Have you found yourself being reminded of a goal you had set for yourself months ago, but then completely forgot about it and still haven’t achieved it? Do you continuously push back important items from your bucket list that you’ve actually been dreaming of doing for 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years? I certainly have been in both of those situations many times. You get excited about something and think “I should do this/travel there/start this hobby/learn how to do this”, but you don’t immediately act on it and then you go back to your busy life and it kind of just gets shoved in the back of your mind. Or you have a big vision or dream of something specific that you want to accomplish in your future, but 3, 5 or 10 years down the road you find yourself no closer to this vision than before. It happens to all of us. And unless we make a continuous and conscious effort to bring back this excitement and the feelings associated with these goals and visions to the forefront of our mind, we’re likely to never act upon these wishes, longings, visions, and dreams.
Take One Simple Action Today!
So what easy yet powerful and effective action can you take to achieve your goals and vision? Make a vision board! Yes, it’s that simple. Granted, it takes more than just going through the steps of creating a vision board, but you’ll be surprised about how powerful this tool really is if you are mindful of a few important aspects. If you’ve never heard of a vision board before, here is a brief explanation: a vision board is a visual representation (often in form of a poster board) of your most personally important life goals and visions. It is used as a tool to help you clarify and prioritize what’s most important to you and then concentrate and focus on these goals to help you accomplish them.
One Important Lesson to Keep in Mind Before You Start
Now this all sounds dandy and fun, but is it really that easy? Yes and no. I will talk more about avoiding certain pitfalls a little later so that it will be easy for you. In preparation for you to start creating your own vision board, I want to share one quick personal anecdote with you that will set you up for success and prevent you from feeling frustrated and disappointed.
When I first heard about this concept and all the rage that came with it I thought I should give it a try. The directions I got just mentioned including goals you want to achieve within the next year. So I created a vision board for 2016 (with the year written in big letters in the middle of the vision board). As the year drew to a close I took a final look at my vision board and became extremely frustrated and discouraged as most items on my board remained unchecked and unaccomplished. “What a useless tool” I thought. As a result, I didn’t create another board for 2017, although I had already bought one. Fast forward to the beginning of this year and a new self development class I took part in which suggested creating a vision board. But this time the directions were a little different. The time frame that was set in preparation for creating the vision board were goals I wanted to achieve within the next 3 or 5 years. I wanted to give this whole endeavor another chance and did as I was told. So I remembered I still had that old new poster board lying around and as I picked it up I saw that my vision board from 2016 was hiding underneath it. Out of curiosity, I gave it a glance over and realized that most items on there had “become true”! I was utterly amazed and surprised! So give yourself enough time to actually reach these goals and make them a reality. Don’t expect them to be achieved within a year. Remember what Bill Gates once said in this context: “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years”.
The Science Behind It
You might wonder why something so simple would actually work? Most of our behavior and actions are driven by our subconscious mind. Thus, if we want to “tell” our subconscious what it should focus its attention on, we need to communicate in a language that it understands. The most effective way to do so is to speak to it in images and emotions. Pair this with repetition (our subconscious loves repetition!) and you got yourself a secret recipe for success.
4 Easy Steps to Creating Your Own Vision Board
The steps to creating a vision board are extremely easy and straightforward. Here it goes:
- Buy some sort of poster board in a color you like (there are so many options you can choose from, make it a color you like and won’t get tired of looking at). You’ll also need scissors, a glue stick, maybe some colored pens or pencils, and permanent markers if you want to use them.
- This is probably the step that will take the most effort. Make sure you’re in a calm and quiet environment or room where you won’t be interrupted for the next couple of minutes. Close your eyes and think about what you wish your life to look like in 3 or 5 years, maybe even 10. What experiences do you want to have had by then (e.g. gone skydiving, traveled to a certain country or place, learned how to speak a certain language, learned a specific skill, have taken dance classes, etc.)? Where do you want to live? What “materialistic” things do you want to have (car, house, pets)? Who do you want to be as a person (professionally and privately)? What kind of people do you want to have around you? What are your wildest dreams? Anything that comes up before your inner eye is okay. Don’t think too small. Don’t limit yourself by trying to stay “realistic”. This is the place to express your most inner desires, wishes, and dreams for your future. Listen to what your heart is telling you and be open-minded. Once you have a pretty good idea of specific goals, open your eyes and write them down on a piece of paper.
