The start of a new year is the perfect time to map out a new life of your own design — literally.
According to job strategist and former Google career coach Jenny Blake, the best way to create an effective plan of action for the New Year is by creating a "mind map": a visual diagram of goals, along with specific steps to take toward realizing them. Check out this video demonstrating the process.
The idea is to write out general areas of your life that you'd like to change in the coming year, such as "career" and "personal finances." Then draw spokes from each topic and identify specific actions you can take to improve these areas. For example, if you're aiming to land a new job in the coming year, off-shoot actions from "career" might include "attend two networking events per month," "update LinkedIn profile," or "complete certification courses." (For some inspiration on setting easily achievable financial goals for the year, check out our month-by-month savings guide.)
Designing your own "mind map" is a fun way to brainstorm ways to improve your life in the new year, placing more control of your destiny into your own hands. Plus, it's a unique alternative to the plain old list of New Year's resolutions. As Blake puts it: "The goal is to break out of linear thinking. Go broad. Go big. Go sideways, and then experiment to see which of your ideas is most likely to lead to a resonant next step."