A vision map is a (typically) creative visual representation of your hopes and goals. Like any map, it offers a mental picture of where you want to go. It might be in the form of a diagram or a collage. It serves as a visual reminder of our dreams.
For me, reminders and visual cues are really important. Without a reminder, I am VERY likely to get up and run my usual course in the rat maze of life and then suddenly look up one day and say, “oh yeah! I was gonna do that thing! I forgot!” –even though it seemed pretty important at the time I hatched my plan.
So you want to make some changes…
The new year often gives us pause to assess where we’ve been and where we’re going. What do you want in this next trip around the sun? Whether you call them “resolutions” or not, I believe we all make a few decisions about life in our own heads around this time. But do you remember what you had in mind last year? It’s funny how those ideas sometimes slip away as do the weeks and months.
A vision map is a reminder of our hopes and wishes.
Too often we tumble a thought through our consciousness only to have it take on a diffuse, ethereal shape. Nothing concrete to make it manifest. It begins to feel beyond our grasp. Too often we get up and quickly fall back into our old familiar habits. A vision map is a reminder of our hopes and wishes. Creating a Vision Map is a ritual, making it more powerful, clear, and tangible.
Used in the coaching discipline, Vision Mapping has been discussed by many people. While a relatively intuitive process, we rarely really incorporate it into our daily lives. Again, reflect on those easily lost New Years’ resolutions—how often did you really create a detailed plan? Did you make a visual reminder to help you reach your dreams? I always think about the wisdom of Mary Poppins when she identified a “pie crust promise–easily made, easily broken.”
What if I’m not sure of the changes I need in my life?
Sometimes we feel like we are stagnant, stuck, or have a sense of longing but are not sure what would be helpful. If you find yourself in that spot, maybe you should take a look at our free e-guide, Fire Up Your Life. It contains challenge questions that help guide you toward areas in which you might need to take a chance and do some things differently. There are examples and ideas about making needed changes in your life.
So how do you make a Vision Map?
There are no hard and fast rules but there are some essential components. Be as creative as you want.
- Brainstorm your goals and dreams. Focus on the one(s) you want to make manifest and spend some time imagining your goal. Write about it to give it form. Draw it. It can be a diagram. A map. A chart. A collage. Personally, I really like a creative project. And before you say, “I’m not creative at all,” here are the facts—you can cut pictures out of a magazine and glue them to a poster board (of any size). I’m 100% sure of that!
- Set goals. The key to goal-setting is to make them concrete and measurable. How will you know you’ve reached it? It is one thing to say you want to be “more productive” in the new year but how will you know you’ve accomplished that? It is more effective if you say “I will make a list of one project to accomplish per month.”
- Create steps toward your goal. What exactly do you need to accomplish your goal? How much of your resources (time/money) will you dedicate to it? How might you break it down into doable chunks?
- What is your timeline for accomplishing the goal? How will you make sure it gets done? When I was in graduate school with a lengthy dissertation looming, one of my professors wisely advised me “Life will always get in the way” unless you sanction an activity by putting it on your calendar. If you consider your goal a scheduled commitment with a deadline, you are much more likely to work on it. Otherwise, your dream could easily become amorphous.
How do you typically embrace change?
Are you someone who feels that a dream is something you can typically accomplish? Or do you give up before you start because you have a long history of not even trying? I often hear people say that they don’t make new year’s resolutions because they don’t like failing. I would offer that maybe they just need a real strategy and reminders. Create a Vision Map because Life is Messy and will get in the way. Give your Marvelous dream a chance to become real.
Rhea Ann Merck, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist, persistent woman, mother of 2 amazing young women, writer, teacher, life-long learner, curious & creative human, lover of life, passionate about making life better every day…