As the saying goes: “seeing is believing.” Being able to see a way forward, to visualize success, can make your goals and future plans seem less abstract and more attainable. Being able to point to an image and say, “I want that/I want to go there/I want to BE that,” could help focus your attention and give you an actionable goal to work toward. Making a vision board could help enable that process of visualization and goal achievement.
What Are Vision Boards?
Vision boards (also sometimes called dream boards) are a visualization tool that can be used for long-term planning and to motivate you to achieve major life goals. You can create a vision board with photos, drawings, magazine clippings, and other scrapbooking materials; you can also make them online. A vision board can be focused entirely around one specific goal or could visualize several different goals. Common goals/themes for vision boards include:
- Social goals
One of the benefits to making a vision board is that it helps you reflect on and clarify your values and priorities. Where do you want to be? Who do you want to be? What aspects of your life can be improved? What do you dream about that is within your power to achieve? Finding a way to visualize these hopes and dreams is the fun part. Don’t worry if you’re not an “artsy” person: even a cloud of words about your goals can be a powerful motivator.
There is still research being conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of vision boards. What makes vision boards useful is the motivation they provide. Seeing your goals clearly laid out in front of you gives you a visual reminder of what you hope to achieve and what you need to work toward. Studies have found that working toward achieving goals can reduce stress. Having a plan in life and pursuing it gives you purpose and drive, which can help mitigate depression and anxiety.
Types of Vision Boards
When it comes to putting a vision board together, there are several different options:
- Collages: Poster board or cork board are usually the default medium for physical vision boards. Another option is to get a trifold presentation board which gives you more space and multiple planes to illustrate and adorn.
- Digital boards: Pinterest is VERY well-suited for making vision boards. You can make multiple boards with ease. Apps like Trello can also be used to put boards together if you’re doing a more text-based vision board. You can also design a lock screen/background image for your computer or phone to serve as a constant reminder of your aspirations.
- Bullet journals: Bullet journals are a fun and efficient way to track your daily progress, monitor your goals, and journal in a uniquely structured way. They can also be a great place to put a vision board.
- Dream walls: a more complicated but aesthetically pleasing version of vision boarding is the “dream wall” where you paint/draw/print your vision board on a glass panel that you mount on your wall. This is a good option for long-term goals you probably won’t be changing over the next few years.
A variation on the vision board is the action board. Whereas the vision board serves to offer a visual representation of where you want to be, an action board specifically gives you prompts on how to get there. Consider an action board to be a cross between a vision board and a to-do list, something that has both visuals to aspire toward as well as breakdowns of concrete actions you can take to make them a reality.
For example: let’s say you want to go to Hawaii someday. You may have a photo or two of Hawaii on a vision board. You could have the same photo(s) on an action board, but on the action board you’ll also have info on what you’ll need to do to get to Hawaii: ticket prices, hotel prices, the amount of money you’ll need to save to cover the trip, etc.
Location, Location, Location
An important factor to consider in making a vision board is where you’ll place it. It should be in “high traffic” for you, whether it’s a physical or digital board. It should be something that you see multiple times every day. It’s preferable to have the vision board be in a quiet, well-lit area where it doesn’t have much else around it to draw focus away from the board. When you’re looking at the board it should be the center of attention, the star attraction that to be your guiding star in life. Have a comfy chair nearby or a cozy mat on the floor to relax on when you want to contemplate the board at length.
Meditate On The Vision
If you practice meditation and/or mindfulness, your vision board can serve double duty as a focal point or object of concentration. Some forms of meditation call for focusing on an object like a candle or a written phrase as you work to clear your mind. You can use your vision board for that purpose, honing your attention on it while you still that chattering “monkey mind” and relax your body.