No matter what month you stumble across this blog post, achieving growth through goal setting is always possible. While mantras and meditations are a great daily practice, breaking your dreams down into digestible and tangible goals will help you achieve more in the long run.
In this post, we’ll use the example goal of switching to a career in UX/UI design, but this framework can really be used to accomplish any type of goal (like Objectives and Key R esults (OKR) planning—check out this free OKRs template).
Where to Begin: Mind Mapping
If you know you want to start setting goals, but you aren’t yet 100% clear on what you want your goal to be or how to achieve it, we’d recommend starting with a mind map.
Mind mapping is a creative brainstorming process that helps to de-clutter your brain. It’s like pulling everything out of your closet for Spring cleaning.
If you know what it is, place your overall goal in the middle of the mind map and then create thought bubbles around it for the smaller sub goals and actions. Otherwise, use your mind map to brainstorm goal possibilities and get really clear on what you want.
You’d be surprised by how fun mind mapping can actually be and what sort of realizations about yourself you can uncover. This process works particularly well if you’re a visual thinker.
While there are lots of choices for mind mapping software, I’d recommend using a plain old pen and paper at this stage. Scientists say you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. But if you’re anti-paper, try Freemind: it’s open source and free.
Using happiness as your north star, try asking yourself these questions during the mind mapping process when trying to uncover your clearly-defined goal:
- What makes me happy?
- Why do these things make me happy?
- What are the things I’m willing to give up in order to be happier?
- What can I add more of in my life to be happier?
Once you’ve decided on your goal, try using these career-specific questions and a mind map to determine what needs to happen in order to achieve said goal:
Is there any professional training I can take? (Full-time, part-time, one-time, etc.)
What sort of supplemental materials will it require? (Portfolio, resume, LinkedIn, etc.)
Can I afford to leave my current job? (Savings, job market, family support, etc.)
What soft skills can I work on developing to help with the job hunt? (Presentation skills, communication skills, writing skills, etc.)
Hopefully at the end of this process, you’ll have a clearly-defined goal, and a broad idea of what needs to happen in order to achieve that goal.