If you have never heard of Oprah Winfrey and her love of vision boards, then I suspect you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years. Oprah is an incredibly successful businesswoman and celebrity, and one thing that she used to talk about a lot was using a vision board to help to manifest success.
Lately, I’ve been wanting to focus more on my goals so I filled out a goals sheet and set my intentions for the coming year. Then, over the weekend, I made a vision board. I create a vision board every season of change in my life, or when I’m wanting to start making/seeing a change–which is the reason for this board.
If you’re also looking to make a positive change and focus on your goals, then this will help you decide if a vision board is right for you.
What is a vision board?
Before we get started grabbing our supplies, let’s talk about what a vision board actually is, and what is the point of a vision board (note it is sometimes also called a dream board or a goals board).
A vision board is a collection of pictures, words and phrases that are designed to inspire you towards a particular goal or desire and help you to visualize your dreams. When I first started using vision boards, most people would use a cork board or poster board for their vision board, but some are now moving to a digital vision board instead, so you should do whichever works best for you. I cover how to make both of these below.
The idea behind a vision board is pretty simple. By having a vision board in a prominent and visible place with your goals and intentions, your mind keeps being reminded of these focus areas, and your subconscious will work away at them. Vision boards are linked to the Law of Attraction, which is essentially about attracting into your life what you are focusing on.
Sometimes when we set out to achieve new goals, we start out very excited and write them all down. However, at some point we lose the paper with the goals written on them, or never refer back to the journal or planner that we wrote them in, and forget about the goals we set out for ourselves. A vision board solves this issue by keeping your goals front of mind every day, and invoking positive emotions as you look at them.
Do vision boards work?
There’s plenty of research to say that vision boards work! Visualization is a powerful technique, and Psychology Today has reported that athletes who visualized their training exercises received almost the same benefits as those who physically undertook the exercises.
Some studies have shown that just visualizing a goal (rather than the work to get there) may not be as effective, so keep this in mind when creating your vision board – you may also need to consider the work or steps to achieve your goal.
Whilst visualization and manifestation may seem all a bit woo-woo, there really isn’t really any magic to this. Regular visualization will activate your subconscious mind, and makes you notice things that were there before but that you weren’t focusing on.
I have seen this particularly when it comes to opportunities in my side business. Before I was focusing on particular goals, opportunities passed me by because I wasn’t ready to see them. Now I have visualized on a regular basis what success will look like for me, I know what areas I want to focus on to get to the next stage, and I am seeing opportunities everywhere to help me to get there.
What we focus on expands into our life. I’m seeing it happen for me, so I’m happy to share it with you!
What should you put on your vision board?
The following steps and examples will help you to work out what to include on your vision board.
Step 1: Reflect on what you’ve already accomplished this year
What went well for you this year and how did you achieve it? Is there anything that you have achieved that you need to continue to focus on, or want to build on? If so, consider including these things when you create your vision board.
For example, if you got a promotion this year by putting your hand up for new challenges at work, you might want to put something around taking on new challenges as a continued focus. If you ran a half marathon this year, perhaps you want to include something on your vision board which will encourage you to run another one faster, or even to run a full marathon.
Step 2: Think about what you want to change
What didn’t go so well this year? Or what did you hope to achieve but didn’t make significant steps towards? Failing to plan, is planning to fail, so if there is something you do want to achieve, you need to think about what you will do to get there this year and how to incorporate that into your vision board.
Your vision board is about feelings, desires, emotions and things that inspire you, as well as goals. When you are choosing what to put on your board, think about how that particular thing will make you feel. This is a useful exercise as it will help you to generate those same feelings and desires each time you look at the board.
For me, I had thought at the beginning of the year I wanted to lose some weight, but didn’t set any tangible goals or habits to get there, and surprise surprise, I didn’t lose any weight. For my 2022 vision board, I am actually focusing on health. Whilst I want to lose some weight, I really want to feel healthier, and that is all around habits of eating, drinking, and exercise.
