Goal maps are not just something major corporations do. The average man or woman can employ this useful tool to create a better life for themselves. Setting up a goal map takes time, but it helps to clarify the direction you want your life to take and enforces the discipline necessary to reach those goals.
Basically a goal map is comprised of two sections; a goal or more than one, and the steps needed to reach those goals.
But what makes up a good goal map?
First comes knowing what it is you want from life. Everyone has dreams of who they want to be and what they want, but they have not written down their goals. Your first step comes from writing down those goals and making them concrete. You need to be able to summarize your goal in just one or two sentences which you can keep with you everyday to remind yourself of what it is you want to accomplish. This is your mission statement.
Next you need to organize those goals. If you have more than one, you need to prioritize them in order of importance. Top priority requires immediate attention and require the most detail on your goal map.
Once you’ve organized everything, you can write down a time frame for the achievement of your top priority goals. Write down the exact day you plan to reach your goal. But don’t be disappointment if you don’t reach your goal as anticipated. Nothing is ever smooth sailing and you’ll often have to make course corrections from time to time. You can always make those corrections on your goal map. No one stands to condemn you if you don’t achieve what you anticipated on the date you planned.
No goal is ever reached without some expenditure in resources. Whether it’s financial or personal, you need to know what you need to have or do before you can even embark on your mission. You need to list those tools, information and other materials. If you lack knowledge, put that down into your goal map. No house ever gets built without first knowing what materials are needed and who is going to build the house.
Beginning is always the hardest part in any endeavor. But if you’ve created a well constructed goal map, it will be easy to make that start. But the usefulness of a goal map doesn’t end once you’re on your way to reaching your goals. The goal map you set up is a good way to mark the progress you’re making. If you find yourself moving in a different direction, your map will tell you that you need to stick to the plan or otherwise make some changes. Use it to write in comments about what you are doing or what you are not achieving. Put in anything that can help you get back on track. Goal maps are there to enforce discipline and focus your attention on what is important to you.
From time to time you’ll reach a milestone so you can write in a reward into your map once you accomplish an important step. Think about how you will reward yourself once you’ve reached a step. Put down what it is you intend to give yourself for a job well done. If you do it in less time than you planned, increase the reward.
A goal map is not meant to be a straitjacket. It is meant to inspire you to turn your dreams into the reality you’ve always wanted. There will come a time in the future that you will look back in awe at all the things you’ve accomplished just because you took the time to create your own goal maps.
Photo by Hannah Olinger.
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