A dream I’ve harboured for a long time is to be able to plan for the future. I don’t consider myself much of a planner; I go about my life making one spontaneous decision after another.
But that’s something I really want to change about myself in 2021.
The idea of planning my future sounds more appealing to me as I grow older. I’m always unsure of where to start, but I like the idea of having a set of actionable items to keep me more focussed on a goal.
Tired of thinking of planners and to-do lists (that make the already anxious me even more anxious), I looked to the internet for help.
That’s when I came across some gorgeous, Instagram-worthy to-do lists: Vision boards! YouTube is dense with people making their own personal vision boards that they’ve decorated beautifully. I delved deeper into the logic behind vision boards – turns out, they can be super helpful to anyone who wants to be reminded of their goals regularly!
Whether it’s a financial goal you want to fulfil or just a good habit you want to develop over time, making a vision board is a fun, stimulating way to get it done!
What Is A Vision Board?
A vision board is a physical, visual manifestation of your dreams and goals. It is a collage of images, quotes, photographs, and written ideas that you would, one day, want to see come alive.
What makes a vision board appealing is that it’s more than just a bunch of points in a list – it is a visual representation of your dreams, which can influence you positively since you’re seeing it instead of just imagining it.
A to-do list has your goals written in words; a vision board has pictures that represent your goals.
Making a vision board is an incredibly fun process – scouting for the ‘perfect’ image or quote and crafting can have an optimistic effect on you, which can make you more determined to achieve your goals. Your vision board is a representation of your personal goals and dreams, and it can be as unique as you want it to be!
Imagine this – you have a vague idea of what you want to achieve in the next 6 months. You know you really want to achieve said thing. You also feel like you’re getting there gradually, but you’re not dedicating time or energy to it specifically. It’s basically a sort-of-important thing for you, but you aren’t motivated to fulfil the goal.
This is where your vision board can propel you forward.
Remember that a vision board isn’t just about what you will achieve, it is also about how you will feel when your dreams come true.
The feel-good emotional energy that this exercise generates is what sets it apart from other goal-setting exercises, and also provides you with the fuel to succeed.
Now that I’ve gotten you excited to make a vision board, here’s how you can systematically go about it.
How To Make A Vision Board To Fulfil Your Professional And Personal Goals
Since a vision board requires crafting, you’re going to need some basic craft supplies:
- A board – cardboard or a foam board would work best
- Tape or glue
- Old or new magazines and newspapers
- Your computer (to find more specific images and quotes)
- A printer to print out images
- A pair of scissors
- Accessories such as clips, pins, coloured tape, etc. to decorate your board
Start with a positive, affirmative mindset
What came through during my research on vision boards is how deeply they are connected to the ‘law of attraction’ – something we’ve all heard about at some point owing to the massively popular book, The Secret. The law of attraction basically states that positive or negative thoughts can bring positive or negative experiences in one’s life, which is why it’s essential to manifest positive thoughts to achieve one’s goals.
When you’re optimistic about the goals and dreams you’re listing down, you’re sending positive vibes into the universe – this can, in turn, give you what you desire.
It’s really up to you whether you want to believe this logic while you’re making your vision board, but it doesn’t hurt to start with a positive mindset since this is going to be something you’ll be looking at every single day. After all, a dose of optimism can take you one step closer to achieving your goals.
When you’re making your vision board, remember not to do it hastily. Enjoy the entire process – from scouting to cutting and finding a place for the image on the board. Crafting the board is just as exciting as following it. Take some time on a weekend, put on some soothing, happy music, and craft your vision board.
Make a list of your goals, and get specific
Ironically, I’m asking you to make a to-do list first. But hear me out – this isn’t like any other to-do list; it’s a workable list that you will definitely have to get into the specifics of. First things first, you’re going to list down the vague goals you have on your radar. My list, for example, looks like this:
If I leave my list like this, I won’t be able to actually cross these points off because there’s nothing specific written about the goals. How much more money do I want? What do I want it for? Where do I want to travel to?
Your final goal should be specific and have reasoning behind it.
After giving it some thought, here’s what the specifics of my above-mentioned goals look like:
By the end of 2021, I should:
Get a salary hike of 40%
Take a trip to Sri Lanka and Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Run a 10k without a break
Have a by-line in at least 3 well-known publications
Turning your dreams into workable, actionable items can make you feel like your dream is much closer to you than you think.
Looking at the current pandemic situation (and my bank balance, sigh), imagining a trip to Sri Lanka and Andamans seems impossible. But putting it on a vision board and combining it with other goals (such as making more money) gives me a direction.
So, the next time you negotiate your rates as a freelancer, you’re going to make sure to quote a better price and work harder to be able to earn more, thus getting closer to your goal!
Figure out your goal
It need not be a 1-year goal – you could narrow it or broaden it according to how urgently you want to achieve it.
You could make a 6-month vision board and then decide what you’d like to do for the next 6 months, as goals can change. You can even make different vision boards for your personal and professional life. However, remember that it is most likely that your personal and professional goals will align at some point, so having one board is a great way to remember that you need to have a fulfilling personal life along with your professional life.
Most people make vision boards at the start of the year and modify them along the way. Try to make your vision board as specific as possible from the start so you don’t feel the need to constantly change it. Make sure your plans are broad enough to handle some change but specific enough for you to follow through.
Visualise and start creating
Now that you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to visualise! This is the most fun part of the exercise. Make use of magazines and newspapers to find pictures that represent your goals.
Since Sri Lanka is where I want to travel, I would look for pictures of Galle Fort, the beaches, their native cuisine or the elephants to put in my vision board. Since I know that Havelock Islands are a specific place I want to go to stargaze in the Andamans, I would find images of the place and stick them on to my vision board.
The goal is specific; it should be represented with that specificity.
As for my professional goals, since I want a by-line in 3 well-known publications, I would get into the specifics – The Soup, The Goya Journal, and Scroll. To visualise that, I would stick pictures of their logos to make the feeling more pronounced. I could even go a little deeper and paste the titles of the articles I loved the most in each publication – that would inspire me to write as well as those writers did.
You can choose anything and everything that inspires you. Don’t find something that is generally inspirational; choose something that inspires you specifically.
If buying a car is in your vision board for 2021, don’t put an image of just a car; pick the exact model you want, in your favourite colour. Stick an inspirational quote that you associate with buying a car.
Make every section of your vision board inspiring and worth looking at every day.
Take printouts if you can’t find a specific image in a magazine; you can print out your images on glossy, thick paper instead of regular paper to make your board come alive. Decorate the borders, or turn your board into a foam board to stick pins into.
The idea is to make this vision board a representation of yourself.
After your vision board is complete, find a good place for it. Set it up in a place that you pass by every day; a wall in your room that you face, for instance. This board should be set up as a reminder for you to achieve your goals.
Remember that you will have to sit down with your vision board at least once a week to see how you’re doing.
A vision board is a fun way to bring your vague goals to life. As a procrastinator, I find it hard to stick to one goal or follow through with one – a vision board can break down our larger-than-life goals into smaller, actionable bits. Not to mention, the visual appeal itself can be super encouraging!
Have you ever made a vision board? How has that helped you? Have you been successful? Tell us in the comments below!
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