Mind Maps: 5 Tips To Manage Your Goals And Your Life

Have you achieved your goals? Last June I looked at my goals and realized that I’d forgotten every goal I set back in January. Mind maps to the rescue.

Mind maps: map your life

A writer in our writers’ group revealed that he was on track to meet his goals and that mind mapping helped. So, I had to try them again too.

A few years ago my then-boss encouraged me to use the Mac version of MindManager, but I hadn’t used it much. I decided to correct that.

The app comes packed with lots of templates, which made getting started easier.

Brainstorming template in MindManager

By the way, MindManager is a commercial app. No need to spend money. You’ll find lots of free mind mapping apps online. Freemind (Windows, Mac, Linux) for example is excellent.

Let’s look at some tips to help you to achieve your goals using mind maps.

1. Start where you are: identify your obstacles

What’s making you miserable and holding you back from achievement? Obstacles can be physical — or they might be emotional or mental blocks.

Use your first “obstacles” mind map as a brain dump. Add all your obstacles: the big ones like financial problems, as well as little irritations and emotional challenges.

2. What do you want? Identify your goals

Often we rote-write our goals — we write down what we should want, rather than what we do want. Maybe “get fit” has been one of your goals for several years, but you still aren’t a regular at your local gym.

So, instead of setting goals you think you should set, look at your “obstacles” mind map. Think about what you could achieve if an obstacle were removed. For example, perhaps financial challenges make up several obstacles.

How would your life change if those obstacles were removed?

Create a new mind map. Write “goals”as your central idea of that map, and add some goals which will remove the obstacles which you’ve identified.

Avoid thinking about this process too much. Allow yourself to write a goal like “get a new job which pays 50% more” if you’re inspired to write that, even if it feels completely unrealistic. Allow yourself to dream. 🙂

Aim for five goals in various areas of your life: family, job, finances, etc.

3. Ask: “what’s the next step” for each of your goals

Great advice from a post on Trello’s blog, The Mind Map Technique: How To Set More Productive Goals:

For every goal or mind map area, ask these two questions: what one next step would have the biggest impact? And what one small step could I take in the next week? If you focus on just those two things, week after week, you’ll be generating massive momentum in no time!

One small step per week is all you need to take.

Add those steps to your calendar.

4. Refine your goals as you go

Review your “goals” mind map frequently. I like to glance at my goals map every morning. Then I rewrite one of my goals in my journal, every day.

5. Keep using mind maps: create a Dashboard map

Consider creating a mind map which you can use as a Dashboard, because once you get into the habit of creating mind maps, you’ll end up with lots of them.

Add links to your current project maps to the Dashboard, as well as a link to your goals map.

Enjoy mind mapping — create a goals mind map today.

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