When I was 25, I stumbled upon the idea of ‘a personal roadmap’ – a plan that captures what you want to achieve in terms of a timeline.
Having just started my family and career back then, I was intrigued by the notion. I immediately took out a piece of paper and started mapping out dreams and goals I had. The items were a mix of personal, financial and professional goals, such as: lose 5kg, advance my career (and raise my salary by x%), buy a house, get an MBA, etc. At this point, I didn’t know how to achieve the goals. I just plotted them out in the timeline using colors. After having finished my first roadmap, I put it in my folder.
And something amazing happened
About five years later I found a folded piece of paper with colorful scribbles on it. It was my roadmap! I opened it, and to my amazement, I have achieved all the things I wanted to do up to that point!
Later in life, I learned that what happened to me was the ‘power of visualization.' According to research using brain imagery , visualization works because neurons in our brains interpret imagery as equivalent to a real-life action. When we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to “perform” the movement. All of this occurs without actually performing the physical activity, yet it achieves a similar result. My personal roadmap visualized my goals and this primes my mind and body to act in a way consistent with what I imagined, even if I was not always putting physical efforts consciously.
Visualization is one of the methods that you can apply to design the life you love.
It doesn't have to be in a particular format, and it doesn't need to look beautiful.
These are some of examples of a personal roadmap.
The most important part of the design process is having a deep understanding of the user, in this case it is YOU. Before visualizing a life you love, take some time to think about yourself, your goals, motivations, and values.
You may ask, 'What is the difference between a personal roadmap and a bucket list?'
While the notion might be similar, a personal roadmap has more elements than a bucket list such as a timeline to achieve certain goals. Scheduling makes us far more likely to convert a goal into an action.
As I was writing this post, I took out a blank sheet of paper to draw my personal roadmap again. It certainly looked different from my very first roadmap, as the life got somewhat more complicated with more responsibility and different dreams. Certainly there will be unexpected life-changing events, which make it hard to stick to our initial plans. But the idea of visualization is to have a picture and adapt ourselves to the change with anticipation for a life we want to live.
What does your personal roadmap look like?
"Everything you can imagine is real." - Pablo Picasso
About Jin Zwicky
Jin is a Vice President in Group Customer Experience at OCBC Bank. She designs the banking experience by day, studies fashion / style by night. She carries her pink FRANK Credit Card wherever she goes.