When you really want to achieve something, have you ever tried closing your eyes and imagining yourself “there”? In your mind’s eye, you can touch it, feel it, and see every detail clearly. But when you open your eyes, the image quickly fades, and it can take real effort to recreate your visualization each time you need inspiration.

Mind mapping is a simple tool for keeping hold of that vivid image, so you can refer to it whenever you need a reminder of what you’re working toward. Learn how to create your own mind map, to keep you motivated and focused on your objectives.

What is Mind Mapping?

A mind map is a physical representation of your goals. It’s a collage of images and text that acts as a reminder of what you want to accomplish, and how you will do it. It intensifies the effects of visualization – a technique which acts on your subconscious mind to motivate and encourage you toward reaching those goals.

Language is often the medium in which you rationalize. Yet it also leaves you vulnerable to negative self-talk, which can damage your motivation. But by creating and focusing on a physical image of yourself in your desired state, you can build confidence and belief in your own abilities to achieve what you set out to do. Follow these five steps to create your own mind map:

1. Identify Your Goals

First, identify the goals that you want to set for yourself.

2. Visualize the Goal

Once you are clear about what you want to do, write it down in detail and start to visualize your goal. Ask yourself what you’ll see when you’ve achieved it. What will you have that you didn’t have before? What will you be that you weren’t before? Think about how you will celebrate your accomplishment and consider how other people will see you and your achievement.

3. Visualize the Journey

Next, visualize the journey toward achieving your goals. What will you have to do? What will you have to stop doing? There may be important milestones or necessary sacrifices along the way. Visualize these, too, and think about the images that could represent your journey.

4. Gather Your Images

Collect images that represent your visualization and arrange them on paper as a collage. They can be from magazines, websites, or any other source. Place the images that represent your ultimate achievement in the most prominent position. Also, place an image of yourself at or close to the focal point of the collage. This helps to reinforce the idea that the goal is personal to you, and that you’re the one responsible for making it happen. Also, make a note of anything new and positive that comes to mind as you put the collage together. You may stumble across interesting side projects to carry out as you complete your main goals.

5. Complete your Map

Finally, paste onto your collage the images that represent your goals, your journey toward them, and any sacrifices you will need to make. Arrange them in a way that reinforces your desire to achieve your goals. For many people, a visual learning Style is a highly effective means of absorbing information and ideas. So keep your chart in a prominent place so that you see it daily: it will help to motivate and to inspire you each time you see it.

How do I use my Mind Map?

Use it as a source of inspiration. Take a few minutes every day to focus on it. Reflect on what successes you’ve already had and think about how you’ll reach the next milestone in your journey.

You may also find yourself thinking fresh thoughts about your goals, and looking at them from new angles. For example, if you’re visualizing a promotion, you might develop new insights into your current role and responsibilities.

Mind mapping is a powerful technique for motivation and self-confidence. But it’s not magic! Simply making a collage of things you want to achieve won’t make them happen. So, aim to develop an internal locus of control and to take ownership of the decision making and actions necessary to get what you want. And, if you start having doubts about your ability to succeed, try using an approach like positive affirmations to counteract them.

Key Points

Mind mapping is a potent way to bring your personal or career goals to life. It gives you a clear, physical image of what you want to achieve, and how you will do it.

First, set out your goals and plan what you need to do to reach them. Then, visualize these goals and actions.

Gather images that represent your goals, and how you’ll feel when you accomplish them. Arrange them into a collage, keeping your final achievement right in the centre.

Use your map daily, as a reminder of what you want to do or who you want to become. Incorporate any new insights or opportunities that arise as part of the process into your map.