What is a vision board?
Ok, think about an actual board. A poster, a corkboard, or simply a collection of images stuck on a piece of paper. That’s your board. The vision bit comes in because you want it to be a ‘representation’ – a mental image of how you’d like your future to feel like. The key is really to focus on how you want to feel. You want to use images and words that evoke an emotional state in you. Feelings. If you Google examples of vision boards, you may see expensive homes, fast cars, or luxury holiday destinations on other people’s boards, but it’s not really about the materialistic things. Or, it shouldn’t be.
Let me tell you why.
Why should you create a vision board for yourself?
Think about setting off on a journey to go and visit some friends at their new place. You’ve got their address but have no clue about how you’re going to get there. Back in the days, you would have had a map. Today you’re likely to just put the postcode into the Google maps app on your phone and let it show you the way. But if you didn’t have that postcode, chances are you wouldn’t get there at all, right?
Life can be a bit like that sometimes. You can live life without any sort of plan. It’s fun. You get to enjoy the journey, have the best experiences along the way, and one day you’ll probably be totally happy with the destination too. But sometimes you have a specific destination in mind – like in our example of visiting your friends. Sometimes you have a goal or a dream in mind. And that’s why you need the postcode.
How to create your vision board
1. Decide on what you want!
Before you jump straight in, spend some time thinking about your actual vision. You need to know what you want to put on your board, right? So ask yourself some intentional questions.
- How do you want to feel? You may want to think about this year specifically, but don’t limit yourself. If you find this question difficult to answer, have a think about how you’ve enjoyed feeling in the past. Surely you want more of the ‘good’ feelings and less of the feelings you didn’t enjoy that much?
- What inspires you and motivates you in life? Think about the key relationships in your life, your job/career/business, your finances, your living space, your health, and your spirituality, for example. How would you like to feel in those areas of your life?
Remember that your board doesn’t have to be covered in things you yet don’t have. You can have existing things on your board. For example, I’ll have a nice photo of me and my boys, a photo of us 5 as a family, and a photo of myself and The Husband to remind myself that being close to my boys and my husband, as well as being close as a family and spending quality time together whenever we can, is important to me.
Allow yourself to dare and dream big
By all means, also put on your board things that you aspire to. Things you don’t necessarily have in your life right now but want to have in the future. Again, it’s important you don’t focus on materialistic things – the expensive car or holiday home. You can have those things, sure, but why are they there? Because you want to feel financially secure? Successful? Is the fast car something YOU want? Or is it there because we all think we should aspire to have lots of money and nice things?? If it’s important to you and for what it represents, go for it.
Dream big, but be honest, true to yourself and kind of realistic. Your board has to ‘speak to you’. Make sure you pick images you feel connected to. So don’t stick a photo of a Ferrari on your board if that doesn’t mean anything to you.
2. Decide whether you want to go digital or old-school
If you decide to go for a digital board, you can create the whole thing online by sourcing images on the internet, using Canva or similar software to create an actual ‘poster’. You simply select the specific size or format and slot your photos in. Then download and print out. You can then even use it as a screensaver on your phone, tablet, or laptop. And of course, you always have the option to print it out yourself or have it printed professionally.
Or you can go ‘old school’. And actually, have physical photos, cut out’s or print out’s glued or pinned onto a physical poster. All you need are scissors and glue/sellotape/sticky tack, maybe some nice colourful markers if you want to add any words or phrases, and you’re good to go.
3. Go find the images for your vision board
Once you’ve had a think about the things that are important to you and you want to move towards, you can go about this in one of two ways. You can either grab a bunch of magazines or newspapers and flick through them looking for pictures or phrases/words that ‘speak to you’, or you can actually go and intentionally look for specific images that represent what you want to have on your board.
For example, say you want to feel physically healthy and fit. One option is to go through a magazine and see what you can find on there that helps you connect with that feeling. Or, you can do a search on Google or Pinterest for ‘fitness’, for example, and see what comes up. To be fair, you’ll still pick an image that calls out to you. And both are great ways of doing it – it really just depends on how much control you want to have on what ends up on your board. Stick with a visual representation of how you want to feel, and that’s all that matters.
4. Leave the date out of your vision board
Ok, this one is debatable, actually. The reason why I’d suggest to leave it a deadline out of your board is because it could easily become a source of anxiety and overwhelm. You just don’t want to end up feeling disillusioned with your board altogether, right?
BUT, it’s YOUR board, so if a date or deadline is important to you, and it’s going to help you stay accountable to something, then, by all means, stick it on!What I’m going to do for mine is to worry about the what and the why. Why do I want to feel the way I want to feel? And what do I need on my board to help me feel that way? And that’s all. The when, where, and how aren’t that important at the point when you make your board.
5. Have fun with it!
6. Put your vision board where you can see it
The idea behind having a visual board in the first place is that it impacts your Reticular Activating System. And what’s that now?! It’s the part of your brain that picks up on the things that you keep focusing on. Ever heard the saying that ‘what you focus on expands’? So put your board where you can see it.
My vision board for my gentle life, which I created as part of a group coaching course I took last year with Emily Hodge is up on the wall in my working space. I don’t stand there intentionally staring at it (I could if I wanted to, though!) But it’s there. And when I look up to take a break, or when I pause before writing the next word, I see it. And my subconscious sees exactly what’s on it.
Having said that, I know there are people who stick their boards or visual representations of their goals into a drawer or a box and ‘forget all about them’. It’s a bit like Jim Carrey writing himself a cheque for $10m for acting services rendered (way before he was rich and famous) and sticking it in his wallet. He doesn’t suggest you ‘forget about it’, so to speak. In fact, in his words, he says: “You can’t just visualise and go eat a sandwich”, but with that cheque, he set his intention. And that gave him the motivation to work towards his dream.
Which nicely leads to my last point…
7. Now go do the work
Your board will help you believe that you can have ‘it’. Your destination, your feeling(s) – you’ve got to believe they’re within your reach. Your board will train your subconscious to go for things that will help you feel a certain way. If you believe you can have it, you can then start taking inspired action, which will ultimately lead you towards the feelings you’ve chosen to represent on your vision board. It’s not really magic, you know?
Your vision board is a tool that serves as inspiration. It’s your focus. Your GPS system. It helps you move towards the direction you set for yourself. When the next crossroad comes, and you have to make a decision, you’re more likely to make one that will help you feel the way you committed to feeling. Without that, you may end up somewhere else.
So if you want to get a bit more formal and think about goals, objectives, or New Year’s resolutions, go ahead. But in the meantime, how about having some fun with your very own vision board?
I’ll be making mine this month, so come and have a look on Instagram, and you can tell me what you think.
Have you ever made a vision board? Will you make one this year? Do you have any tips to share with us?