“Create the highest, grandest vision possible of your life, because you become what you believe.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
Over the holidays, I thought it would be fun to create a vision board. While I generally consider myself a visual person, I’ve only ever written out my dreams and goals in my journal. While this is a valuable process, my dreams and goals often become buried in my notebook, so “out of sight out of mind”. I’ve been wanting to create a vision board since last year after I saw my sisters’ vision board in her home office. A vision board is a powerful tool that offers you a unique and fun way to start the year with a visual roadmap that connects you to your purpose and inspires you to go after your dreams and goals in any or all areas of your life.
Visualization is a powerful tool and science explains how it can be used to help achieve your goals and drive success. It can help you create a happy, energized, and fulfilled life, so you shift from autopilot to living with greater intention, and achieve your goals faster. Neuroscience has shown that visualization helps improve clarity, increase your performance and create new neural pathways so you can start building your ideal life. Creating a future vision for your life is one thing that we can all do. All it takes is your imagination, something that we all still have control over. If nothing else, dreaming about our dream life can be a fun escape without leaving the comfort of our couch.
Visualizing exercises will be easier for you if your brain is dominant in the upper, right rational quadrant of your brain. This part of our brain is used for visualizing, conceptualizing, synthesizing, imagining, and creating our self-image. If this is your dominant brain, then you’ll likely find this exercise feels more natural. However, if your brain is dominant in one of the other three areas: Lower right emotional brain; Upper left rational brain; Lower left emotional brain, then you may find it helpful to seek guidance from someone who can help you come up with your life vision. If you’re curious about what part of your brain is dominant and how your unique brain is organized, I recommend you complete the SSPS assessment.
What is a vision board?
A vision board is a poster that has several different pictures, words or quotes that signify what you would like to have or do in your life. It creates a visual representation of the life that you want to live. You can create it digitally or manually, and include goals relating to all or some of the following life areas:
- business, career or desired job;
- ideal health, wellness and fitness;
- a new home or changes to your existing home; a dream vacation;
- ideal lifestyle and social life;
- desired love, relationships, friendships and family;
- areas of personal growth, learning or school;
- community and social contribution;
- financial, wealth and charity goals;
- recreation, hobbies and activities.
8 Steps to create your vision board
Bring your dreams and goals to life by creating your own vision/dream board, a visual representation of the life that you want to live, in either a manual or digital format.
- Start with your vision. If there were no limits, what would your ideal future look like? Brainstorm what you want for yourself in the different life categories of your life. What would you do or experience if you believed there were no limits to what you might do? Determine your key priorities that are the most important to your happiness. Uncover your purpose, passions, strengths, and core values. What excites and energizes you? Pay attention to those annoying automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) that will make you downplay your dreams, such as “that’ll never happen” “I don’t deserve it” or any other ANTS. Also, consider what depletes your energy and how you can avoid them. Take stock of your current situation including health, relationships, career, learning and education, charity, community, and environment, and holiday and fun. A reverse bucket list is also useful in establishing the direction of your ideal life.
- Do a visualization meditation of your future self. Visualization meditation is a powerful tool that lets you take the first step in laying down new neural pathways for the life you dream about. Clarity on where you want to end up will provide you direction to start building goals, priorities, and actions so you can move your life in a direction that you want and deserve.
- Establish what life categories you plan to focus on. You may want to represent all of them or just a few main areas in your life. Complete the Wheel of Life to help you with questions to ask yourself. Contact me if you would like a copy of my Wheel of Life worksheets. Consider the timeframe of your goals. Will your vision board reflect your goals for the upcoming year or for your life? You could decide to create a separate board for specific areas in your life, such as health and fitness or travel, etc. For example, I chose to create a vision board with many images that mainly reflect a few of my top goals for the next year or so. My sisters’ vision board reflected the main life categories represented by one image each. There isn’t a right or wrong. It’s your life, your dreams, your vision, and your project so have fun with it and do whatever makes sense for you.
- Create S.M.A.R.T. goals to keep you on track. This is highly recommended, but not essential. Establishing and writing down your specific goals that align with your vision and purpose will keep you on track, create clarity, and move you towards your dream faster. Identify your strengths, your core values, and aligning your goals to your purpose (your why), will keep you energized, motivated and help you overcome procrastination. Create goals that energize and motivate you.
- Find images to reflect your dreams and goals. Go through magazines or other print materials and cut out pictures or images that relate to your dream life and/or goals. Alternatively, you can create a digital image file that includes images you found on Pinterest, Google images, online free photos, etc. Once printed, then cut them out and place them on this board. I used Pinterest and created a vision board page, then pinned images in all of the life areas that I want to focus on. I then selected only the ones that inspired me, moved them to a word document, and printed them.
- Gather your vision board supplies. You’ll likely need a poster board if you plan on creating a physical board. There are a few different sizes available so consider your location that you plan on displaying/hanging it, or the number of life categories you want to represent. You may also want coloured paper, stickers, and other supplies if you plan to embellish your vision board. Alternatively, you can keep it super simple. It’s your board so create whatever inspires you.
- Print, cut and group your images. Print, then cut out your images. Then lay them out on your board. You may want to create category headings, either handwritten or printed out. Once you’re happy with your layout, you can glue them into place. The process of manually organizing, cutting, and sticking also reinforces your dreams and goals.
- Alternatively, get an app for your phone or tablet and create a digital vision board. If you can’t be bothered to cut and paste on a board, there are quite a few apps to choose from. You could also create a vision board slide show of your images on your iPhone.
- Select an area in your home or office to display your personal board. Choose a spot that you ideally see several times a day so you can manifest your dreams by imprinting the images on your subconscious mind. Mine is in my home office. Every time you look at your vision board your mind sees images of your dreams or goals without evaluating whether or not you can have them. They can be a motivator or trigger action.
- Update your vision board images, if necessary. Continuously looking at your board and frequently updating or tweaking the images if a change is necessary. Your vision board isn’t static or set in stone, so you may want to add fresh images to maintain your motivation. Keep looking at your board and take action as the ideas come to you.
“All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~ Walt Disney
It’s important to remember that to make our dreams come true, we must take action! We can’t just simply look at our board and expect our dream life to appear ;). That said, frequently looking at our board stimulates our desire to take action and move us to do the thing or activity we dream of or have the thing or item that we desire. It prompts us to ask ourselves “what can I do or what step can I take to make this dream come true”? Our dreams remain front and center, spurring us into action, whether big or small, again, and again towards the achievement of our dreams.
I believe vision boards really work and aren’t just a collection of pretty pictures. Already my vision board has inspired me into action towards my goals and dreams. Vision boards feed our imagination, encourage us to dream, and fill us with excitement and momentum to take action to make our dreams into a reality. A vision board is a fun tool that will help you to go after your goals in a faster and unique way. So, get started designing your dream life!
Now, it’s your turn.
Have you ever created a vision board? Are you inspired to create one now? Share your tips, ideas, or your experience in the comments.