How to create a vision board that actually helps you get what you want out of life

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The INSIDER’s summary:

• Developing a “vision board” is one way to visualize goals for yourself.
• One way to create an effective board is to find pictures that call to action.
• Remember to include yourself on the board and visualize the process of achieving goals.


Vision board, dream board, success card, life collage. No matter what you call it, these projects are more than just a physical manifestation of a Pinterest board. For some, they can be life changing.

The concept of a visual approach to achieving goals entered mainstream culture with the help of Oprah, prime-time comedies, and hundreds of thousands of YouTube videos.

To understand what a vision board is and how a newbie should approach the idea, Tech Insider spoke to Joyce Schwarz, a serial entrepreneur who is the best-selling author of “The Vision Board”, published by Harper Collins. in 2009. Schwarz is also an emerging media consultant and works to train Certified Vision Board Coaches around the world.

Joyce Schwarz Vision Board Example

An example of a vision board from Schwarz’s book Joyce Schwarz / The Vision Board

According to Schwarz, paintings are “a visual map that you create to design your best possible future.”

His site dedicated to explaining vision boards goes on to explain that “vision boards come in all shapes and styles and can be made from any substance ranging from paper to canvas to fabrics. actual murals and mobile versions for iPod and iPhone ”.

But most of the people who make vision boards go for classic collage. “Make the first visualization board by hand,” recommends Schwarz. “You know – cut and paste it with scissors, tear up pictures from magazines by hand. “

What is happening on the set?

Don drape meditation mad men

AMC
Visualizing is no different from meditation, just placing more emphasis on imagery in conjunction with self-reflection.

First of all, you need a vision! (Duh.)

Sit down with the intention of creating the board and clear your mind first. “The vision board gives you that time to go to totally blue skies, totally beyond what you think is possible,” Schwarz explained.

Here are the key, simplified steps:

  • Acquire several different types of magazines – you will need 3 to 5 of them, and make sure you don’t buy the publications you usually read. Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Flip through them looking only at the pictures – now is not the time to read. Go through each magazine once, then go back and cut out the photos that caught your eye. Everything is going!
  • Arrange the images and view them from different angles – spend time with them. Rearrange their order, walk around the table looking at them.
  • Note potential actions based on the images – it can be life opportunities or destinations. Think about the qualities of life shown in the photos you have chosen, or the actions and travel destinations you want to take.

You need to think about what you want to accomplish, what you want your life (or your career or your business, whatever your board topic is) to look like in three months or a year. You choose the focus and the timing, and go from there.

“[Vision boards are] a way to go from A to Z, but you start from Z and go back in order to have a clear picture of what you’re building, ”Schwarz said. She used the analogy of a GPS in the car. You can program a GPS, enter the destination, and plot a route, but you will still need to drive the car.

“This is not a wish list where you put a picture of a Coach handbag,” Schwarz pointed out. Instead, the idea is to use images that remind you of what you want to achieve. “Visual reminders are really crucial,” she said. “Pictures evoke feelings, feelings are the reasons we change our lives, the reasons we change behavior.”

Here is my vision board!

Vision Board 2016 Kim's

My 2016 vision board (done in the wrong way). Kim Renfro / Technical Insider

I did a vision board in 2016, before talking to Schwarz. Disclaimer: My kitsch example falls into the category of how NOT to make vision boards.

My mom’s birthday is New Years Eve, a good time to look forward to next year and decide what you would like to accomplish (hence “resolutions”). Every year at her birthday party, we set up a craft table with tons of old magazines, stickers, markers, and glue sticks. I’ve done one every time, but never with the full self-awareness that you need to have when approaching this type of project.

Something I forgot to add to the board? Me. Schwarz says you have to be in the center of your board, really immersing yourself in the vision. It all depends on what YOU want, after all.

This brings us to the real science behind this advice, and what some people get it wrong. Besides forgetting to include yourself, as Schwarz pointed out, vision boards are not a wish list. If you are planning a trip to Mexico (like I did), a plane ticket won’t fall out of the sky and in your lap.

Psychologists explored this error in studies with students who wanted to do well on exams, where it was clear that visualizing a results was less effective than visualizing the to treat to achieve the result. For example, students who spent time imagining studying and learning the material performed better than students who simply visualized seeing an “A” on their tests.

woman studying

It can be essential to focus on the process rather than the results. Flickr / Francisco Osorio

So for inclusion in my table of a trip to Mexico, it would have been safer for me to include money saving pictures or practice my rusty Spanish vocabulary.

Dr. Jeremy Dean explained more in a blog post for PsyBlog. “One of the reasons that just visualizing a result doesn’t work is the planning error,” he writes. “It’s our perfectly normal assumption that everything will be a lot easier than it actually will be.”

But you can avoid this mistake when creating a vision board by bringing self-awareness to the project first. Take the time to reflect on your current situation in life and how you feel, and project those feelings into the future with new ideas for actions you would like to accomplish. Don’t just spend an afternoon writing a wish list.

As Schwarz says, “Your life, your career and your business are up for grabs, and it’s up to you to co-create them with the universe. “

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