomorrow or next week. But if you have a timeline attached to your goals, it will be easier to stay motivated and achieve them.


While our brains may not be naturally primed for long-term planning, there are ways we can work around this. By setting smaller goals, breaking down tasks into manageable chunks, and using a reminder system, we can make sure that even the most daunting projects get done. Have you tried any of these techniques? Let us know in the comments!

Kelly Rodriguez
Kelly Rodriguezhttps://hooshout.com
Where Sophistication and Style Meet.

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