Setting goals with a Mandala Chart

Reading time: about 6 min


  • Organization and evaluation
  • Ideation

Shohei Ohtani is a professional baseball player from Japan. He is an accomplished “two-way player” (a player who excels on offense and defense). When he was a sophomore at Hanamaki Higashi High School, he set a goal to become Japan’s premier baseball prospect by the time he graduated.

To achieve his goal, Ohtani embraced the Harada Method—a framework that helps you to achieve self-reliance and continuous improvement. The Harada Method was developed by Takashi Harada, a former middle school physical education teacher in Osaka, Japan. It’s based on teaching methods he observed on a trip to Finland, where education focused more on visualizing your future and setting goals to achieve it rather than memorization and taking tests.

You might be wondering why we’re talking about a Japanese baseball player and the Harada Method to start our post about Mandala Charts. Basically, both methods share the following similarities:

  • They emphasize goal-setting and self-improvement.

  • They encourage self-reflection and personal responsibility.

  • They provide structured frameworks for achieving goals.

The differences between the Harada Method and a Mandala Chart include:

  • Harada focuses primarily on self-reliance and skill mastery, while Mandala focuses on holistic life balance, creativity, and time management.

  • Harada uses multiple templates and self-assessment forms, while Mandala uses a visual chart to set and track goals.

The charts that Ohtani made to visualize and track his goals were more similar to Mandala Charts than the forms and templates used in the Harada Method. He may have used the Harada Method to set his goals, but he basically used a Mandala Chart to determine what he needed to do to achieve them.

And where is Shohei Ohtani today? In December 2023, he signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he will play as a pitcher and a designated hitter.

What is a Mandala Chart?

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning “circle”. Mandalas are geometric designs or patterns that radiate outward (typically in concentric circles) from a central point. For thousands of years, mandalas have been used by various Eastern religions as a means for focusing on spiritual journeys, meditation, achieving inner peace, and gaining spiritual enlightenment. 

In 1979, Yasuo Matsumura adapted mandalas to focus on business and personal life. The result was the Mandala Chart, a tool for personal and professional development, time management, and setting goals.

A Mandala Chart is a 3x3 frame, based on traditional mandala diagrams, with a central theme (a goal, a project, a problem you want to solve, etc.). Around the central theme are eight sections that represent a different aspect of life or work. What is included in each section will vary depending on individual preferences and goals. These sections sometimes include categories like physical health, mental health, relationships, personal growth, work, technical skills, and leisure.

Within each section, you can set specific goals, action plans, and tasks that will help you visualize your priorities and commitments to remain focused on what you want to achieve in the central theme. 

For example, to become Japan’s premier baseball prospect by the time he graduated, Ohtani didn’t just list baseball skills he wanted to improve. He also added things that would make him a well-rounded, healthy person, like being caring and well-mannered, reading more books, thinking positively, and keeping his room clean.

What are the benefits of using a Mandala Chart?

Because it is a visual tool, the Mandala Chart gives you a complete picture of a goal or problem you want to solve without losing sight of the details. It is a powerful brainstorming, goal-setting, and planning tool that offers several advantages:

  • Clarity and focus: Putting your goals and priorities into the different sections of the chart gives you clarity and helps you to focus on what you want to achieve. This can help you make better decisions about how and where to allocate time and energy to reach your goals.

  • Efficiency and speed: A Mandala Chart's structured framework helps you to set goals more quickly and efficiently. You can easily use a template to break down the central theme into smaller, actionable steps in the surrounding sections. This helps you focus more on the content as you create a roadmap for achieving your goals.

  • Visualization and motivation: Because your ideas are organized visually, it ensures that crucial points are not overlooked. Seeing your goals and action items in a visual format not only helps to keep you focused but can motivate you to work toward your ultimate goal.

  • Flexibility and adaptability: A Mandala Chart is a living document. You can easily adjust and adapt to evolving priorities as you work toward your goal.

  • Balance and creativity: You can add professional items to a Mandala Chart and aspects of life outside your work. Dividing the sections into things like health, relationships, and personal growth helps you to balance your efforts and give attention to each area. This can help to prevent burnout while helping with your overall well-being.

  • Self-reflection and growth: Because a Mandala Chart is a living document, you must review it often as you reflect on your progress. This helps you to identify areas that need to be improved. Self-reflection helps you to adapt, improve, and grow over time continuously.

How to make a Mandala Chart

You can easily create a Mandala Chart using a pen and paper or a digital canvas like Lucidspark.

Step 1: Draw the chart

First, you’ll need to create your chart. Simply draw a circle or box in the middle of your canvas. Then draw eight circles or boxes around the center. This gives you a simple 3x3 grid to work with.

Step 2: Identify a goal or theme

In the center section, write the goal, theme, problem, or idea you want to explore with your Mandala Chart.

Step 3: Define categories

Identify the main categories or aspects of your life that will help you to focus on achieving the central theme. These can be anything you believe will help you, like work, hobbies, finances, relationships, etc. Write one category name within each section surrounding the central theme.

Step 4: Set goals

Within each section, add goals, tasks, action plans—anything you believe you need to do to achieve your central goal. Be sure to include specific actions you’ll take and deadlines or timelines for completion.

Step 5: Color and design

In this optional step, you can add color and design elements to make it more visually appealing, easier to navigate, and easier to understand. Use colors, illustrations, or patterns to help you quickly identify the different sections of your Mandala Chart.

Step 6: Share and collaborate

Having other sets of eyes look at your documents is always a good idea. We often become so familiar with what we are working on that we overlook missing elements, incomplete thoughts, and typos. Ask for feedback to help create a stronger and more useful chart.

Step 7: Review and update

Review your chart often to make sure you are on the right track. If priorities or circumstances change, adjust and update as needed to reach your overall goal. Your Mandala Chart should evolve as you grow and develop in your professional and private life.

Whether you draw with pen and paper, a digital canvas, or simply modify an existing template, a Mandala Chart is a great tool that will help you find focus, clarity, and balance in your life.

Explore hundreds of Lucidspark templates for every project and use case.

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About Lucidspark

Lucidspark, a cloud-based virtual whiteboard, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This cutting-edge digital canvas brings teams together to brainstorm, collaborate, and consolidate collective thinking into actionable next steps—all in real time. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit

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