You started off the new year with a bang. Those goals are still shiny, attainable things that you still have passion for. You’re waking up early, eating better, and working out. Things are going great.
I hate to burst that bubble, but I think you know what’s coming. We are just ten days into the new year but that inevitable bump is just around the corner. You might not see it, at least right now because things are so great, but you know deep down I’m right. You’re going to hit a moment where the negative thinking comes in, the goals aren’t easy anymore, and the motivation and focus flies out the window.
What if we could find ways to make that bump a little smaller? What if we could clarify our goals, achieve better concentration, and maintain focus on our goals?
A vision board is exactly that — a visual tool to help you see your goals and keep motivation up so you can stay on track. It’s a collection of inspirational and positive items that remind you of your goal so you can achieve it. By visualizing our goals, and seeing them in front of us, we can strive to complete them.
Let me preface my vision board article with this: No, I’m not going to go into the pseudoscience, bullshit called the Law of Attraction. For those unfamiliar, it states that positive thinking brings about positive experiences and negative thinking brings about negative experiences. That’s not scientific and it’s not proven, it’s just annoying. If we could look at a collection of pictures all day and suddenly have our goal complete, we’d be doing it more often.
While a vision board is often viewed as this bright, positive source of inspiration, it is not going to magically help you get everything you want just by looking at it every day. Visualization is a powerful tool, and it can be very motivational, but without proper action toward your goals, you are never going to achieve them.
So, if you’re ready to use a vision board to visualize your goals and continue to take action to get there, here is how you can make one that works for you.
Determine your intentions
The first step is figuring out what that goal is, and making that goal clear. For example, my 2020 goal is to make this my writing year. My vision board will therefore have a lot of writing inspiration on it.
Without setting intention, your vision board is going to start to get cluttered. Just because I like something doesn’t mean it belongs on my vision board (I can make a separate “happy” board with all my cat pictures). Make your goals clear so your vision board can be focused.
Clarify the medium
Vision boards are meant to be visible, so many people opt for a physical board. You can make it whatever size you want, color and design it, and have complete control over where you put it. It is entirely up to you.
While most people prefer a physical board, there are other options. Pinterest is of course an excellent tool and is essentially a vision board platform. You can pin links, photos, quotes, and more. This is my preferred method simply because I like the site and it’s flexibility.
Instagram is another option. You have the option to save photos to a collection that you create. I use Instagram as curated inspiration for other things, but you can create your vision board by looking up hashtags and saving photos. My strategy when searching is to collect the photos and then save to my Pinterest board.
Find your content
Once you’ve decided where your vision board is going to be stored, it’s time to find the content you want to put on it. Start by collecting everything — and I mean everything. Cut out images, words, and phrases from magazines, store links with inspirational content, save photos and quotes you love, and gather songs or other sources of inspiration. The possibilities are endless. Collect what helps you focus on your goal.
Remember, the point of a vision board takes a little more than focusing on the final point. Pick pieces of content that also relate to the steps you might have to take so you can get to that goal.
My example of a writing year vision board will include photos, quotes, songs, and headlines that inspire me to write. It also will include things that will help me with my steps to get to that writing year, such as daily writing topics, sources of writing ideas, the steps to publishing, and the ability to continue adding to my board as the inspiration is discovered. I can always add pins to my board, and if you choose the physical route, you can leave space at the bottom of your board for more content or you can extend your board with more paper.
Arrange your inspiration
The next step is arranging your inspiration how you want it. With a physical board, once you glue things down, it’s done. You can always create new ones throughout the year, but finding all your content beforehand helps you arrange your goal how you want it. Or you can throw that system out the window and just paste them on as you find it.
Pinterest allows you to arrange your content as well. Find an order that works for you. Maybe you go chronologically by steps to reach your final goal or perhaps you prefer to group by color or type of content. Make it what you want.
Make it visible
The point of a vision board is to make it visible and to look at it often. With a physical board, that’s easy. You can set it up in the bathroom, next to your bed, or in your office. Take a picture of it with your phone so it’s always with you. Look at it often to remind yourself what you’re trying to accomplish. Consistency is key if you want to achieve your goals.
The only caveat to my vision board is that Pinterest is not always right in front of you. If you choose to go this online route, think about how you can visualize your board often. I make the Pinterest board my homepage so I see it whenever I open my browser. You can also take screenshots if you’re working with a specific part of your board.
A vision board for your goals is more than just a photo or quote collection. It can help create intention, motivate, and help you stay on task with a goal. When that bump comes along, all you have to do is look at your vision board, remember why you are working at this goal, find the next step, and take action. Visualization is powerful, but only if you also clarify the steps needed to get to your goal and put in the work.
View my Writing Year 2020 vision board here, updated whenever I feel inspired!