Treasure Mapping

Visualizing Your Goal for Greater Achievement

Treasure Mapping - Visualizing Your Goal for Greater Achievement

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Make a picture of what you want.

When you really want to achieve something, have you ever tried closing your eyes and imagining yourself "there"? You touch it, feel it and see it clearly. You scan every detail in your mind's eye.

This is a powerful and important technique for motivating yourself and building the self-confidence needed to achieve your goals. Yet when you open your eyes, the vivid image starts to fade, and it can take real concentration to recreate your visualization each time you want some inspiration.

What if you could keep hold of that vivid image and refer to it when ever you need a little motivation, or a reminder of what you are working toward? Treasure Mapping* is a simple tool to help you do just that. Visualization itself is a very powerful technique. And Treasure Mapping can be the icing on the visualization cake!

It’s a very simple but effective idea: Treasure Mapping involves creating a physical representation or collage of what you want to achieve. It acts as a constant reminder and representation of your goals. And so it intensifies the effects of visualization, which acts on your subconscious mind to motivate and encourage you toward achieving those goals.

Let’s say you have the ambition to get fitter and run a marathon: your “treasure map” could include pictures of runners, people crossing the marathon finishing line, and athletes training hard. It could also include pictures of the foods that you need to eat (and those you need to avoid).

If you are a salesperson with the ambition to beat sales records in your company, your treasure map could include a representation of the sales chart you hope to achieve, pictures of people signing deals with customers, pictures of your product standing proud; and maybe a picture of someone winning a prize.

Using the Tool

Your treasure map will represent how you visualize the achievement of your goals and your journey toward that achievement.

The first step toward creating your treasure map is to clarify your goals and then visualize what will happen, or what you will have, once you have achieved the goal. (For further help on clarifying your goals, see our article on goal setting.)

Once you are clear about what you want to achieve, write it down in detail and start to visualize your achievement. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What will I see when I have achieved my goal? 
  • What will I have? What will I be?
  • How will I celebrate the achievement?
  • How will other people see me and what I have achieved?

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Now enjoy collecting images that represent this visualization and arrange these images on paper as a collage. These images of the ultimate achievement go in the most prominent position on your treasure map – at the top or in the center.

The next step is to visualize the journey toward achieving your goals. What will you have to do? What will you have to stop doing to achieve your goals? There may be important milestones or necessary sacrifices to achieving your goals. Visualize these, too, and find images that represent them. 

Finally, paste the pictures of your goals, your journey toward them, and the sacrifices you need to make on your collage. Make sure you arrange them in a way that helps imprint upon you the desire to achieve your goals.

Hang your chart in a prominent place so that you see it daily: it will help to motivate and inspire you toward achieving your goals.

Key Points

Treasure mapping helps bring your goals to life and gives you a clear image of what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it.

First, clarify your goals and what you need to do to achieve them. Then visualize these goals and actions. Choose images to represent how you see your achievement and make a collage. Use the collage as a constant reminder of what you want to achieve.

*Original source unknown. Please let us know if you know the original source.

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Comments (12)
  • Over a month ago Michele wrote
    Hi khanjanl,

    I really like treasure mapping too. Many of us are highly visual and going through the experience of creating a picture of our goals and the path to achieve them inspires us to reach the final destination.

    Mind Tools Team
  • Over a month ago khanjanl wrote
    Treasure Mapping - what a great idea! This is the first time I heard about this tool/technique of creating a physical visualization. I'm definitely going to try this out
  • Over a month ago Michele wrote
    Hi Bosede,

    What I have discovered is when you visualize something, it becomes more real and achievable. Making the map unleashes your creativity and is fun to do all making the experience of dreaming your future a positive one.

    Mind Tools Team
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