One of the mechanisms the mind uses to order the huge amounts of data that flow in daily and keep it manageable is called a “preparative set.” It helps your brain to focus on items that are considered important. You can “program” that mechanism by writing down the things you want to achieve and making them clear. Once programmed, it directs your attention to certain events and occurrences. To illustrate: when you decide you want a certain thing because you see them everywhere, you look at every one on the highway, you see every ad or commercial. The prep set works that way. Once you program it with your goals (visualizing as well as writing is more effective), you’ll automatically become more aware of certain events, opportunities, and people who might be helpful. You will also be more clear about what you want, and this will creep into your conversation and general attitude where others can pick up on it. It’s not really magic, unless you believe, as I do, that the mind is a miracle in itself.

For example, to make it easier to fit easy exercise into your life, write down your goal (I’ll walk an extra half hour a day) and imagine walking and enjoying it: maybe you can imagine parking a few blocks away (where it’s cheapest) and walk the rest of the way, or get off the bus or subway one stop early, or walk to that nearby restaurant for lunch, or take the stairs instead of the elevator when you can, or take a snack to a nearby park, or walk the dog to walk a little more than usual before and after work. If you picture yourself walking and enjoying it, you’ll soon find that you’re noticing new and different ways to walk more without stressing about it.

As soon as you have a goal, you can make a “road map” for yourself.

Creating a visual representation of what you want to achieve can do several things: First, the creation process will force you to be more specific and clear about what you want. Second, taking the time and energy to create it is a powerful sign to you that you are serious about achieving it. Set an intention. Third, if you keep it where you can see it, it will be a powerful reminder of your intentions for your own life.

Your visual road map consists of two parts: 1) a picture of your destination and 2) your map of how to get there.

Roadmap Exercise 1: Imagine Your Destination

This is a visual representation of your ideal life, and you’ll use it for years to come to remind and motivate yourself, so treat it like the important project it is. When you look at your finished image, you should be able to see each of your goals clearly represented.


1. Gather the materials you need to make a collage you can write on: a large sheet of paper and colored markers, pens, paints, pastels, or other art supplies; several magazines full of photos and ads that you can cut out, paste or paste, and several photos of you and other people in your life. If you like to draw, you might want to dispense with the pictures in magazines and draw your own. If you’re a computer whiz, computer art might be the way to do this. You can also add solid objects, pieces of cloth or jewelry, tokens, and keepsakes that are meaningful to you. Keep in mind that colorful, graphic images are powerful subconscious stimulants, and the goal of this exercise is to help you subconsciously focus on your goals and dreams.

2. Divide your work into sections that represent your personal life, your business or career, your family life, your friends, and your free time.

3. Title each section and think about what, if you designed your own life, you would like to create in that section.

4. Begin with the personal life section and think about what activities represent the private and personal part of your life, including the images that symbolize it. Start with a photo of yourself as you are, or as you would like to be (in a prom dress, wedding dress, slimmer, successful, you can stick a small picture of your head or face to a magazine photo if you like). Are there hobbies or talents that are important to you? What kinds of images make you feel good about yourself? What symbols would you use to represent yourself? What do you want to use to represent your physical health? Your happiness? Your determination? Choose one or two images to represent the various ways you identify: hobbies, spirituality, relaxation, exercise, work, parenting, fun.

5. Now find images of specific items or goals that would complete the personal section of your roadmap, such as: your home, car, clothing, travel, pets, personal growth goals, and any other significant factors that represent your personal . life.

6. Arrange these images in the personal section of your collage in a way that works best for you, or draw representations of the items that are important to you. Make sure the image you’ve chosen of yourself is front and center in this personal section. Arrange, rearrange and adjust your collection of images until the end result pleases you.

7. Now fill in the other sections of your result image in a similar fashion. Each section will likely include some repeat items from the personal section because you will be personally involved in each category. Use an image of your idealized self prominently in each section; Create a different version of your idealized self for each section, or use black and white or color photocopies of your original in each section.

When you’ve fixed your photo, take a step back and take a look to see if it reflects your ideal life. If not, play with him some more. If so, paste things or save them, and place the collage where you can see it often. This image need only represent your future as you think it should currently be; You can modify your image, add to it, or create a new one as your goals grow and change.

Roadmap Exercise 2: Building Your Roadmap

Once you spend the time and energy to imagine your destiny, you’ll find that by focusing on the details and details, you’ve cleared up your image. Most people who have gone through this process in workshops and classes report feeling highly motivated, much clearer, and energized by their vision. Take that energy and use it now to create your roadmap; an action plan to reach your destination.

1. Use a separate sheet of paper or artboard and title the left side of the roadmap “Where I Am Now.” Place enough symbols, words, or numbers to indicate where you are now in all of the areas outlined in your destination image.

2. Title the right side of the paper or artboard “My Destiny” and arrange similar symbols, words, or numbers to indicate where you will be when you reach your goals.

3. Divide the space in between into columns and, in those columns, develop the steps you will need to take to get from where you are now to your destination. For example: in the workplace, the steps might be 1) graduating from school, 2) looking for a job, 3) developing professional skills, experience and knowledge, and 4) moving up the career ladder. (Each of these steps can be broken down into smaller steps, as you get closer to that segment of the roadmap and need to achieve specific goals.)

Use your roadmap daily

After completing your destination image and road map, use it daily to stay focused on your goals and keep you motivated. Keep them where you can review them often, and change and update them as needed. You will find that having a clear picture of your goals and aspirations in front of you will make it much easier to achieve them.

All your decisions from now on can be made in relation to your roadmap. If you consider each of your subsequent decisions according to whether or not it will bring you closer to your goal, your choices will become clearer and more direct.

Using your destiny image and road map to set your priorities and keep you focused will help keep all the important areas of your life in balance and help shape your future. Knowing where you want to go and how to get there will minimize your tendencies to worry and reduce your indecision and confusion.

© 2020 Tina B. Tessina – adapted from: The 10 Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make Before 40

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