Here it is, the last day of 2017. It is a day of reflection and relaxation before the onslaught of a few months of work without a decent holiday. Today, between eating homemade cookie dough and watching the Patriots play the Jets, I will be thinking about what I hope to see and accomplish in the next year. Part of this process is revising my yearly mind map. A mind map is a visual representation of things you wish to accomplish in the new year. It doesn’t have to be all inclusive and it doesn’t have to be all new things. It is a good way for you to visually keep the things important to your personal growth in perspective. So while I don’t subscribe to waiting for an arbitrary date or day of the week to start personal improvement, I believe the beginning of a new year is a good time to refocus your goals and direction.
This was my mind map last year:
As you can see, I started with a bubble in the center with the year and branched out into seven main categories of Career, Love, Finances, Education, Family, Health, and Personal Growth. From there, I specified the various things I wanted to accomplish.
(The fascinating part of doing a yearly mind map is having the ability to revisit the last year’s map as you make your new one. I love to see what I thought was important and what I thought I could accomplish. It is both humbling and invigorating to see what I actually did!)
If you wish to create your own mind map, start with drawing out the areas you want to improve in. Some suggestions are “Health” (which could further branch off into mental, physical, and spiritual), “Finances”, “Family”, “Love”, “Career”, “Hobby”…you are not limited by possibilities or even paper. Simply grab more paper and tape your map together. From there, identify at least one specific thing you would like to see yourself improve or continue to rock! Remember, no one has to ever see your mind map, so be honest with yourself. Bare your soul and write the hopes and dreams that scare even you. Expect more from yourself, and when you are able to look back on this mind map, you may be surprised at what you actually accomplished.
This year’s mind map:
Remember, this mind map of yours is only the beginning of your self-improvement journey. A goal is not a real goal until you have steps to accomplish it; otherwise, it is just a wish. If you wish, include how you expect to accomplish these goals through the use of tertiary bubbles. Write the physical steps you need to take to begin tackling this mind map such as “Have automatic paycheck withdrawals for 401k investments” or “Schedule trip to Russia”. Be assertive with your ideas with actions.
You can color-coordinate the categories, you can make different shapes represent different levels within your map, and you can be as crafty or as simple as you need to be to fully map your mind for the new year!
And when you think about whether you should tackle a new goal, remember that the time will pass whether you are improving or not. Where could you be next year?
New year, new you? No, new year, an actively trying and more focused you. Happy New Year, my friends!