Many of us set goals to help determine the direction of our lives for the foreseeable future. But here’s my problem: setting goals can be completely and utterly boring…and limiting…and demoralizing…and exhausting…and…I just don’t wanna do it! So that’s my dirty little secret. Setting goals is hard.
With varying degrees of success over the years, I’ve tried several different methods to set, track, and achieve my goals. By far, my favorite goal setting methodology is mind mapping.
What is a mind map?
A mind map is a picture that diagrams information, relationships between ideas, and logical pathways of thought. It kinda looks like a spider wearing roller skates. Below is a picture of a nice lady drawing a mind map on a white board.
Although the picture above shows only two levels, most mind maps extend far beyond that. Take a look at this example:
The center circle is the main idea, topic, or in the case of an annual goal-setting exercise, the year. Above, there are six circles surrounding the spider’s body that represent areas of work and life that this goal setter wants to impact. For each of these priority areas, there are some things that s/he wants to improve, change, or develop. Finally, this goal setter has outlined specific actions (with dates) to impact the desired areas. Don’t get overwhelmed by the picture above as most people don’t have this many goals – it’s for illustrative purposes only, people.
Mind maps are flexible to the user. You can draw whatever lines and circles you want. You can insert emojis, links, funky fonts, video clips, song lyrics, etc. You can make a mind map on the back of a napkin or construct one with my favorite tool, Mindmeister*.
Is there an app for that? Yes.
Are there tools other than Mindmeister? Yes.
Are there other cool ways to set goals using mind maps? Yes.
Your Next Steps
If you haven’t set specific, challenging, and shared goals for yourself personally and professionally, there’s no time like now. If you are looking for a new goal setting approach, try mind maps. And, if your mind map looks anything like the one below, I’m only an email away.
* Signing up for Mindmeister using this link gives me a free mind map. If you’d rather not give me a free mind map, I won’t hold it against you.
Dr. Melissa Gratias (pronounced "Gracious") is a work psychologist who helps overwhelmed and underappreciated businesspeople be more focused and effective. Since 2007, thousands of people have graduated with honors from her onsite sessions, distance coaching, productivity seminars, and corporate consulting projects. Based in Savannah, Georgia, Melissa is available for nationwide consulting and speaking engagements. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 912-417-2505. Sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter or visit her website, melissagratias.com.