When it comes to your ultimate goals, sometimes you really have to see it to believe it. Whether it’s backpacking across another country or dreaming about your ultimate job and what it will take to get there, a little visualization can go a long way.
Although there’s no way to verify this, the concept of planting the seeds for success through positive visualization or guided imagery has inspired everyone from pro sports teams, Pinterest users and the author of The Secret, a bestselling book about The Law of Attraction — or the idea that getting clear in your mind about what you want allows you to manifest that thing in reality.
Let’s say you’re willing to give it a try — how do you actually go about crafting a vision board that speaks to what you really want deep down?
Keep your goals in mind
You have to know where you’re coming from to know where you’re going.
“The idea behind this is that when you surround yourself with images of who you want to become, what you want to have, where you want to live, or where you want to vacation, your life changes to match those images and those desires,” Christine Kane, author of the book, “The Complete Guide to Vision Boards,” writes.
“No matter which method you’re choosing, how to make a vision board that is right for you should be started with a little ritual. Sit quietly and set the intent. With lots of kindness and openness, ask yourself what it is you want,” Kane explains. “This process makes it a deeper experience. It gives a chance for your ego to step aside just a little so that you can more clearly create your vision.”
Don’t let every image fool you
Life coach Martha Beck says if you’re planning to fill your vision board with glossy magazine ads of red convertibles, diamond rings, McMansions and models with impossible abs, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment — because odds are, they’re not what you really, authentically, desire.
“Many people hear the basic instructions — ‘Find pictures of things you want in your life and stick ’em where you can see ’em’—and create virtually identical collages: a wad of cash, a handsome husband, a gorgeous body, a luxury car, a tropical beach,” she writes, “Snore. These images constitute our culture’s idea of the good life. Even a rich, happily married beauty queen with a Porsche in the driveway and a house on the ocean will crank out this same damn vision board. This has no juice at all. To really work, a vision board has to come not from your culture but from your primordial, nonsocial self—the genetically unique animal/angel that contains your innate preferences.
Don’t forget that vision boards are more than just images
But it’s not all about the images — in this video, Chicken Soup for the Soul author and success coach Jack Canfield mentions that you can also include symbols, photos of yourself having a good time in the past, quotes, affirmations, and pictures of material things you’d also like. He says you can make a “career vision board” to keep at work, and a personal one to keep at home, among other points.
Don’t harp on material things
“This is not a wishlist where you put a picture of a Coach purse. The visual reminders are really crucial. Images evoke feelings, feelings are the reasons we change our lives, the reasons we change behavior,” she said.
Pay attention to how the images make you feel.
Don’t just look at it, do something about it
Vision boards aren’t rocket science. But they do require a commitment to make changes in your mindset and in your life.
As Martha Beck explains, “Sparking your incredibly powerful creative faculty is the reason you make a vision board. The board itself doesn’t impact reality; what changes your life is the process of creating the images — combinations of objects and events that will stick in your subconscious mind and steer your choices toward making the vision real.”
Susan Steinbrecher, CEO of the Texas-based management consulting firm Steinbrecher and Associates, writes in Entrepreneur that “Essentially, creating a vision board or using a vision journal means you are projecting your own productive endgame.”
“But it would be foolish to believe that just because you consistently visualize something, it will magically appear on your front doorstep. Your vision must accompany steps to bring your dreams to fruition. The vision board or journal simply acts as a catalyst for change. It is always a balance between vision and action,” she explains.
Shoot for the stars
Don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big. Only you know what you want the most, so have no shame! Load your board(s) with things that will spark your creativity, and help you come up with ways to achieve those goals. After all, life’s too short to limit yourself.
This article was first published on September 28, 2017.