Do you know what a vision board is or what you could use it for? Maybe you’ve heard of them but don’t know what they can do for you. Try this.
Imagine that your wildest dreams are coming true.
Look deep into your mind’s eye and see that dream taking shape. See yourself doing the actions that bring your dream into reality. Imagine the feelings. Let them well up and explode into your mind, like shooting stars across a night sky.
It’s a powerful moment when you can see your dreams, when you can visualize the life that you want for yourself and your family coming true.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a reminder of that dream and those feelings to look at every day, to remind you where you want to get to and what you want to achieve?
What if you could capture those feelings and dreams? Wouldn’t it help to start working towards living your dream now?
Well that’s what a vision board can do for you. Want to know how?
Let’s start at the beginning.
What is a vision board?
A vision board is a snapshot of the picture of the dreams and desires that you hold in your head. Using pictures, photos, words and illustrations. you fashion them into a collage on your board: a visual embodiment of your dreams, desires or ideal life-style.
Your vision board not only embodies your dream, but acts as a prompt to your brain (especially your sub-conscious) to achieve that dream you have so lovingly crafted.
Is a vision board the same as a goal setting board?
Some people say that vision boards and goal boards are the same thing. Others disagree and say they are different: because a vision is an end result whereas the goals are like objectives or milestones along the road to achieving the vision.
Sometimes your vision only relates to one aspect of your life: eg being successful in your career or owning your own house. A purist might say that’s a goal because once you’ve achieved it, it enables you to live the life you dream of – ie live in a house that you own.
To me, it illustrates how you can use vision boards to dream dreams or set goals for yourself wherever and however you want to. It doesn’t matter whether it’s all encompassing or only to achieve a specific goal in one aspect of your life.
You can set the big picture or you may find It’s much easier to work towards one aspect at a time. You can have more than one board: you might prefer to create a goal board for each separate part of your life which all adds up to that life you dream of.
Take a look at how this vision board worked for Catherine
Catherine, from Maine in the US, is a great example of how a vision board can work. She wanted more freedom which meant she needed more help in her work. She made her vision board and here’s what happened:
How does a vision board work?
So Catherine had a very solid result from her vision board within a couple of weeks. But it doesn’t always work that way.
Dreams are flimsy things that can drift in and out of your mind. It’s easy to forget them or ignore them. But a vision board makes your dreams and visions of life more concrete through visualization. You can literally see the feelings that you were expressing about your dream.
Creating a vision board is an emotional journey and the vision board helps you to align its emotional impact with your rational thinking. So it both reinforces your dream and inspires you to take action towards your vision of a better life.
Proof that vision boards really do work
Some people don’t believe that vision boards work and like a lot of things in life, they won’t work unless you put the effort in. But a vision board is something tangible to look at each day to remind you to visualize what you want to do or be. It conjures up those pictures in your mind, where you are achieving your dream.
Conjuring up pictures has a posh name: visualization. Visualizing yourself doing something and going over how exactly you’re going to do this is termed mental rehearsal. They are great tools used in many fields to help achieve a specific result. Athletes are renowned for using them. So do musicians, negotiators and entrepreneurs. Performers (such as dancers and actors) use it to help control their nerves, teachers train students to ace their exams.
A famous English rugby player, the goal kicker Jonny Wilkinson, used to visualize a woman he called Doris, sitting between the rugby posts holding a Coke can. He imagined a blue line connecting the ball to her can of coke, through the goal posts. Then he pictured his kick of the ball sending it soaring through the posts and knocking the can out of her hand. He’s a legend of rugby now.
Scientists found that visualization has the power to change the physical structure of the brain because the brain doesn't distinguish between a real or an imagined exercise. It helps you to focus.
So looking at your vision and visualizing yourself doing the things you dream of is not just day dreaming. None of this means that you can make a vision board and just forget about it.
Vision boards work because you do
Here’s how you make your vision board work for you.
Visualization is very motivating and trains your brain to believe you can achieve what you’re seeking. But you need to practice visualizing the life or dream you are evoking. Looking at your vision board on a daily basis and visualizing your dream, it focuses your thoughts and primes your brain to take the actions and do the work so that you can achieve your vision.
