How To Visually Map Out and Plan Your Future

This past year I started getting visual about the future that I wanted. Before then, I had no idea what I wanted or what I pictured my future to look like. Though getting more visual about what I wanted, I really got connected with my future and feel like I know the steps I need to take in order to have the future that I desire. I’ve allowed myself to really think about what I want while also having fun doing it. It felt less overwhelming and more fun to visually map my life out.

For all of us daydreamers, visually planning out your life can make daydreaming feel a little more practical. We can be daydreamers with real plans for our future if we do it right.

Before getting into all of this, I want to make some important points about my version of visual planning. These are things we all know, but will probably need to remind ourselves about while visually mapping out our futures.

You Can’t Control Your Future

I know that mapping out your future does not mean that things will happen this way. I can guarantee that there is no chance that my life will turn out exactly the way I envision it to. The beauty of life is in the unexpected and unplanned events. But I don’t think it’s bad to have a vision for my future anyway. I think there is value in wanting things even if it doesn’t turn out exactly that way. And we can change our minds about our future plans over and over again. That’s okay too!

Belongings Aren’t What is Important

In my visualization for my future, there are some physical belongings that I would like to possess someday. And I think those are the least important when it comes to the future. Being happy is the most important. But I think that working towards purchasing physical belongings is fine too. As long as you don’t put too much weight or importance on them. At the end of the day, belongings are just belongings and it’s the relationships that you build that mean the most.

The Doing Is More Important than the Dreaming

I don’t believe that simply mapping out your future makes it so. I believe you have to work hard on your goals and trust in your vision for yourself. By no means do I believe that you can sit around and visualize and expect it to happen. You have to put energy into making them happen. Mapping it out can help point you in the right direction. It can encourage you and show you the way, but it can’t and won’t do the work for you.

Unrealistic Goals are not Helpful

We can all chit-chat away about how we want mansions all across the country. A beach house in California, a fabulous little apartment in New York City, and a getaway house in Europe. We can pin our hearts away on Pinterest with no intentions of ever pursuing them. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if your other goals don’t align with that future, I don’t see the point. Daydream about the things that are a little more realistic but still equally amazing. Daydream about your Paris trip while you’re studying up on your French and putting money away into an account every month. The girl who is doing that is way more interesting to me than the one who hasn’t taken steps to get towards her outlandish daydream. (PS- I’m 100% that girl I’m complaining about at times, but sometimes we just need a little push to start actually working towards our goals.)

Big Priorities Come First

This year, I set three large goals for myself. To move out of my parent’s house. To get a good job (which just happened!) And to get a dog. These are all big changes that I know are a part of my vision for myself. I didn’t go overboard with all the things. (Okay, that’s a lie. I have my apartment’s color scheme and everything all planned out before I’ve even found an apartment or a job.) But I stuck with my big three before going any further. There are so many things I want, but I think it’s important to remember the big things that get you closer to your goals. Other things may fall into place without you even realizing it. Start small with the biggest priorities to you and go from there.

Here’s why it’s helpful to get visual and plan out your future:

  1. You’re constantly asking yourself about what you want and what is important to you.
  2. You’re constantly realizing what you don’t want and what is not important to you.
  3. You’re more likely to figure out how to get there, because you know where you want to go.
  4. You’re able to visually see yourself achieving your goals.
  5. You’re able to feel when you’re not on the right path.
  6. You’re able to turn opportunities down when they don’t serve you.
  7. You’re able to seek guidance from those who have already done what you aim to do.

Focus on how you want to feel before you think about what you want to physically have. Remind yourself why you want what you want in life. Why does it matter to you? Why do you care about this?

Your whys are important, so hold onto them. Businesses use mission statements to guide everything they do as a company. If it doesn’t fit the mission, it has no place in their business plan. The same should go for you and your life. Setting your mission statement will make it so much easier to visualize your future. You can ask yourself “does this fit my mission?” before going forward with a decision.

When you’re evaluating what is most important, go into every aspect of your life and think about how you’d like to feel and what you envision.

Here is a list of some of the areas of life you should think about:

Romantic Relationships

And so on.

What do you see there? What is the ideal version of you doing? What is she driving? What is she wearing? What is she working on? Where does she live? Does she have kids? Does she own a business? How often does she travel?

The more you explore this, with a realistic and open mind, the closer you can be to working on getting where you want to be.

There are a variety of ways in which you can do this:

Writing a Letter to your Future Self

This was a big step towards becoming more visual in 2015. I wrote a letter to myself as if I was writing to myself three years later. I talked about my accomplishments and what I am doing. I went down the list of life categories (listed above) and talked about how proud I was for the life I built for myself.

It opened my eyes to a lot. I’m going to be 27 in three years and there is a lot of life-changing things that can happen and that I want to happen within that amount of time. Writing about what you desire your life to be in a few years gives you the mindset to start working to make them happen.

Mind Mapping

I’m new to mind-mapping but I think it sounds so fun and helpful. I usually see mind maps as study tools, but they can also be used to give you a clearer and more visual perspective for your future. It helps you get specific. It can guide you on what you need to do to get where you want to go. You can add things later on after constructing a mind map. Think about what you can do to achieve your vision and goals. It’s truly a great way to organize your thoughts in a visually pleasing way.

How to visually plan using a mind-map

Mind map ideas:

  1. Your Big Picture Goals: What do you hope to accomplish this year?
  2. Your Priorities: What is important to you and what can you do to make it better?
  3. Specific Ideas: For your business, blog, or personal life

Using Pinterest Realistically

Instead of pinning to boards with no intention but to daydream, start pinning with intention. If you’re moving house, look for pins that will help guide you along the way. If you’re looking to boost your wardrobe, type in outfit ideas for inspiration before buying new items. It might even help you with what you already own. Think about what you can use as inspiration for the near future instead of the so-far-away-and-probably-will-never-even-happen future.

Creating a Vision Board

Similar to Pinterest, a vision board gives you a source of inspiration. Cut out pictures from magazines that you feel represent who you want to be and what you want to feel. Vision boards can be a great way to visually remind yourself of what you want to accomplish. It helps to be able to see it each and every day. Choose words that mean something to you. Be selective with your vision board and change it up as you see fit.

Let’s get visual! Let us know how you like to visually plan. Have you done any of these before? 


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