Are you serious about your personal development? Do you intend to have a fulfilling life? Do you make resolutions to improve your life when New Year comes?
Did you answer yes to any of the questions above? That’s great! Then you must have a goal map. What??! You DON’T??! Well, let’s look at the bright side: then there is definitely room for improvement in your life. Let’s see how we can help!
First things first, what is a goal map?
You can be the most talented individual on the planet, yet if you don’t plan ahead there is little chance that you will reach your full potential. Planning is everything! So before you even start your journey toward your personal objectives, make sure you design a goal map.
A goal map is a roadmap for your life. It is a single document that has all your personal objectives clearly laid out. A goal map encompasses your objectives in all areas of your life, from physical to social, from professional to spiritual, financial, cultural and so on. The various aspects of your life are all interdependent. Your life pursuits and hobbies compete for the same limited resources: your time and your energy. You need to look at your life as a whole! The great thing about a goal map is that it is comprehensive.
Goals in your goal map must be S.M.A.R.T. goals:
- Specific: your goals should be detailed. You can’t hit the bull’s-eye if there is none. Don’t say “I want to lose weight” but rather “I want to lose 4 kilos by year-end” (target quantity and date are important).
- Measurable: your goal should be quantified so that you know at any point in time whether you are on track or not. This will enable you to follow your progress on a regular basis.
- Achievable: don’t over-plan, be realistic, your objective must be within reach. If it’s too big, then try and break it into smaller manageable goals that you can achieve step by step.
- Relevant: your goals must be relevant to you, connected to your deepest aspirations and aligned with your personal values.
- Time-bound: that’s really important, your goal should have a deadline, let’s not beat around the bush. Without a deadline, a goal is not a goal, it’s just a wish…
It is key also that your goal map be easy to access at any time and consulted often. It must be a living document that gets updated on a regular basis depending on your results and the evolution of your priorities over time.
Here is a couple of screenshots of what my goal map looks like (screenshots from my account on the website goalmap.com):
Now that we’ve explained what a goal map is, let’s see why you should definitely all have one!
#1. Take control of your destiny
By designing your own goal map, you start taking control of your destiny. You plan, you decide, you execute: you are your own programmer. It’s YOUR life, you should be in the driver seat. Write the storyline and shape your own life as opposed to passively dragging along.
#2. Articulate what you really want
What is it exactly that you REALLY want in life? Work hard and get promoted or spend more time with family? Play the piano? Read every day? You have to know what makes you truly tick and choose objectives that are aligned with your values and principles. Number 1 rule: follow your heart!
When you start going into the details of what you want to achieve out of your life, you will soon realize that some of the things that you have in mind are actually pretty vague. Goals that are vague are not actionable.
This is one of the main benefits of a goal map: it pushes you to clarify for yourself what truly matters to you. Once you have this clarity, you know which path you should take. You can start walking that path and track your progress as you walk along.
#3. Prioritize and achieve more
As we said earlier, all the goals we want to achieve require the same resources: our time, energy and money. These resources being limited, we need to make choices. A goal map will help you make these choices.
It’s like using a GPS to plan your life journey. Perhaps you should explore this region first and this other country next rather than going back and forth and running out of fuel. If you want too many conflicting things, you’ll end up getting none. A goal map will provide you with the bird’s-eye view of your life to identify these conflicts and bottlenecks.
It’s not only about identifying conflicts, it’s also about finding synergies between your aspirations and building positive articulations between your activities. Sport can help you manage your stress better and be nicer to others as a result, meditating can provide a useful spiritual relief after a long day at work and help you think clearer, etc. With a goal map, you can articulate these positive loops together.
#4. Know where to go
Thanks to the action plan you’re making, you will simplify the process of decision-making in the future. The path to action is clear, decisions are simple: you avoid useless stress. You’ve set up your GPS, now just follow the instructions! You don’t have to worry every minute about where you are and whether you’re going in the right direction. Just check your monitor from time to time and adjust the trajectory if needs be.
#5. Know yourself
This is arguably the most important at the end of the day: a goal map helps you know yourself better. It is a mirror, a tool that facilitates the dialogue with yourself.
What do I want to do during the coming year? What level of effort am I ready to make to achieve my goals? Why do I procrastinate for this one and not for that other one? What does really matter to me? What makes me happy? By defining and refining which goals you aspire to pursue, you foster a deep conversation with yourself. It is a process through which you both question and build your identity. This is the way to authentic happiness.
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.” – Lao Tzu
Download the goalmap app and start designing your own goal map.