The best approach is to review your vision board every day. Then ask yourself what you can do today to make the dream manifest.
Some people find it sinks into their sub-conscious better if they review it last thing before they go to sleep. You wake up primed to focus on the actions you need to do to achieve that dream.
How quickly does a vision board make a difference?
Some people have results from their vision board remarkably quickly, like Catherine did. Others take longer: their ideas need time to simmer for longer.
Here’s Agnieszka’s story.
"I did my vision board with Merry in 2019. Since then, some "miracles" happened in my life. I gave up my job and now I have my own company, I work internationally and step by step make my dreams come true. My vision board helps me stay on track and every time I have doubts or a bad day, I look at the picture and I see myself in the right place."
Agnieszka is the CEO of Newlandd Learning & Development and you can find her here: https://newlandd.com/.
First steps for a vision board for a life you will love today as well as in the future
The very first thing you need to do is to dream your dreams, list your goals and hunt for your lifestyle ideas. Choose the one you’re going to spend your time working on. Do you find that tough? Here are some ways of getting into it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Two big tips to get you going
Tip no 1: Take your time working on your dream. You might find that all sorts of things come welling up that you didn’t expect. Here’s what Mari from Thailand said about the vision board course that she did:
‘These workshops gave me time to reflect and do some inner soul searching into what I really was seeking. I am worthy and deserving of all that I seek. Thank you for helping me to uncover that.’
Tip no 2: Ditch any negatives – your subconscious doesn’t like negatives but latches on to them. Eg don’t dream of not being as fat as an elephant – the first thing your mind does is conjure up a picture of yourself as a fat elephant. Dream positively of being healthy and slim.
Why does this happen? We have an immediate bias towards the negative – a hangover from primitive times when we expected to be trodden on or eaten by a dinosaur or some other wild animal. So the sub-conscious latches on to a negative goal because it wants to train you to be ready to run away from a nasty surprise as fast as possible.
Building the big picture from the small picture
Some people want to dive in straight away with a huge dream. You can devise your vision board to reflect both the big dream and to fill in its component parts. So, you might develop your dream in steps, each new one leading to your next topic.
You might feel that you have a random set of dreams perhaps with multiple related ideas eg:
This is Melissa from Idaho's vision board. She and her, then boyfriend, quit their jobs to travel and volunteer in orphanages in Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam. They now are married, have a baby, and have their dream jobs. They both had relationships in the past that did not work out and wanted to make sure this was right.
Like Melissa, by working on the bigger picture of your dream and how to achieve it, you might end up developing a career which will enable you to travel with your partner and might also provide you with extra income when you’re retired. How cool would that be?
The TANTALIZING choices that make up your dream life
Now you get to the fun part. You need to gather images to put onto your vision board. Ooh – where to begin? It can make you feel like a kid in a sweet shop. The best ones to choose are those that evoke the emotions you feel when you think about your dream.
Start looking for images whether in art, in magazines, your photos or which embody the feeling that you are seeking to gain. Maybe you see an advertising image in the street or on your computer. Take a photo or download it.
Start collecting quotes that inspire you to take action towards that goal or dream as well.
Conjuring up your emotions takes all of your senses
Allow your imagination to roam as to what helps you to conjure up your dream. You can use all your senses! So if you want to improve your health, choose a picture of a healthy meal coming out of the oven. Admire the colours of the food. Imagine savouring every mouthful and enjoying it all the more because you can smell the healthiness that it’s going to give your body.
Or maybe your dream is to be a better friend. So have a photo of a big hug from your friend to conjure up the warm feelings of friendship that you want to achieve. Feel the bones in your friend’s shoulder as you put your arms around them. Exaggerate the sensations, the feel of your friend’s body, maybe the way that they smell, the touch of their hair as you hug. The warmth and joy you feel.
Make a collage of all the images and photos. Then shuffle the pictures around until it looks right for you. Try different combinations. You might find the process starts you off on refining your dream, providing more detail.
Strengthen the images by adding quotes, sayings or even inspiring words, such as ‘connection’, ‘closeness’, ‘focus’, ‘adventure’ or the emotions that inspires you.
