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Achieve your goals with a vision board

Published by Dr. Kate Whimster, BCom, MIFHI, ND

If you’ve read/watched The Secret or maybe other books about the power of attraction or intention, you’ve probably heard of a vision board.  A vision board is simply a visual representation of your goals.  It’s a tool to imagine what it is like to have what you seek and it can be a lot of fun to make!  This time of year is when most people make New Year’s resolutions…  How about this year, instead of making resolutions that you likely won’t keep, you instead set goals and make a vision board to help you manifest those goals?  Here are 5 easy steps to making your vision board:

Step 1: Set goals

This is the most important step!  If you don’t know what your goals are, how will you ever achieve them?  You should probably spend the most time on this step because it shapes all the following steps.  Your goals can relate to anything: career, relationships, health, finances, travel, investments, whatever.  You might consider a different vision board for each if that suits you better.

Have you ever heard of that Harvard study on goal setting?  Interviewers asked Harvard MBA students whether they had clear, written goals for their future and made plans to accomplish them.  84% had no goals, 13% had goals but they were not written, and 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them.  10 years later, the 13% with goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% without goals.  However, the 3% with clear, written goals were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97%!  This information is prolific in the business community as evidence of the power of committing your goals to paper.  Unfortunately, this story has been debunked by Fast Company and several others!

However, that doesn’t mean that setting clear, written goals isn’t effective!  There is actual research in this area, most notably this study by Gail Matthews.  She found that those with written goals accomplished significantly more, those who shared their commitments publicly accomplished significantly more, and those who held themselves accountable accomplished significantly more.

This is all to say: goals are important, but so is DOING SOMETHING with those goals.  A vision board is a key part of making your goals into something productive.

Step 2: Visualize and feel

This step is the most fun!  All you need to do here is use your imagination!  Remember that thing you used to use a lot as a kid when you played dress-up or make-believe?  Time to pull it out of the dusty corner and get it working for you again.

Take some time AWAY from the computer, phone, office, kids, spouse, desk, etc to sit quietly and think about what it would be like to achieve your goals.  What would your life look like if you got everything you wanted?  How would you feel?

Write down some simple notes or even draw if that works better.  You want to have some guiding ideas of what you need to put on your vision board that will show you what your goals look like and that will inspire you to feel the feeling of accomplishing your goals.

Step 3: Collect images and words

Now that you know what accomplishing your goals looks like and feels like, you need to find visuals that match.  This step is also lots of fun because you get to be creative!  When was the last time you did something creative?  This step is like window-shopping for all the things you want in life.

Look in magazines for photos you like or even search online.  Google Images is a great resource – simply type in what you want, like “cute puppy” and look through the images you get back for one that resonates with you.  You can also use the web in other ways.  Do you want a great car?  Go to the manufacturer’s site and often you can design the car you want with all the features you want and print out the photo!  Want a fantastic house?  Go on MLS and search for the right house for you and print the listing!  This also works for less material things, like a happy marriage and fulfilling family life.  Look for photos of happy couples and smiling children.  You can also use your own photos of yourself and others as long as they represent how you want to feel and what you want.

If you like to paint or draw, why not create your own images exactly the way you want?  Why not use other things you love, like colours, textures, symbols, patterns, ribbons, paper, and great quotes or phrases?

I’ll give you a couple of examples of what I put on my vision board:

  • I want to build my naturopathic practice and see more patients, so I made up an ideal weekly schedule in my calendar in which I put in how many new patient visits I want in a week and how many follow-up visits I want.  I also put in there time to exercise, time for social events, and time off.  Then I printed my schedule and put it on my vision board.  When I made my vision board I was not that busy.  The next month was my slowest month in practice ever, but then over the next 3 months I got busier and busier and now my weekly schedule looks like what is on my vision board!
  • I went on MLS and searched for houses that fit certain criteria I want (number of bedrooms, neighbourhood, etc), but price was not a factor.  I found a house I really liked and printed the listing and put it on my vision board.  This house happens to be quite close to where I currently live, so it would be even better for me to go over there and take a look in person!

Step 4: Collect supplies

Your vision board can be made out of anything you want.  First, you need something to put all your images and words on and this will determine what other supplies you need.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Corkboard and pins
  • Posterboard and glue/tape
  • Wall in your home and some way to stick things up (like sticky tack)
  • Magnet board and magnets (this is what I used)
  • Large picture frame, piece of cardboard to go in it, and glue/tape
  • Fridge and magnets (this is great for kids to play with!)
  • Scissors to cut out your images/words to the right shapes

Step 5: Create!  And place.

Now that you have all you need, create your vision board!  Arrange your images and words any way you like.  Again, this is your chance to be creative in way you may not have been since primary school!

Place you vision board in a prominent place where you can look at it often, such as your office or bedroom.  Use your vision board as a reminder of how your goals look and feel.  Whenever you see it, take a moment to experience the feeling of realizing your goals.  You can also use your vision board as a reminder to meditate on your goals.