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Are your 2024 goals lagging? Time to try a Personal Strategy Map By Reuters

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By Chris Taylor

NEW YORK (Reuters) – It is April and the first quarter of 2024 is behind us, so there is a good chance your well-intentioned resolutions for life and money are failing.

Which means it is a great time to try a Personal Strategy Map.

The brainchild of Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar, the “PSM” is something she draws up every year on her birthday.

“A Personal Strategy Map can help you make the big choices in life,” says Iyengar, author of the book “Think Bigger.”

“You want to be strategic about choice, because it is the only thing you have that enables you to create the person you want to be in future,” she says.

Why we should pay particular attention to this method: Iyengar, who is blind, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the psychology and power of choice.

The idea that when people have way too many options – a huge number of mutual funds in their 401(k) retirement plans, for example – they tend to get paralyzed and end up choosing poorly or doing nothing? That derives from her research.

Instead, a smaller number of curated choices is what can get people focused and motivated to take action – and that is where the Personal Strategy Map can come into play.

HOW TO DO IT

First, do a thorough review of the previous year – an evaluation of what worked and what did not. Think of it as a performance review.

Next, turn off your devices and get out a piece of paper or a whiteboard.

“The act of writing it down helps you to be focused,” Iyengar says.

Then jot down everything that you would like to see happen in the next year, whether related to your finances, relationships, work achievements or personal development. This might produce a list of 15 to 20 items.

“I have a huge amount of things that I wish I could do in the next year,” Iyengar says. “Like learn how to swim better, or do Pilates, or learn how to draw, or spend more time with my mother. I can come up with a big list of things that I care about.”

That is why the next step is so important: Cut the list down. You cannot make progress on every possible front, since there is a limited amount of time in the day.

Narrow your goals down to approximately five to seven “buckets” to focus your energy and make real progress.

To do so, create three different columns. In the left-hand column, write down the subject you are passionate about. In the right-hand column, write down what success in that area looks like.

Then comes the most crucial column, the…

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