We all need goals in life. Big goals, small goals, life-changing goals or seemingly pointless ones. Having something to achieve, something to aim for, is an extra reason to get out of bed in the morning and wear your game face. Whether your goal is to see a movie people keep telling you about or to travel the world and the seven seas, the approach to making them happen will be the same. Anything we do or want to do can be broken down into smaller chunks. If those chunks are still over-facing, they can be broken down as well and so on. Eventually you’ll be left with a step by step guide of how to get there.
The best method I know for doing this is using a Mind Map. Mind Maps are a learning tool pioneered by Tony Buzan to help you recall information using your brains natural remembering process, which is association. Making links between the things you need to recall based on what topic or category it falls into. A Mind Map looks something like this (obviously you can tart yours up however you want):
For this goal achieving method you won’t be using the map to recall information, rather just to create and lay out an exact path to follow. The process is exactly the same and can be used to achieve any goal.
Write your end goal in the centre of a sheet of paper. Divide it into sub categories, the stuff you’ll need to have or do for it to happen. Divide those categories in the same way and repeat until you have bite-size, easy chunks that are easy to do right now. Include all the details. If the paper isn’t big enough, you might just put “see [named list] list”, have the list on a separate sheet and organise them all together in a file or folder [edit: alternatively you can use this free resource]. This is now a detailed plan of exactly what you need to do, step by step, to achieve the goal. Prioritise the steps (maybe using a number system) and you’re ready to go. Start with the very outer steps and then methodically work your way towards the centre, in the right order.
If your goal is a big one, you will definitely need to make adjustments and additions as you go along because as you delve into deeper territory, you will learn loads more and gaps in your original plan will be exposed. This is a good thing as it shows you have a better understanding than when you first wrote the plan. That’s another step closer. Add and make the adjustments and carry on. You cannot fail using this method. If you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will definitely move forwards. That’s a fact.
As you munch your way through the easier tasks towards the bigger parent category from which they stemmed, the parent category which seemed overwhelming at first will have shrunk to nothing. By the time you get there you have already solved it.
Also, by taking the right steps to purposefully work towards the centre of your map, you will notice that you begin to meet people on the same path and build relationships with people who can move you closer to your goal. You surround yourself with all kinds of contacts, clues, new information and better resources. New doors will open. So the process will get easier the closer you get to your goal.
Some things to bear in mind when creating your Mind Map:
- Time (make time to pick off your goals and set deadlines throughout the process)
- Money (have a proper savings plan for any expenses)
- Resources (what will you need and where can you get it?)
- Contacts (who can help you get there? Who do you need to speak to?)
- Permission (does your goal require any special permission?)
- Fitness (Are you physically equipped to do it? If not, get there)
- Education (learn what you need to learn. Research and ask for help)
- Premises (if you need premises, think about what they need)
- Environment (get these conditions in place)
- Motivation (know what your personal hot buttons are)
- Information (collate all the relevant information you can)
- Organisation (keep the whole plan meticulously organised using this method)
- Anything else that is relevant to your mission.
Make the whole plan visually enticing. Include pictures and colours. It has to be mint. Make it inspirational and motivational. If you can, start it right now. Don’t wait another year and then wonder where you would have been if you’d have started a year ago. Get excited about your project and get stuck in!
What’s that smell? Ah, it’s the sweet smell of opportunity. Tony Buzan, you the man… thank you please!