Vision boarding is an artsy, inspiring way of helping you visualize your goals. A vision board serves as a powerful reminder of your aspirations and passions, enabling you to align your desires with your long-term goals and become the best version of yourself. Here are five easy steps to help you get started and create a vision board and goal-oriented system unique to you.
01. Personalize your vision board. Use any combination of images, drawings, positive words, and lists that capture your desires and goals for the different areas of your life: career, health and wellness, family and friends, spirituality, travel, volunteering and advocacy, and other interests. These areas may be weighed differently depending on what is most important to you and what you hope to accomplish over the next year.
- Images – Scan through magazines and newspapers and cut out the images that pop out at you. As you peruse magazines, think about what energizes and motivates you. You can always whittle down pictures later after you begin laying them out on your vision board.
- Drawings and Diagrams – If you are artistic and prefer to draw your own pictures, and diagrams, do what feels natural for you!
- Affirmatory Words and Quotes – What are the song lyrics, quotes, and positive words that inspire you? Consider creating a word cloud using a tool, such as Wordle, in which you can customize the colors, fonts, and layout to fit your style and vision.
- Personal Knickknacks – Instead of tossing out the brochures from the modern art museum opening you attended last year or filing away the thoughtful note you received from a close friend, display them on your vision board. Like a song that instantly takes you back to a favorite memory, these personal items serve as a reminder of your most meaningful moments and the family and friends with whom you shared these life-giving moments.
02. Lay out and narrow down the items for your vision board. Here’s where you start sorting through the images, quotes, and other items you’ve collected and think about what makes the final cut. Ask yourself what captures the areas of your life that you love and care about the most? What represents your deepest desires and goals? Arrange these on your vision board, leaving some white space if you want to make any updates or changes during the year.
03. Write down your 5 major goals for the year. Looking at your vision board, list your 5 most important goals for the year. You may start with listing 15-20 goals, but hone in on the 5 goals that you will focus on and achieve before spending time on any other goals or interests. A notebook or journal may be helpful, or you can write these goals on your vision board.
04. Design a system to achieve each goal. Now that you have created your vision board and written down your goals, use it to develop a system that will enable you to accomplish your long-term goals. Studies suggest that outlining specific plans promote goal achievement. Like a marathon runner who designs a 30-week training schedule to build their strength and stamina for running 26.2 miles, developing a system that integrates smoothly with your schedule is essential for achieving your goals. In devising your system, consider your time constraints, stimulus for action, working environment, and peak productivity time.
- Consider your peak productivity time. Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, think about the time of day that you feel most energized and productive. For me, I think most clearly in the morning, and I write for 1-2 hours when I first wake up. Waking up at 5am and having this consistently set aside time helps to habituate writing into my schedule, avoiding the pitfalls of starting the day later and getting distracted by checking email, text messages, or social media accounts.
- Create a positive working environment. Stack the deck in your favor and design a work space that helps you be productive and focus. If you work best in a coffee shop with some background noise, go there to do work and put away any distractions for that time you have set aside in your schedule. For me, I work at my dining table and stream pop symphony music, enabling me to focus entirely on the task at hand.
- Nourish your mind. To be at peak performance, consider the healthy foods and 5-minute exercises that energize you and improve your concentration. Scrambled eggs, oatmeal with blueberries, a green smoothie—these healthy breakfast foods take only 5-10 minutes to prepare in the morning but can have lasting effects on your performance and energy levels throughout the day.
- Designate a cue for action. Getting started can often be the hardest part! Finding a stimulus that can act as a reminder will help to integrate this new activity into your routine. For me, making coffee in the morning is a trigger to begin writing for the day.
- Bundle activities. To help combat the reluctance to get started, think about bundling so you are doing certain enjoyable activities only when you’re engaging in the new behavior related to your goal. Watching Game of Thrones only when you’re cooking a healthy meal in the kitchen or reading People magazine only when you’re using a stationary bike at the gym are two examples of bundling a favorite activity with a new behavior.
05. Start small and integrate the new system into your routine right away. Starting small with bite-sized tasks will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by attempting to multi-task and manage too much too quickly. When I began writing again, I started writing 2-3 sentences a day and gradually increased my writing volume each week. It takes time to reprioritize and understand the trade-offs of spending less time on other areas of your life. Starting small and focusing just on the week ahead will help you to make gradual adjustments to your schedule and build momentum for working towards these goals day-by-day.
Creating a vision board, writing down your goals, and developing a system to achieve these goals will help you to visualize your goals and take small, manageable steps everyday towards meeting them. Hang your vision board in your bedroom so you see it when you first wake up or display the poster in your work space, but make sure it is somewhere that you will see it everyday. Surrounding yourself with bright images, positive words, and artwork that reflects your passions, interests, and goals will keep you inspired and focused to work towards your goals consistently throughout the year.