Keep going until just by looking at the collage, you can feel the emotions that led you to choose those images.
Now you need to decide what kind of vision board suits you best.
Transforming your dream into a tangible vision: 10 different ways
Real vision boards verses virtual
Some people are happy to show their vision boards to the world and proudly display them in their kitchen. Other people don’t want to make a mess with glue and bits of paper and would rather have a private document tucked away in their computer. We all have different ways of dreaming our dreams.
It’s quite possible to make a virtual vision board. You can find online templates on sites like Canva or BeFunky. Mindmovies is a great tool because it’s like a short film for creating a picture of your life. You can also use Power point, Evernote or mind maps.
My very own vision board example
Ok, I freely admit that I’m not the most artistic, so my vision boards tend to be pretty simple, but here is an example of a virtual vision board that I made really quickly for my 200 Plant Foods Challenge. I made it on Befunky.com using their collage maker.
It’s personal because a lot of the photos are my own, taken in our badly lit kitchen (not the taro drink though and I couldn’t get all the potato colors together myself although I did try).
I included the photo of produce for sale from my friends’ organic farm which reminds me to eat bio/organic as much as possible as well as reminding me of the value of friendship and eating together as well. And of course, I have a vested interest in Rosemary, which is for remembrance. It’s another reminder to keep eating the veggies!
Don’t forget you can print out your virtual vision board too.
Working out where to put your vision board
The best place is the one where you are most likely to see it and focus on it on a daily basis. Catherine put hers on the wall just above her computer screen so that she was constantly looking at it. Good places for a lifestyle vision board are on the fridge, on any noticeboard you have or on the inside of your front door.
On the bathroom door or on your wardrobe door are great places to see it before you go to sleep.
Or simply frame it and hang it up as a picture somewhere such as in your hallway or going up the stairs.
If you drive each day, try finding a place to put a small copy somewhere easy to see in the car – eg on the dashboard.
Take a photo and print out a small copy and keep it in your wallet or bag. If you’ve done a career vision board then in your office is a great place.
Alternatively, a good place for a virtual vision board is as a screen saver on your computer or phone. You probably spend quite of time looking at them! So use them to give your sub-conscious a shove.
Success today creates your vision tomorrow
You can use this technique to
The examples are endless!
Vision Boards: fun for all the family (including the children)
Kids love creating pictures and creating a vision board for themselves which can be a really good way of teaching children (at an appropriate age) life lessons about how to achieve things and how to discipline themselves to work towards their aim.
You could do it as a family and encourage each other to play your parts in achieving the vision.
If you’re a student, you can use a vision board to incentivize yourself and help you to study. (Just remember, vision boards don’t study for you, but they help you to focus and direct your brain’s attention to what you need to do).
Want some real examples? Here you are.
What Mari did with her vision board
Remember Mari from Thailand? Well, she’s a teacher. What she did was teach her students to create their own vision boards. What a great idea! Here are some of the vision boards her students created.
How Dorota's dreams came true
Here’s Dorota with her vision board. Maybe you can guess what she was looking for. Yes, you’ve got it! She was looking for love. Here’s what Dorota said:
""Merry - my last vision board all came true. I found my soulmate and married him. Merry has the passion and knowledge that it takes to make personal development interesting, relevant and inspirational."
Dorota is living her dream.
Use your vision board to make your dreams come true
You now know how to make a vision board.
Visualize it now: see yourself choosing the dream that is going to inspire you. The one that is going to come true for you. Then imagine all the images that conjures up – now you’re hunting down those images.
You assemble them into a beautiful swirl of ideas, hopes and dreams. You find the perfect place to keep your dream in front of your eyes. You see yourself working out how you’re going to make this dream come true. So every day is a happy day because you’re growing ever closer to your dream.
And now you realise you are living your dream, even if you haven’t got to the end result. But you’re enjoying the journey and making each day count – and who could ask for more?
Now it’s up to you. Take that first step, make your vision board and start living your dream, today.
I have a beautiful life that I created by the thoughts that I think and the action that I took! I hope you find some inspiring thoughts to get you moving. Midlife is a journey where you get to manifest your dreams, using your vision and your words. Come, uncover your new truths.
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