Do not just plan or visualize your goals in your head…

Kati Orav
6 min readJan 21, 2021


… and do not just write them down in linear text. Take the pen and paper and DRAW the real map of how to get there. It is like driving by car to somewhere for the very first time. You don't know the place, you just know the address. What do you do? In old times we used to have real maps, so it was easier to have someone sitting next to you and telling you what turn to take next, where to turn left or right, and so on. Today you can just have your smartphone (as it has sadly started to replace a real person most of the time…), you open some navigation app, type the address and start driving with the nice voice telling you how to go. You can choose to see the roadmap or you can see the description of how to drive. I bet that 99% if not 100% of people choose the roadmap. Because then you can really see the map, not just words. And, as a driver, you can see the map on a phone in seconds. Can you imagine the driver starting to read those descriptions and not watching the real road?

As a trainer and speaker, I often give this example to people to show that graphic facilitation is not just for those who have a visual learning style. We all want to see the big picture. Learning style is mostly used for memory and recalling things later. But using pen and paper as a thinking tool is for seeing patterns, synthesizing and connecting ideas, coming out with new solutions, seeing what is unseen, and so on. But, let's leave this for the next time. Today, cos it is the beginning of a year and everybody is urged to set the goals, I want to write about drawing the roadmaps for your goals. Of course, it resonates with the previous that by drawing out our plans towards goals we can see the patterns, be more creative, etc which are all very important in order to really act on your plan.

There was a story. The second-year grade teacher set goals with her students, to teach them goal setting. Every Monday they set a goal that they wanted to achieve by Friday. Every student wrote it down to his/ her diary, just as a sentence. One day the teacher got to know about graphic facilitation and how to create visual roadmaps for learning, planning, and cooperation. She decided to start setting the weekly goals in visual form and teach it to her students. She showed them that Monday is the starting point on the left and Friday is a finishing line up on the right- the goal to achieve. And one student suddenly shouted: “So, this is a goal setting? Now I finally understand it!”

Have you understood it? No need to be ashamed if not. Cos you are not alone. I can bet that a lot of goals, even if they are set properly, right from a book or coach, are not achieved cos we can't really see them. So we may as well not understand them. Nether we can not see the road to get there. And, here is another reason to draw your goal setting map: it is much nicer and motivating to hang on a wall to see every day. I believe, there has been a study to show that people who put their goals in a visible place are better at achieving them. Not to mention the researches that show how important it is to write down your goals.

So, how to do this visible goal setting? Here are some tips:
1. Use simple shapes- frames, talking bubbles, signs, arrows in order to systemize your plan.
2. Use the roadmap as a metaphor cos it is easiest to draw with those shapes.
3. Use short sentences or key-words instead of long sentences.
4. You can try to use some symbols but if this is too much drawing then let it be. But if you are up to grow your drawing skills, then here is a little key: write down all the symbols you would like to draw, then open Google and search for the easy symbols of those words. And just copy them to your notebook. With pen and your own hand of course. You are welcome to find your own style but this can come later if you have been practicing more. And anyway- like our handwriting is unique, our drawing style is unique too! Then draw those symbols from the notebook to your goal-setting roadmap. Easy, right! We have learned everything by coping, so it is time to learn drawing for thinking by coping too.

If you don't know how to draw signs, talking bubbles or arrows then copy them too :) And feel free to use some ready-made templates if it makes you more comfortable. My experiences show that using those templates several times will lead us to start drawing our own. So, to make it all easier for you and also to illustrate what I just wrote about, I have a template to share. Of course- it is the goal-setting roadmap :) You can see here everything I wrote about and by filling it, you start seeing how to achieve everything you DESIRE.

BUT just when you thought it is over…. THIS IS NOT ALL :)
As I love digging deep, making meaningful things, and growing as a person and professional, I couldn't do just a regular template. I wanted to draw it out in a way that really supports goal setting. The template is inspired by a blog post that I recently read. This is from Jim Kwik's KWIK learning blog, written by Julia Ravey. They are both people who I admire and follow. Jim is a widely recognized world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance, and accelerated learning. Julia is a Neuroscience Ph.D. student from London and with her own words from her Youtube channel- she is a brain expert sharing neuroscience research & productivity tips so you can maximize your own mind.

The model Julia is offering is not actually just a goal-setting plan. She writes: Instead of focusing on the outcomes, shifting your attention to the measurable actions which can be done consistently allow you to take strides towards your desired end-state /…/Actions speak louder than words — so put the wheels in motion and get started with your new schedule today!”

I really recommend you to read the article first or read it along with my roadmap in order to understand it deeply. The visual guides you to write things down separately but also shows the connection and action towards your goal. There are 2 versions:
1. A manual and template in one visual.
2. Template with less guidance and more empty space to fill.

You can find the printable versions here. Print out the one you like or you can always draw the template with your own hand.

Feel free to share the blogpost and roadmap with others, and of course- share the feedback with me on how the visual works.

PS. You can find the post and visuals in Estonian language here.



Kati Orav

I encourage people to dream bigger and be more creative and entrepreneurial. For that, I teach them how to use the Magic of an Imperfect Line.