The idea of making 'resolutions' may cause some anxiety at the expectation to utterly improve yourself and your life. However, creating a vision board for your year is a sensible and fun alternative way to lay out your plans, and make those long thought of dreams come true!
If this year has felt like a step back, or a stagnant year for you, then now is the best time to look to the future and visualize the progress that can be made.
What is a Vision Board and How Does it Work?
Having a vision for the future that you aim to uphold is more achievable and uplifting than setting cast iron resolutions. Setting time aside to create your vision for the year is a powerful exercise, and a vision board is one way to do that.
A vision board (sometimes called a dream board) is a collage-style visual depiction of the things that you wish to achieve. Using a combination of words and images that represent your goals, a vision board is a tool that should be placed in a prominent position in your home so that you can look at it, reflect on it, and then bring it to life. I keep mine inside my closet all year - so I look at it every day.
NOTE: Your vision board might include plans for travel, further education, career aspirations, positive affirmations, or anything that you would like for yourself in the future.
Have you heard of the law of attraction? The principle behind the law of attraction is that when we focus our minds and energy strongly on something, we can bring it into reality. The law of attraction harnesses our power to visualize a goal and then make it materialize in the real world. Read more on the thesis behind it here! Creating a vision board uses the law of attraction, working to make your goals a reality.
Why is a Vision Board Important?
If someone asked you to list your top five goals for the coming year, could you list them quickly and succinctly? Would it take some time to organize your thoughts and call those goals to mind?
The creation of a vision board is an activity that allows you to do just that - think about and organize your goals, then express them in an artistic format. At the end, you have a physical and visual symbol of your goals that you can look at on a regular basis and be reminded of everything you want to achieve.
Ways to Create a Vision Board
I am outlining a few different ways you can make a vision board - individually making a physical board, individually making a virtual vision board and hosting a virtual vision board party. Whether you want to make it a solo or group activity, this guide will lay out the steps.
How to Create a Physical Vision Board
Set aside some time to work on your vision board when you won't be distracted or disturbed. Start by listing your goals, and spend some time thinking about those goals and how you could achieve them. Or, you can start by flipping through visuals like magazines - see if an image inspires something you would like to see happen for you this year.
You Will Need:
- Poster boards (Minimum size 1' x 2')
- Glue sticks (Two small or 1 large per person)
- Scissors (One per person, plus lefty scissors for lefty friends)
- Magazines (Ask guests to bring some - the more variety, the better. You can always ask a doctor's office for old magazines.)
Note: You can find almost all of these supplies at the dollar store or similar.
You can use magazines, newspapers, catalogs, or even printed images from the internet - anything from which you can cut and transfer ideas. You may also want some personal elements such as photos, tickets, memorabilia, business cards etc. Anything and everything goes!
A useful tip - you may not have a whole lot of magazines lying around, but an easy way to get a hold of some is with Amazon magazine and ebook credits. When you check out your next Amazon order, if it’s not time sensitive you can elect to receive your parcels a little bit later and Amazon will give you a few dollars credit to spend in their magazine and e-book store. I do this often and the credits build up, so I ordered a bunch of magazines for my vision board this year for free.
Once you have your magazines, then comes the fun part! Lay out your large piece of poster paper, and look for visual representations of your dreams and aspirations in the magazines. Find and cut out the images that represent your goals, and arrange them on the poster board. The most important goals should have the most prominence on your board - so duplicates are completely OK if it's an important goal for you.
Add in keywords and phrases, and/or words of encouragement to yourself. Try not to overdo the number of words, so that the vision board is mostly pictures. You will be looking at this board on a regular basis, and images are quicker to take in than words.
The vision board is complete when you feel that it represents all of your dreams and goals. Choose a prominent place to display it (a place that you will look at almost every day), and you're all set!
- Personal: Career, financial, education, family, art, attitude, physical, fun, public service
- Time Range: Set a variety of time ranges for your goals - ones you can achieve this week, this month, this quarter, within 6 months, this year, and even in greater than 1 year.
- Set SMART goals: Specific, measurable (or meaningful), attainable (or action-oriented), relevant (or rewarding), time-bound (or trackable)
How to Host a Virtual Vision Board Party
A vision board party is an event organized with friends, where the goal is to each create your own vision board by the end of the party. My 2020 guide outlines how to do one in person, but for this year I’m offering a virtual version.
Why do it with others? Because friends offer inspiration and insight into our future goals, as well as fun company! It always helps to talk things out - bounce ideas off each other, offer advice, and enjoy some positive affirmation as you each plan your ideal lives.
If you are hosting a virtual vision board party, set aside 3 hours when your guests can come together and you can work together undisturbed. Let them know that the spirit of the evening is to think about their future goals, and everyone should come positive and open-minded.
You can use a variety of video call tools to host the party - Zoom, Facetime, Google Meet, Skype… whichever you prefer. It’s good to be able to talk and see each other’s faces as you trade ideas.
Ask your guests to have ready any and all magazines they have and any specific visual elements that they want to include in their vision board. You can send them the list of supplies they might need to gather ahead of time (or mail them some supplies as a holiday gift!)
It’s a nice idea to make your vision boards together and then present them to one another at the end, so that you can each say your goals out loud and talk them through.
How to Create a Virtual Vision Board
I think the easiest and most intuitive way to make a virtual vision board is to use one of my favorite tools, Pinterest. The aesthetic functions like a vision board already, and it’s easy to move pins around in the design and hierarchy that you want.
Start by creating a new board and name it accordingly, I went with “2021 Vision Board” in my example. Then you can start building the pins that represent your goals. I like to cycle through my goal areas: travel, career, home and personal, and find pins that accurately show my goals. Remember not to be too literal with the images, as long as the sentiment behind the goal is represented and you know what it means, it works. Vision boards are for you to love and feel inspired by, no-one else! You can pin ideas from within Pinterest, but you also have the whole of the internet at your disposal to add images and pin ideas from different websites.
If you want to see an example, view mine here: 2021 Vision Board
Some other options for a virtual vision board include Canva, VisuApp, PowerPoint, PicMonkey… there’s many great visual board tools available. Use whatever works best for you!
Thinking about the future may seem daunting right now, and the thought of making a vision board may not produce as much excitement as in previous years. However, I believe it’s even more important to do this when motivation and morale is low, to remind you of the things that you want and are looking forward to. Visualizing the future is powerful, and I encourage everyone to give it a try.