When my partner Chris and I decided last fall that we wanted to buy a home together, I suggested we use one of my favourite methods for reaching goals. I have used it for achieving many of my own personal and professional goals and, using this method have helped hundreds of coaching clients reach their goals. This method is based on mind-mapping. As defined in Wikipedia, “a mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information. A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added. Major categories radiate from a central node, and lesser categories are sub-branches of larger branches.”
Chris and I took a big sheet of paper, wrote the words “our home” in the middle of the page and drew a circle around it. Then we brainstormed all the things that mattered to us about our future home. The ideas kept flowing with ease. Some were influenced by past experience, some emerged from our dreams, and many were influenced by what we liked and didn’t like about each of our homes at the time. Each item that popped into our mind was written down close to the center of the page, received its own circle and was connected with a line to the central circle, “our home.” Soon the page was covered with our preferences.
To organize our thoughts, we colour coded each of our preferences, so that we could easily see the order of priority. Even though we really wanted all of our preferences to be met, we knew that certain aspects were more important to us than others. Neighbourhood, price and floor plan where the most important categories, followed by bike storage, beautiful big trees around the house, quiet, light and warm.
Once we were happy with our mind-map we contacted our realtor. After our initial meeting, he established a daily e-mail notice of new listings for us. My partner Chris thankfully did the pre-screening. Together we looked at the homes he had identified as potentials. We always had our mind-map handy and only considered homes that met at least all of our highest priorities. We drove by the places we had pre-selected. If we liked the feel of the neighbourhood and the outside look, we made arrangements with our realtor to arrange a viewing.
During our search, we looked at many homes online and visited a few homes that were just not right for us. Sometimes we felt discouraged. However, we always came back to our mind-map and re-affirmed how important each of the aspects really were to us.
Along the way we took some important steps, such as getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Then one day in November, we found our home. When we walked through the door, we just knew that it was right for us: A beautiful character conversion with big windows, high ceilings and a very well-thought out floor plan, located in our favourite neighbourhood. We put in an offer the same day and about a month later took possession of our home. When we revisited our mind-map, we realized that our home has indeed all the features we had envisioned, even the ones that we had given the lowest priority such as a gas stove and two bathrooms.
We still have to pinch each other occasionally to make sure that we are not just dreaming, realizing that we now truly live in the home of our dreams. Throughout the past month of unpacking, arranging furniture, letting go of access furniture and acquiring a few new pieces, we have once again used mind-mapping to help us achieve all these steps with ease and a sense of accomplishment.
This tried and true method for how to reach your goals can help you with goals ranging from finding the career that is right for you to creating the vacation of your dreams. The beauty of this method is that you can use it on your own, with support from your life coach and with your partner, team or family.
How to Reach Your Goals with Ease and Joy in Five Simple Steps:
- Name the bigger picture goal you want to achieve, write it in the centre of a blank sheet of paper and draw a circle around it. You can also find a variety of mind-mapping software online, if you would rather create an electronic version.
- Brainstorm all the aspects that are important about this goal and write them around the centre, draw circles around each of them and connect them to your central goal.
- Accompany items that you are not sure about with a question mark. Things that need to be done should have specific tasks associated with them.
- Colour-code your mind-map to create an order of priorities. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have all the aspects that you want; it just helps you focus on the most important things as you take steps towards reaching your goal. Feel free to change and improve your mind-map as you work with it.
- Keep your mind-map handy while you take the steps towards your goal. You can post it on your fridge, or somewhere, were you see it daily. We decided to have our mind map stored in a draw and revisited it after each home viewing.
Once you have you have used this method for one of your important goals, you know how to reach your goals with ease and joy from now on. Please share your insights with other readers on my blog. Thank you!
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Julia James is a certified life coach and award-winning author of the book, The Mini-Retreat Solution. With over ten years experience coaching people through positive career transformations, Julia is passionate about helping people connect with their true calling.