Creating a Vision Board: Get clear on your goals and get motivated

Creating A Vision Board: get clear on your goals and motivation

As we start a new year and a new decade, you may have heard people talking about creating a ‘Vision Board’. Making a vision board helps you get clear on your goals and motivated to achieve them. Creating a vision board is a great thing to do, at the start of a year or at any time of year. Advocated by athletes, Law of Attraction advocates and psychologists alike, a vision board helps you get clear on what you’d like to have happen in your life and can give you focus and motivation to make your life move in that direction.

What is a vision board?

In essence, a vision board is a visual display of what you’d like to have happen in your life. It is a personal curation of images and words that represent your unique vision of what your ideal future will look like. A vision board is usually poster size (so A4 and above) but can be any size, as long as it’s large enough for you to see and appreciate easily.

What is the idea behind creating a vision board?

A vision board creates a special physical space that displays what you’d like to bring to life. It is a visualization exercise. It’s all too easy to go through life on auto-pilot. When you create a vision board however, you create a space in which to get clear on what you really want from your life. After you’ve made your vision board it’s crucial that you display it somewhere where you’re going to see it regularly. In this way, you create an opportunity for a short but regular visualization practice about your ideal future.

How does a vision board work?

he well-known book The Secret and advocates of The Law of Attraction argue that thoughts create our world.

“The law of attraction is forming your entire life experience and it is doing that through your thoughts. When you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the Universe.”

They argue that by thinking about what it would feel like to already have something you desire, you’re setting an intention and sending the right frequency to the universe to attract more of the same.

If that’s all too woo woo for you, consider the science behind visualization. Visualisation has been used successfully for many years in sports psychology. Athletes practice visualizing what they want to happen. They create engaging and detailed movies in their head in which they successfully watch themselves reach their goals.

When visualization works well it sets your subconscious mind on target to achieve your goals. The subconscious mind is a bit like a self-guiding missile in that it doesn’t question what it’s told, it just moves towards it.

More often than not our natural inclination is to fill our subconscious with fear and worst-case scenario stories. When we regularly focus on visualizing our version of success instead, we correct the course of our subconscious to move towards our goals. Everywhere we go we start to see things of relevance to achieving our goals. In this way, our brain becomes primed to attain our goals.

The more engaging your visualization, in terms of colour and emotional intensity, the more powerful it is. This is the same for vision boards too!

Create your vision for your vision board

Vision boards are a great way to delve deep into our imaginations and discover what we really want to be, feel, do or have. Take time to really think about this. You could meditate, daydream or journal. Remember to consider all dimensions of your life. You could imagine your ideal work / life balance, your relationship, home, car, travel, community, body etc. The more specific detail you can visualise, the better.

If you like writing, there’s a Positive Psychology happiness exercise called ‘Your Best Self,’ which could help with this. You select a future time period (maybe 6 months, 1 year, 5 years etc). Then you write free form for 15 to 20 minutes a day over 4 consecutive days, thinking about what you’d like to achieve in that time frame. Imagine you’ve worked hard, fulfilled your potential and attained your life goals. Visualise your best possible self in as vivid detail as possible and in a way that is really pleasing and interesting to you. The exercise should be uplifting and motivating!

Create your vision board

Set the mood for creating your vision

Make sure you’ve got time to make your board in a relaxed fashion with an open and happy mind. Have fun with it and empower your imagination through your senses, with sounds and smells that complement your goals.

Goal setting time-frame

Work out what time frame you want to address. Long-term big life goals, or more immediate (and easily measurable) shorter-term goals for the year ahead for instance.

Images for your vision board

To find images that represent the vision of your future, you could cut out pictures from magazines or search online. You can use Google or Pinterest to find and print out images that match your specific vision. If you’d like to really engage the creative part of your brain you could draw some images yourself (stick people are fine!) You can stick also items that have meaning and are embued with positive feelings for you onto your board.

Arrange your images on a pinboard or piece of paper in a way that looks nice and sparks joy for you. Enjoy watching inspirational images and words come alive on the page for you!

Top tips for creating a vision board

Connect to feelings

Think about the WHY behind each goal on your board

When you’re thinking about a goal and selecting an image to represent it, make sure you think about the WHY behind the WHAT. A visualisation is important but what’s more important is connecting to the feeling it creates inside of you. Your board should focus on what you want to feel. Feelings create emotions which drive performance.

If you can connect with the feelings and values that are fuelling your goal, you’ll be much more likely and motivated to achieve it.

For example, I might put a picture of a nice beach on my board to represent that I’d like us to go on holiday. It’s not that beach per se or even the generic notion of ‘going on a holiday’ that will make an impact on my motivation to achieve that goal. It is the WHY behind the holiday that will make a difference. I imagine the warm feeling I get when I go back to my values of a happy, connected family, relaxed on a sunny beach together.

Include emotive items on your vision board

Similarly, include items that make you feel a certain way. Memorabilia from a certain place you’ve visited that made you feel special or inspired. Or a hand-written card from a friend, that makes you feel loved and appreciated. Include anything that brings colour to your board and the emotions within your visualisation alive.

Then… Display your vision board.

Put your vision board somewhere you’re regularly going to look at it. You don’t have to look at it all day, but put it somewhere near your desk or mirror and it will act as a daily reminder of what you’re aiming for and why. By seeing it regularly, you are keeping your goals in your consciousness and staying focused on where you’re going.

Give it a go – let me know what you think!