As 2017 comes to a close, it’s time to shift your focus towards mentally preparing for the year ahead. There is no better way to define goals and their relationships than by laying them out on paper, and a mind map will be your best tool for the process. You need to start by determining where you are, where you want to be, and what goals/relationships between those goals will allow you to get there.
If you don’t know already, a mind map is a large tree diagram with branches stemming from a central idea. Our mind maps central idea will be “2018”, the branches stemming off of it being the areas of life which we plan on improving/creating/strengthening. Start with 6 branches, these being the 6 areas of your life you find most important. Things such as Hobbies, Business, Family & Friends, Leisure, Finances, etc., would be a great place to start, all of them being areas where people can create value and better their lives over the coming year.
Your mind map should look something like this:
Once the main branches are laid out, it becomes time to fill in the specifics of how you plan on creating value and making positive change. Set realistic goals/plans, and make sure that the relationships between your sub-branches all align — it’ll increase the benefit of the project. Be sure to make your goals specific and reachable, the vaguer they are (e.g. work out more), the less likely you are to stick to the plan. Having clearly defined goals will help you stay on top of their completion and offer a sense of achievement. Here is an example of what some of your goals can look like:
- Read 12 books this year
- Join a sports league (summer/winter)
- Start a blog
- Max out TFSA contribution room
- Establish 2-new sources of income
- Save XX% of each paycheque for the entire year
By now, the partially-completed mind map should look closer to this:
You shouldn’t rush through these goals, they will define the way in which you live for the next 12-months and so you want to be sure to set them correctly. Make them congruent with your living-plan and ensure that they are reasonable given your physical, emotional, and financial situation — allowing you to stick to goals that actually better your life.
Once your mind map is complete (it should be done on a large sheet of Bristol Board/paper) you need to pin it up in your workspace. Whether it be your office, bedroom, etc., set up the map in a place where you will see it on a daily basis, making it a constant reminder of what you need to get done. Interact with the goals and cross them out as you complete them/highlight them if you’re lacking in them — stay aware of what you’re doing/need to do to maximize its effectiveness.
In order for your ideas & preparation to pay off, you must be committed to following what the map outlines. Over the course of the next year, opinions and feelings may change, your personal situation may change, or your interests may change, but you need to be confident in your convictions and stick to the plan in order to see the best returns possible.