Creating a Vision Board: What Do You Want Your Future to Be?
When Heather, a survivor of child sexual abuse, first heard about vision boards she rolled her eyes. There was no way a silly little craft project could help her heal. Then a close friend threw a vision boarding party. Heather went, not expecting to get much out of it. But, in the process of the evening, she was able to talk to her friends about her goals and dreams. Through words and images she was able to solidify the ideas of hopes she had for her life.
After that party, she was hooked. Heather realized vision boards helped her heal, helped her plan for the future without her old anxieties and insecurities creeping in, and made her excited about her goals.
If you are in a place where you, like Heather, want to plan a bright and empowering future, it can help to create a vision board. Without understanding your dreams or goals, you may not have a clear idea of where you want to go, what steps you want to take, or who you want to be. You can become reactive instead of proactive.
So how can you become more proactive in planning your future? Try visualizing it. Literally.
What is a vision board?
A vision board is a collection of images that illustrate what you want your life to become. Vision boards are a great tool to help you plan out your dreams and goals. Your unconscious brain has an amazing capacity to think in pictures. So, when you plan your goals, you’re working one part of the brain; when you put those goals into images, you’re engaging another part of the brain. Suddenly you’re consciously AND unconsciously working toward your goals every day!
A great place to start when thinking about your vision board is a Future Vision Statement. This writing exercise can help you come up with solid ideas that you can then utilize on your vision board.
Does it really work?
Although there’s not a lot of scientific research on vision boarding, many people find them to be helpful, motivating, and enjoyable ways to work towards their goals. Its mere existence can’t alter your future, and a vision board certainly won’t help your dreams come true if you just hang it on your wall and stare at it for a year.
Vision boards can, however, give you a place to think through your dreams, allow you to really SEE what they could look like, and give you a daily reminder of what is important to you. To turn your vision board dreams into a reality, you also have to take action!
If that sounds like something you want and need, keep reading.
Where to put your vision board
To create your vision board, the first decision you’ll want to make is where you want the finished product to be. On a bulletin board in your bedroom? a collage in your journal? on a folder on your desk at work? as a desktop background on your computer?
You want it somewhere you’ll see it on a consistent basis. And, if you get too used to seeing it in that location, you might consider making it portable to switch things up. If your vision board feels too private to share with others, keep it in a place that feels safe to you. If you want it to be a conversation piece so you can talk about your dreams and goals with others, put it someplace a lot of people will see!
5 Steps to Create Your Vision Board
Find images that literally or figuratively embody what you want. If you want to grow a better relationship with someone, you can put a potted plant to represent that growth. Or you might put an image of the two of you together. There are no rules for what you should or shouldn’t put.
Put them together.
Do you want it to look like a collage with no white space? Do you want images that are all the same shape and size? Spend time organizing the images in a way that feels the most comfortable for you. When you look at your vision board you want to feel inspired, not critical of your image placement.
Put the date on it.
If creating vision boards resonates with you, then you may find yourself creating them more often. Putting the date, even just the month and year, on each one will help you see how your dreams have changed, how you’ve accomplished your goals, or the ways you’ve grown over time.
Put it where you'll see it.
As stated above, you’ll hopefully have kept this in mind as you were working on it. Now is the time to hang it up or put the file on your computer.
Don't stop there.
You can create a vision board for any aspect of your life. You can have multiple vision boards, or you can create a new one anytime you feel the need. While having a vision board can be a powerful step in the right direction, it’s not going to accomplish your dreams. Only YOU can do that. So, take the inspiration and motivation you get from your vision board and make that beautiful future come true!
Be Like Heather
Despite her skepticism, Heather found that the process of creating a vision board left her feeling motivated and empowered. She hung her first vision board next to her computer and looked at it every day while she worked. On the days when her goals were feeling unrealistic or out of reach, she would look at her vision board and remember the excitement she felt when she made it. It continued to motivate her to do her best work every day.
As you create your own vision board, remember to be gentle with yourself. You may hear a little voice in your head telling you what you’re hoping for is impossible, you don’t deserve it, or it will never happen. Don’t listen to that voice. You deserve to have a bright and beautiful future–and your vision board can remind you of that.