Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Life Map - Book Review

On November 6, a new book called My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future is coming out from Gotham Books. Have you ever heard of a life map? I had no idea what a life map was until I got the press release for this book. According to the authors of this book, Kate and David Marshall, the purpose of life mapping is to help you live with intention and purpose. No matter what your age, you probably have certain dreams and goals. And mapping them out can help you visualize them. Life mapping also increases the chances that you will achieve your future goals.

The book gives examples of Whole Life Maps for people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 60s. These just go to show that you can literally start a life map no matter how old you are or where you are on your life journey. Reading through these examples will definitely help you craft your own life map. As I was doing mine, I kept looking back through the examples for ideas and guidance.

Aside from the Whole Life Map, there are several other life maps within this book. There are 10-year subject maps for Family, Friends, Learning, Work, Service, and Playing; and a 10-year Map covering all of those subjects. The Whole Life Map starts from your birth to your death. (I didn't put down a death date. I thought it was kind of weird to "plan" at what age I would die.) I completed all of the maps, but you don't have to. The Marshalls recommend starting with whatever map you think would be most beneficial to you. Different people prefer different maps. I did them all just to see what it was like and so I could thoroughly go through the book. I found the Whole Life Map to be more difficult to complete than the 10-year Map. It was easier for me to visualize where I want to be by the time I'm 39 than it was to visualize what I'd be doing at 79.

My Life Map asks you questions and gives you space to answer within the book, although you can also write your answers in a separate notebook if you need more space. The questions are designed to get you thinking about your past, present, and future so that it's easier for you to fill out the maps. They do get you thinking, but some of the questions I just ignored because they didn't pertain to me. I guess that's okay, because I was still able to fill out my maps. The whole thing seems like an activity that you tailor to meet your own needs, which is great!

After you finish filling out your maps, the last section of the book encourages you to move forward in reaching the goals you wrote down in your life map. The authors want you to commit to three to five SMART goals for the next year. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. I wrote down a few for me to do, so I'll see how well it goes, if I can complete them and if they help me achieve any of my future goals.

I feel like this might be something that would be easier or more helpful to do with a therapist or counselor, but if you don't have the time or money to do that, then My Life Map would be a good alternative.

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