The health section of my vision board has someone running in the outdoors, has words like ‘energized’ and ‘envigorated’, and has pictures of fish, vegetables and fruit. Visualizing and acting on these areas will flow into feeling better and losing weight. Focusing too much on weight loss (as many of us do) feels more like a deprivation focus (don’t eat this, don’t drink that) than a health focus of feeling better and full of energy.
Step 3: Decide on your next big goal
I find it most useful to have dreams and goals for several areas of my life as it encourages me to do new things, as well as maintain things that are going well and not forget them. However, I have one goal that I consider to be my big goal for the year.
My big goal for 2022 is to earn significant income from my side businesses, and so that is the central focus for my board this year. I put this right in the middle of my board, and in comparison to the other sections it takes up more space.
The other things that I need to keep focusing on also get included on my vision board. For example, my relationship with my husband is great, but I make sure that my vision board includes a picture of us in the midst of a happy moment, as I want to see that every day as part of my vision for 2022.
Step 4 : Think about the direction you want to take your life next.
When thinking about the direction you want your life to take next, this can be one area or it can be many.
I like to split my vision board and goal setting into sections, as that helps me get a picture overall of my ideal life. The sections that I have used in the past are relationships (family / friends / spouse), home, finances, career / work, travel, health, and me (this covers everything not captured already, and includes things like new hobbies or personal development).
The sections that you want to use might be different, or you may choose your vision board to focus on only one or two things rather than a whole ideal life. The beauty of a vision board is that there is no right or wrong way to do it, it’s all about focusing on you.
I write each of my sections as a heading on a piece of paper, and then I look at my goals for those, and the feelings that I want to evoke.
My vision board for 2022 covers quite a few areas, as 2022 is going to be a big year for me. My big goal is regarding my blog and writing. However, my husband and I just moved house to a more affordable area, and so I need to visualize how the space and new start will make me feel, and how I want to create our dream home from the bones of what is there. I am also going to be focusing on continued success in my full time job, on being healthy, and on investing our money in a way that helps us to live the life we want. I may need a bigger board!
Step 5: Decide what is going on your vision board
From the four steps above, you have a list of things to keep doing, new goals, desires and aspirations, and have thought about the various aspects of your life and the direction you want them to take. However, you don’t need to put all of this on your vision board.
From the list that you have created, work out which are the most important to you to focus on. These are the things you want to have visual representations of on your vision board. Now you can move to the fun part, actually making your vision board!
Tip: Be clear on your WHY
As you are setting your goals, intentions and affirmations, make sure you are drilling down into your why. If you want to buy a house in the Hamptons, then think really deeply about why you want that, as it helps you to get clarity on your goals and your reasons for wanting them.
Be aware that sometimes what you think you want is not what you actually want, and getting clarity on why you want something will help to flush out those goals that are not your real goals, but are the result of societal pressure, parental expectations or other external factors.
As an example, I used to think I wanted to buy a house overlooking the beach near where I currently live. My friends all own houses around here, and so I thought in time I would do the same. But I am based in a very high cost of living area, and I would have to work so hard to pay off a mortgage for this area, that I might never get to enjoy the house and the beach it is overlooking.
By digging into my why, I realised what I wanted (and the pictures I wanted on my vision board) was the ideal relaxed life of living near a beach, where I could walk to the sea every morning, and sit with a coffee and a lovely view before starting my day. It didn’t need to be the area I currently live, and reframing this thinking has prompted us to buy a house a few hours away up the coast. We moved recently, and the cost of living is cheaper and we can own a lovely house without millions of dollars in mortgage hanging over our heads (which would definitely not have been relaxing!).
This is another example of being open to the opportunity and willing to take up what the universe offers. We have had quite a year in 2020 and 2021, but it has shown me that my job does not need me to travel to the office every day. By being open to change, and imagining a relaxed lifestyle on the coast that is not right next to the city, we have been able to manifest our visions and make the move.