Creating new habits…Mind Mapping can help!

Dear Mind Mapping Graduate

Do you have an old habit you would like to change?  Or a new habit you would like to create? Mind Mapping can help!

A common life coaching request is “I’d like to get fit, lose weight and be healthier” and this is a typical example of needing to change old habits and create new.  And, I have to raise my hand here, as there have been times in my life when I have said the same thing.   

An example of creating new habits:  Radiant health now

An example of creating new habits: Radiant health now

In creating a new habit, in this case a healthier lifestyle, a Mind Map can support you in the process.

This is a Mind Map I prepared around a new health regime as I was wanting to lose some weight and generally get a little fitter (gone are the days of my running marathons!).

Branches I considered included what my goals were, what this new way of being would look and feel like.  I also considered the obstacles that were likely to come up with preparation being the key.  I actually spent some time thinking about how I would overcome those obstacles and what works for me, things that may have worked in the past or that work in other areas of my life. 

It is common and quite normal to go off track when changing habits however the key is not to stay off track, rather get back on the path again referring back to what works for you, knowing this is a normal part of the change process, and then doing it is the key.  Providing structure, routine, and repetition builds the traction.  What works for me is putting things in my diary (I show up) and also making a commitment to a friend to show up (in my case my gym trainer).  Now with text messaging it is easy to create other “virtual” training buddies. 

Remember to include rewards for achievement along the way, including acknowledging your resilience building when you do happen to go off track and get back on again.  Having a Mind Map gives you an individual blueprint plan for your change process and can help in making the difference to your achieving it.  Not just another boring black and blue to do list (or yellow and black on your iPad notepad) that shows no connections but a colourful, engaging map that considers various aspects of the change you are creating and gives you a sense of overall control in achieving it by capturing it on a page.

Go well!  I look forward to hearing how you use Mind Maps to create positive changes in your life.

Happy Mind Mapping!

Best wishes, Marion

 

Mind Mapping can make a difference…

Dear Mind Mapping Graduate

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by the things you need to do and wondering where to begin?  Or walking around with so many things in your head that need to be done and then unmotivated to do any of them?  Mind Mapping can make a difference.

After a few weeks away over Christmas visiting our families, I returned home with fresh eyes to notice a “tired” house!  Amazing what a break away can do along with energy from knowing it’s the beginning of a new year, so I was keen to get started on a “working bee” for our home.  Bless our house however it is an old home and it seemed everywhere I looked needed work to be done and in no time my energy and motivation was sapped.  That is, until I sat down and did a Mind Map of all the things that needed to be done.  Below is a very simple Mind Map I put together.

Home Working Bee 2013, Mind Map created by Marion Langford on an iPad

Home Working Bee 2013, Mind Map created by Marion Langford on an iPad

Mind Mapping can make a difference.  By sitting down and doing a Mind Map, I was able to capture all the things we needed to do on one page which not only provided a sense of control and being manageable, it also meant I was able to clear my thoughts and not have to keep telling myself “I must do that…and that…and that” etc.  Once I had my Mind Map, I had a plan, and I was able to just get on with it bit by bit and as you can see some of the items have already been ticked off.  Curious, seems quite a bit of painting to be done, shame there’s not a “painter” in the house!

If you are a “list person” then Mind Maps are a great way to capture a list and rather than having items on multiple pages, with no connections shown etc, with a Mind Map you can get the full picture (or at at least an overview) on one page.  With colour coding, a few key words and images, you have a much more motivating, interesting and memorable tool for actually achieving whatever is on your list.  While the Mind Map above is a basic one (could add branches for details ie. research items, ring plumber etc and then put action dates), it was sufficient for what I needed to get me moving.

So if you are putting off doing something, have lots to do but then lack the motivation to do it, then try gathering your thoughts into a Mind Map, it might just make the difference.

Happy Mind Mapping!

Cheers, Marion

Happy New Year… Begin with the end in mind

Dear Mind Mapping Graduate

Happy New Year to you!  May 2013 be rich in experience, good health and much happiness.

One way you can help realise the above is by using a Mind Map to create a plan for your year.  For those of you who completed their Year in Review as suggested in my previous newsletter (or who are about to), this is the second stage in the process.  If you haven’t already completed your Year in Review, it is still valuable to do so, remembering Mind Maps are quite quick to do. 

Colour-coded symbols for Year in Review 2012 by Marion Langford

Colour-coded symbols for Year in Review 2012 by Marion Langford

A tip from my own review of 2012 was to make up a series of colour coded symbols to simplify my Mind Map and allow me to capture more on my page (I used a large sheet not quite as big as an A3 and hand drew my Mind Map.)  These are the symbols I used.

As I prepare for 2013 I remember the wisdom from Stephen Covey’s book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Habit 1 which is “Begin with the end in mind” and that is our next Mind Map.

