A Jar of Minds

Collecting thoughts in a container

My Life in a Diagram

January 16, 2016 • English, Self Reflection

Today is the middle of January. All the hype and euforia of new year celebration has gone by now. Television and social media are no longer filled with “new year resolution” broadcasts. But you know that there is something more matter. Have you written down your own new year resolution?

Years after years it’s always been the same. Writing “new year, new me” stuffs and realizing the year after that so many things were not accomplished. Then another “I am commited this year” only to be dissapointed by the next year. Until I began lowering my expectations to the point of thinking “let’s not plan anything grand and just go with the flow.” And guess what happened? Surely as low as the expectation, so did the results. Underachieving and dissapointed. I learned it the hard way by a year that was “wasted”.

I know I am a dreamer. There are something big and meaningful goals to accomplish in life. Sometimes it is just too big that it seems impossible which wears me down. Sometimes there are too many that I am troubled to focus. But not doing anything is more frustrating because those goals become farther and so out of reach.

That’s why during past two years I have been keeping a list of what I want to accomplish in life, what I should do to reach those accomplishments, and refining it over and over again.

Until recently I found a better tool to keep track of it, by making life diagram. Kind of a flowchart. It helps me to breakdown a big, somewhat impossible, goal into a set of smaller goals. Then break those goals further into yet smaller goals. Those mini goals serves as milestones to let me know that I am progressing toward that big goal. Even more further, I take those milestones into action plans. It goes like this:

    This is just a simplified sample. My actual diagram is kind of messy.

This is just a simplified sample. My actual diagram is kind of messy.

Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with some of that milestones. I don’t know where to tie the string to. But it’s okay to leave it as is. As long as it is written, I know it is there. I can always go back to my diagram any time in my life to revise it. Even the connected graphs may get revised later with additions of milestones in between. Life is not perfect, it is a constant improvement.

To make sure they are not just an empty dreams, I rearrange those milestones into time groups. The timeline are divided to this year, +1, +5, +10 and so on. With this I could tell where I am at the moment, what I need to do, and why I am doing what I do.

Even if I jump over doing seemingly drastically unrelated activities, I could map how it relates to which goal. Like what is the relation between “get married” and “world tour”? Don’t be surprised. Even the “get married” node is related to “jogging” in my real diagram. Sometimes only I know the relationship between two nodes in the graph. But in case I forgot about it, the diagram helps me to recall.

Writing down life goals doesn’t always have to be done on new year. Therefore my “new year resolution” is not actually a new list of goals that I just write in a night. It’s actually a revision of the list I had since years ago, with added action plans.

Finally I could tie that dream far in the sky with a long long rope which I could hold. As high as a kite could fly, now I could roll the string round by round until I grab that kite. The wind may be strong, and the string may be rolling back, but I would never lose a grip to pull it back.