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Could goal mapping change how you interact with and pursue your goals?
Have you ever found yourself awake at 2am, playing a game when you know you should be sleeping? It’s just so addictive getting that rush of accomplishment, especially when you feel like your life isn’t moving forward at all.
I was playing the Sims recently (a life simulation game where you create digital people and build them homes, families, and careers), a common occurrence, when I made a somewhat disturbing realization. I was trying to optimize my Sims’ lives in ways that I wasn’t willing to do in my own. I was literally spending more time making sure this fictional person had a good life than I was spending on my own.
That’s when I had a thought. What would my life look like if I could capture that rush of accomplishment and motivation that I felt while playing this life simulation game?
What could you accomplish if you treated your life like a game? What if working towards your big dreams were as simple as beating the next level of Candy Crush?
Skeptical? I don’t blame you.
“Games are fun!” I know you’re shouting at me. “Working on my goals are decidedly not fun!” I’m not going to try and convince you otherwise, at least about the games being fun part. But what if you turned your goals into games?
Not going into game theory and other such topics like that, one of the main reasons you are able to willingly complete so much when playing video games is that they have clearly marked paths to specific rewards. You know exactly what you need to do to reach your goal. You might struggle a bit with the execution bit but, with persistence, you will eventually succeed at reaching that desired goal.
One of the hardest parts about reaching goals in the real world is that there are no clearly marked paths. You just sort of muddle along until you get it, or you give up. There is a better way. YOU can be the game maker of your own life and, with some research and planning, create a path for yourself to your goal. With goal mapping, you can literally turn your life into an adventure game.
Does Goal Mapping Add More Work in the Long Run?
“Woah girl,” I can hear you say already. “That sounds like a lot of work to plan and then I STILL have to work to reach my goals. Another round of Candy Crush sounds much more enjoyable.”
First of all, I’m not going to lie to you. Anything worth doing requires some work. Reaching that next level of your game might be more fun in the short term but you wouldn’t be reading this if you were happy with just playing Candy Crush for the rest of your life.
Second, by mapping out your goals like I’m about to show you, you will significantly reduce the amount of work and time you will need to accomplish your dreams and make it more likely that you will accomplish them in the long run. You’ll also give yourself the gift of a clearer vision and more motivation as you go along as well.
The 123’s of Goal Mapping
To help you with your mapping I’ve created a handy worksheet that you can use to follow along, (for free!) when you join my Adventure List.
Start with the rule of 3’s
Take your big goal and break it down into 3 chunks. Then, take those 3 chunks and break them down further into 3 chunks each. Keep doing this until you break down each one into its most basic steps.
The bigger your goal, the more times you will likely have to break down each chunk.
Set Limits on Your Timelines
Supercharge your motivation by setting a due date on your goal or a few of the goal chunks. When you have all the time in the world to complete something, it will take all the time in the world to complete. By narrowing your time to a few dedicated focused hours a week, and giving yourself a strict deadline of completion, you give your brain a boost to buckle down and really get things done.
Assign each step a reward
This is the most important take away from video game goal progression. Every time you complete a step in most games, you get something in return. It might be some physical reward, or it may just be an acknowledgment of your success. Both are valid and give you a sense of accomplishment needed for motivation.
These rewards are necessary for making what is often a long hard road more bearable and easier to manage.
Pro Tip: For even more impact, choose a reward that helps you go after the ultimate goal that you are trying to achieve. For example, a new pair of running shoes after you stick to running every day for a month or presenting your writing to a high performing writer’s circle after you successfully complete NaNoWriMo.
These things will help you more in the long run than unrelated rewards or rewards that are directly detrimental to your goals. (I’m looking at you, cake reward for sticking to my diet…)
It seems as though every game is moving towards a more social model with leaderboards, achievements being broadcast to your friends list, and “gifts” being encouraged to be sent between friends for power-ups or other advantages.
Take this concept into your goal planning as well. Tell your family and friends about what you are trying to accomplish and that you want to include them in your reward structure. Celebrating with friends when you accomplish an important step in your goal map is a great boost to motivating you to push on to the next step.
Telling people about your goal is also a way to help hold you to those goals. It’s easier to convince yourself to do the hard thing when other people expect you to follow through with it.
You Have the Ability to Turn Your Life into a Game
You have the ability to accomplish anything you put your mind towards. It shows in your motivation and determination to finish just one more level before bed. With goal planning, you can apply that same motivation and determination to your LIFE.
With goal mapping, all you have to do is break down your goals into pieces, give those pieces due dates and rewards, tell your friends and family about what you want to do, and then start working your way through those pieces. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.
It’s time to level up your life and accomplish the things you really want to accomplish. You can do this!