- Now comes the fun and creative part. Find or create images that represent whatever you want to do, have, or be in your life. If you have old magazines, newspapers, flyers or anything with photos, pictures or printed text, dig ‘em up. Cut out whatever you want to use to put on your vision board. Find images on the internet and print them out. Write words in a word document and print those out. Write them by hand. Draw your own pictures on your vision board. Literally do whatever you feel like and choose whatever best represents a specific goal to you. Get creative. It is important that when looking at a particular image, photo, word, or statement from your vision board you know exactly what it represents. It doesn’t matter whether other people know what it means. This is a tool for you. If you feel like you need some inspiration, just search for “vision board” images on the internet and you’ll find hundreds of them. For me, it also helped to lay out the images before gluing them to the poster board to avoid not being able to fit everything and to get a better idea of what I wanted it to look like. And don’t be surprised if you come up with more goals you want to put on the board while looking through the magazines or doing some research online. This process gets you in a certain state of mind where you’re open to all these images that you’ve put in the back of your mind and that you’ve maybe ignored for a while.
- Tadaa! Your new vision board is complete. The only thing left to do is to put it up in a place where you will see it multiple times every day. This could be the kitchen, your bedroom, your bathroom, the hallway, the living room… I put mine on the back of my front door so every time I go out the door or near it I see it (I have an open-concept floor plan so I actually see it more often than just the times I leave the house).
Avoid these Pitfalls
As mentioned earlier, there are a couple of aspects that you need to be mindful of if you want your vision board to work the way it’s supposed to. Here are a few key points:
- It is not enough to just “walk by” your vision board multiple times a day. As with everything in life, we get used to things around us. So eventually you will just kind of “blur it out” and not even really look at your vision board anymore. For it to fully develop its power though, you need to bring these images and emotions back to life on a regular basis. So this is really important: make a conscious effort to regularly (at least once a week, but more is better and there is no limit to how often you do this) take about 5 or 10 minutes and stand in front of your vision board. Now look at each picture, image or word and remember what this symbol is all about. Feel it in your body. What would it feel like if you had already accomplished this? Remind your brain and body what it is you really want.
- Reevaluate your vision board from time to time. Is it still current? Do all the pictures on there still resonate with you? Is something missing? Please feel free to add, delete, or modify anything on your board that doesn’t feel quite right anymore. After all, it’s there to serve you to accomplish what is really important to you. Sometimes these goals change or become less relevant. Make sure your vision board reflects this.
- Certain goals will take longer to achieve than others. Some may actually become a reality quite quickly. So don’t be surprised by this and don’t expect to reach all your goals at the same time or within the same timeframe.
- Lastly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or this tool. It is a powerful aid for achieving what you want the most out of life, but it’s not there to constantly remind you that you haven’t achieved this or that goal. Trust in the process and the power of your subconscious. Don’t be too impatient (like I was). As I said earlier, the process takes time.
I hope you will have as much fun creating your vision board as I had. This is your opportunity to dig deep, listen to your heart, be creative and bold, and take a first step in creating the life you want. What is one goal you know for sure will make it onto your vision board?
About the author:
Frauke is a professional Work Frustration Coach, Life Crafter, and has a Masters in Positive Organizational Psychology. She supports women who are frustrated with their work situation and want to regain control of their lives. As a life crafter, she shows people that they have a choice in creating their future and uses a unique approach incorporating hypnosis and positive psychology tools into traditional coaching techniques. If you’re interested in finding out more and want to sign up for a free Clarity Session, contact her here:Schedule FREE Clarity Session