What is a vision board?
It’s a pretty collection of things you want. At least, that’s what it looks like. Its true purpose is to create a space with images and words that help you visualize your future. It can be a powerful tool to help you set clear goals and focus on achieving those goals.
A Vision Board can be easy to make, too. Check out the top five crazy-cheap tools you need (seriously low-cost!) at the bottom of this post.
Do vision boards really work?
Yes! Vision board work because it forces you to visualize your future every time you look at it.
There is countless research and anecdotes about the power of visualization. When we imagine ourselves running through an activity, our brain actually prepares for that activity. Think about the Olympics (or any sport.) Behind the scenes footage shows the athletes mentally rehearsing.
Why? Because when you mentally rehearse you create a “mental model,” or a story about the way something will be. When you do this regularly, you brain becomes accustomed to the pattern you are envisioning.
This is especially important if you hit obstacles to your goal. When your brain is programmed to see things a certain way, an obstacle becomes a speed bump that your mental model can work around instead of a roadblock that stops your progress entirely.
Think about when a figure skater falls instead of sticking a landing. If they have been creating mental models of their performance, their brain instantly knows where to go next. A skater who doesn’t create those models will have a harder time remembering what comes next after a fall and might lose confidence resulting in more errors.
I think about what I want. Isn’t that enough?
If you are truly spending time visualizing the future you want, then yes. It’s probably enough. But the reality is that most of us don’t spend the time every day to see what we want for our future. We don’t take the time to think about our big goals.
The law of attraction is the belief that a person can focus her thoughts to be positive or negative and then attract those types of experiences into her life. If you follow that belief, then dedicating time to focus on the positive things you want in your life will open you up to those things. Simply thinking about reaching your goals will actually make it easier for you to achieve those goals.
How do I start?
Vision boards are great tools to visual a positive future.
It will make you really think about what you want to accomplish and help you to focus on what is important to you.
What do you want? What do you really want? What matters to you? Be specific. Do you want money or do you want security of being able to pay your bills? Write a list of your goals. Think about how you want to feel as you achieve these goals. Write down those emotions in one word like joy, love, freedom, peace.
2. Gather supplies
(Check out the top five crazy-cheap tools at the bottom of this post – I got everything I needed from the dollar store for less than $8! And you probably already have some supplies at home.)
- Canvas, poster board, paper, journal (any format will work but choose something physical rather than electronic)
- Markers, paints, pens
- Magazines (or printed images)
3. Create a work space
Find a place where you can spread out your materials undisturbed. Turn on soothing lights or light candles. Play music. Take time to breathe and relax.
4. Choose words and pictures
Keeping your goals in mind, browse magazines or the Internet to find images, words, and phrases that capture your attention. Cut (or print) anything that has meaning for you. Keep referring to your list as you work. Remember to choose things that make you feel good. You might also include a photo of yourself when you felt wonderful. Seeing your own picture will help capture that feeling when you look at your board.
5. Play around with layout
Once you have images and words for all your goals, start laying them out on your canvas or paper. Play around with what you have until you have a design that you like. It is okay to remove images or words that don’t quite fit or to go back and look again if you feel an area needs more. Remember to keep some white space so your choices can stand out and not feel cluttered.
6. Finalize your design
Glue all your pieces into place. Once everything is glued down, you can cover the whole thing with a layer of Mod Podge (or other glue) to seal it and give a finished look.
7. Keep it present
Put your vision board somewhere you will see it regularly. You want to keep your goals present in your mind and life. Spend about five minutes visualizing daily. Keep yourself open to your goals and good things will come.