Below is a sample Mind Map I have created on my iPad for my planning process for 2013.  As you can see there are a number of branches on the map so if you are hand-drawing (my preference for this), start with a large page and if necessary do a couple of maps to ensure you cover all aspects.

2013 Aspirations, Aims, A guiding plan by Marion Langford

2013 Aspirations, Aims, A guiding plan by Marion Langford

1. Values
It is worth reviewing your top 5 values, as they can help in making sure your decisions throughout the year are in alignment with what is important to you in your life.  In working out your values look at where you naturally spend your time, effort and money and that will help you to identify your values.  For me it is around family, learning, helping others, creating art etc.

2. Guiding Principles
Another powerful way to help you navigate your year is to establish your guiding principles.  These only need be a few however they can also help in your decision-making throughout the year.  As a colleague at work recently shared with me, she calls this her “rocking chair test”, thinking about when you are old and sitting in a rocking chair and asking “What would I like to have achieved in my life?  What would I like to have said about me?”  It is also a way of checking whether if you do/don’t do or become something, will you regret it?  By considering these guiding principles they become your compass for the year so that in any given moment you can check in and ask yourself whether you are moving closer to or further away from these guiding principles.  New Year’s day we caught up with a friend who sadly lost her beloved partner last year.  As part of simplifying her life and giving her some guidance she has chosen to make this year the year that she 1. Tries things, 2. becomes more Tolerant and 3. Talks to others; 3 T’s.  And interestingly throughout the day I saw how she was using these 3 T’s to help her.

3. Major Focus
You may like to choose one area in your life in particular that you wish to focus on this year, to simplify things, i.e. one role where you would like to see a real difference.  What is that?  Using your right brain skills of imagining, imagine what success would look like in that area and then map that out.

4. Aspects of your Life
I have added a series of branches to cover various life aspects.  Some aspects may be relevant to you and others may not.  If you have completed your review of 2012, you likely will be aware of those areas you were more satisfied with and others perhaps less satisfied, in which case what would you like to do differently?

It is worth remembering, in any planning there is only so much that is within your own control however there is also that which isn’t.  This process is about looking at what is in your control and yet at the same time you can also think about how you might deal with things that aren’t, again how you respond is then back within your control.  So now is the time to take a helicopter view of all of your life and then zoom in on each aspect.  If we were to scale these aspects with a 10 being the highest score, again using your imagination focus in on 2013 and imagine what a 10 would look like for you in these various aspects.  What would you like to have achieved by the end of 2013?  What would you need to do differently for this to be achieved?  And then start setting your goals for 2013.  On your branches, be specific in answering the What? When? How? Why? (check if aligned with your values) and check your commitment, are you committed to this (100% will do or is this a “should”?), then take responsibility for. 

In 2012 there were a number of significant art prizes I wanted to enter and I am pleased to say that I did.  I had set my goals from the outset and then using my diary and tracking dates, worked towards them throughout the year.  However, in reviewing 2012 I also recalled that there was something I had hoped to achieve in 2012 which was in alignment with my values and yet which didn’t happen.  When I reflected on this I realised I was never fully committed to the idea and at the same time I still held a number of limiting beliefs which got in the way of this goal happening.  Coaches are also human!

5. Beliefs
Beliefs are definitely worth investigating when looking at the various aspects of your life and what you would like to achieve in your coming year.  Ask yourself “What are the beliefs you currently hold that may get in the way of you achieving what you would like to achieve?  And, is that limiting belief actually true?”  Now is the time to create new beliefs, new paradigms for yourself.  For example, until 13 years ago I had told myself “I can’t draw or paint”, however along with a number of events at the time, I happened to read a line in Betty Edwards classic book “Drawing on the Right Side of the brain” which read something like “If you have enough dexterity to sign your name, you can draw.”  Hmmm, well I could sign my name so the truth is I could potentially draw.  So I decided I would change my belief to, “I can possibly draw”, I allowed myself to make mistakes, to learn and the truth is I can actually draw.  What beliefs are holding you back?  Are they actually true?  What new belief would support you in going forward?

So allocate an hour or two in the next week or so, find yourself a comfortable place, grab a large notepad and some coloured pens, and sit back, close your eyes, and use some of your right brain skills in imagining yourself a year from now.  Where do you want to be?  What do you want to be doing?  What does your life look like?  Your career? Your relationships?  How do you see yourself being?  What would you like to hear yourself saying at the end of 2013?  And “Beginning with the end in mind”, Mind Map your 2013!

Remember, the key process in manifesting your life desires is first thinking about (and visualising) what it is you are wanting to achieve, and the second step is writing a plan to achieve it.  With your Mind Map you are now well on the way to making your thoughts your reality.

I wish you all the very best for 2013 and I now need to go and do my own Mind Map!

Cheers, Marion