Mr BAM and I have always been good at forward thinking. Looking at where we want our lives to go and how we plan on getting there. Things don’t always go to plan, but at least we try! And sometimes things not going to plan is not always a bad thing. As a couple that ran a business together, we made a regular thing of planning out business goals from year to year. Now that each of us in on separate career paths, we don’t plan out the business instead we map out our happiness.
There is something about writing goals and aspirations down. First, it clears my head and second it makes dreams seem like they just might come true.
There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
– Douglas Everett
At the beginning of the year we created a mindmap of what we wanted to turn into reality for our family. Like a business plan or mindmap, it has been a living document. As our family grows and changes, so does the mindmap. It’s been a great reminder of what is really important to us, as the heads of the family. We know that when we did this, we took the time to shut off the phones and computers and just let our minds flow to our family’s happiest place, so when Mr BAM has had a hard day at work, when Little Miss is teething or Mr P is copping his little 5 year old attitude, we can go back to this mindmap. This map is irrelevant of all outside influences, of all bad days, it is the core of what we want for our family – it’s our map to happiness.
We’ve pinned it to the inside of our main closet. We’d have it somewhere a little more visible, but at the end of the day we don’t really want to share it with everyone who enters our home. It is still accessible, as we are in and out of this closet a few times a day. When life is kicking my butt, I take a deep breath, open the door and look at the mindmap. It’s nice to see what we’ve accomplished so far, and nice to see how things have changed and to see the aspirations we have for our kids. If our kids were older, we’d probably have them help us with this exercise. It would be nice to get their thoughts down on paper to.
How to Create Your Family’s Mindmap to Happiness
There are no rules to mindmapping. The only thing you need is a large piece of paper and some markers.
What’s your family name? We are the VanderBlairs, a mish mash of both of our names. Write it in the middle of a large piece of paper then create strands or branches for each member of the family. Depending on how visual you are and creative you are felling, you might want to represent each person with a little stick person…just writing their name is fine too
Branches, branches and more branches rooted in the family. Start to think about what you want for the family, what will make each individual happy and how each person’s happiness intersects. We have branches for milestones like Mr P starting kindergarten and Little Miss turning 1. Let your mind flow from thought to thought, don’t worry about it being perfect.
Make it colorific. Use colors and arrows and whatever other symbols you need to emphasize the importance of EVERYTHING on the mindmap. Nothing is stupid, no idea or thought. If it comes to mind, write it down.
Logically, people plan for the future of their family’s finances, making sure there is enough for college and retirement. Happiness comes in different forms and when least expected, but even a little planning can help it along.