Before we dive into how to mind map and why everyone should be doing it, let’s make one thing clear. It’s not like the vision board. How many of you have done the vision board thing and realized it just wasn’t working? Don’t be embarrassed. I tried it, too, and fell short. No stacks of cash landed on my doorstep, and Johnny Depp never asked me to marry him. Ah well. Back to the drawing board…er, or not?

Mind Mapping Definition

a mind map in a notebookPin Oh, how your mind will be blown by this. Now, there are probably a million different mind-mapping definitions, but here’s mine: It’s a place where you write down your short-term and long-term goals and tasks you need to do to achieve your goals. You look at them each day and take steps to get closer to achieving said goals. Every day, you look at your mind map, and every day, you work towards smashing your goals. Now, that’s just the Reader’s Digest version, but it sums it up quite nicely. Let’s go back to the vision board for a second. We taped a big poster board on our wall. We cut out pictures of things we want. We wrote little affirmations beside them. We repeat them daily until the picture comes to life. Sounds fun. Too bad it isn’t so effective. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not pooping on people who use the vision board faithfully and love it. Hey, if it works for you, kudos, babe. But for the millions of others it ain’t working for, keep reading.

How to make a mind map

First of all, there is no right or wrong way to create a mind map. You do what feels right for you in the most effective way, where you feel confident you will reach your goals. Does that make sense? If you use a whiteboard, draw a circle in the middle, put your name in there with a star, and choose only five goals you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months. Write those goals down along the side of your star and leave enough room to make notes on how exactly you will achieve these goals. I choose the most important goals to me—ones I really really want to achieve this year. I generally don’t set a date longer than 12 months, and even that length of time is a bit long- for me, anyway. I’m a short-term, impatient person ( I should work on that). That’s it, that’s all.

Mind mapping do’s and don’ts

Ok, I lied. Mind mapping is more than just a visual aid. You actually have to do the work, too. Here are a few do’s and do n’ts regarding your mind map. Do’s
    • look at it daily as often as you can
    • set aside at least 30 minutes a day to work on one of your goals
    • add tasks to each goal as you go along
    • feel it within your soul that you will accomplish this goal
    • stay focused
    • clutter it beyond recognition
    • forget about it
    • set goals that you don’t believe you can achieve
    • be unrealistic in your time frame
    • set your sights too high
Now, what I mean by don’t set your sights too high is this: Don’t write down as a goal that in 6 months you want to be living in a million-dollar mansion with 5 BMWs, a maid, a gardener, and an Olympic size swimming pool if you know that chances of that happening are next to nil (unless you win the lottery). You need to set realistic goals. I can’t stress this enough. Goals like getting a better job, moving to a nicer neighborhood/city, getting fit, retiring from your day job—things like this.

How my mind map worked for me

I was a hairstylist working in a mall in Northern Ontario, Canada. I hated my job as much as I hated my boss and the brutal winters of Ontario. I desperately wanted to retire and leave. I was in absolutely no position to retire. I barely had two cents to rub together and was literally just scraping by. I had to figure out how to retire and still support myself, and then I could leave Ontario once and for all. Those two goals were on my mind map. I was determined. To me, they were not unrealistic goals at all. I became a freelance writer and built my career (while still working 9 hours a day cutting hair), and by July 2015, I hung up my cutting shears. In October 2015, I packed two suitcases, bought a one-way ticket, and jetted off to sunny Guatemala. I never returned to Canada except for short visits to see family and such. You can’t tell me it’s not doable. I’m here to tell you it is. All you need is faith and determination. You need to really believe that you can do it. If you have any doubt, you’ll never achieve your goal. I wrote out all of my goals on a mind map, and I achieved every single one of them. A strong mindset will go a long way. Please don’t write out a goal if you don’t think you can attain it. That is so important. I can’t stress this enough.

Avoiding a cluttered mind map

This is also really important. Don’t write so much stuff on there that it starts overwhelming you. You will get to the point where you start looking at it and feel anxious because there’s SO much to do. Don’t do that. Keep your tips simple and neat. When you start feeling anxiety by looking at your mind map, it’s time to clean it up. Anxiety is fear-based and that feeling of fear will keep you trapped, and you will never reach any of your goals. Trust me on that.

Mind mapping will work if you work it

Like anything, it takes work and commitment. You have to remember something very important… You are in control of your life. If you don’t like something, change it; if you don’t know how to, figure it out. Everything is figureoutable (ok, so I stole that word from Marie Forleo). One of the problems we have is that we simply don’t believe in ourselves and don’t have enough faith and confidence that we can achieve a goal or do a scary thing. This recent video from my YouTube channel might help give you the confidence you need to reach your goals and believe in your dreams.

So, how effective is mind mapping?

To be perfectly honest, it’s only as effective as you are. It’s like anything else in life. If you put in the work, you will get results. If you don’t think anything good will come into your life, like reaching your goals, guess what? Nothing good will come into your life. Train your mindset to believe that you do deserve to reach your goals. You do deserve the life you desire. You do deserve to be happy and successful. So many of us suffer from limiting beliefs we inherited from our upbringing or past failures. It’s time to let all those go and start believing that a happy, successful, and abundant life can be ours. If you truly want it. Happy Mind Mapping!

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