- What is a vision board?
- What is the use of a vision board?
- How to create a vision board
- What should a vision board include?
- Vision board ideas and examples
- Does a vision board work?
- Checklist for vision boards
- How to make a vision board online
What is a vision board?
A vision board is a collection of images and text which visually represent your goals and dreams. They’re powerful in motivating you to keep working towards your goals especially when you need to put in consistent effort over the long term.
When you start a new job, move to a new house, or commence a new year, you aim to achieve very many things. But over time, you tend to relax and return to your old ways. You kick yourself thinking, “Damn it, wish I …,” with the sentence completing with the goal you failed to achieve.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a tool or a technique that can help you stay on track? That’s where vision boards step in.
They’re simple to implement and more effective when self-made.
What is the use of a vision board?
A vision board is a way to depict your goal using images and text as shown below.
Among all their benefits, two major ones stand out.
1. Provides visualization
Vision boards, also called dream boards are a visualization tool. Many of the Olympic winning athletes have reported an improved mental state when they visualize performing the way they want to before the event.
The feeling of already being in the spot helps reduce anxiety and nervousness. It can also help you boost your confidence.
2. Serves as a constant reminder:
When you place your vision board within your line of sight, you constantly remind yourself about the goals you want to achieve. In today’s busy world, various tasks and responsibilities call for your attention day in and day out. If you allow the flow to dictate your day, you’ll end up postponing the goals you genuinely care about.
On that specific day, it seems like a simple act of procrastination, but over time, you pile on the disappointment. After years go by, you curse yourself for not chasing your dreams and live a life of regret.
A vision board reminds you each day about the goals you care about. It works like a compass pointing you towards your true north.
How to create a vision board
You can use a vision board to depict your goals for your entire lifetime goals or a smaller period like a year. A common practice is to have two separate vision boards – one for the long term and one for the calendar year.
You can use the following 4 step process to create a vision board irrespective of the goals you’re aiming to achieve.
Step 1: List down the most important goals
As the first step, put together the goals that mean the most to you. Most people tend to think about their professional goals alone, but make sure you include all the other aspects of your life such as:
Feel free to include other categories that are important to you.
A common mistake is to list down a bazillion goals. If you feel the urge to do so, you should know that as you increase the number of targets, you feel overwhelmed and give up on all of them.
As an alternate approach, you can write down all your goals to begin with and narrow down once you have the entire list in front of you. Though there is no right number, picking your top six serves as a good rule of thumb.
Step 2. Represent each goal with a picture
For the goals listed from step 1, think of a way to represent it as a picture. Don’t worry about finding the image for now. You can draw a rough sketch or jot down the idea for the picture.
If you cannot figure out a way to represent the goal as a picture, close your eyes and think of your target. What do you see in your mind? You can use that image to depict your goal.
Here are a few examples:
- Earn 10 million dollars – A bag of money
- Buying a RollsRoyce – A real image of the car
- Improve your fitness – A person jogging
- Start your business – A person wearing a suit
- Taking two vacations a year – An airplane
- Better relationship with your partner – Your happy photo as a couple
No representation is a bad representation as far as you can relate to the message. After all, it’s your vision board.
Step 3. Find images and put them on a board
Now that you have a list of depictions, go ahead and bring them to life. You have to find real pictures and put them together. If you don’t know how, you can:
- Search on the internet and print them
- Find them in magazines/newspapers and cut them out
- Draw them yourself if you’re good at sketching
I prefer creating a vision board without magazines because finding the right picture from a pile of books and newspapers takes a lot of time. But, I know people who enjoy hunting for pictures. You can choose whatever suits you best.
Once you have all the required images, make a collage.
Different people use different methods to put the images together, such as:
- A bulletin board on the wall(most common and recommended)
- A large greeting card, a piece of cardboard, styrofoam(thermocol)
- Sticking on the wall or cubicle directly
You can also opt for an online vision board, but a physical one yields better results.
Irrespective of the method most comfortable to you, add text, quotes, and any other content which makes the content resonate with you.
Step 4. Place it at a visible place
One of the primary purposes of the vision board is to remind you about the goals you’re aiming for. Therefore, you must place it at a location that falls within your line of sight on most days. If you make a vision board and leave it in a cupboard, you’re defeating the whole purpose.
Try to place it on the walls of the room you visit often or next to your work desk. If you have a cubicle, you can find a spot to set your board there.
Don’t make your dream board once and forget all about it. Find the best place such that you can peek at it every now and then. If you find a spot that forces you to see it every day, even better. You’ll find the motivation you need to go after your goals.
What should a vision board include?
The contents of a vision board are subjective because each person has their preference. If you’ve never created a vision board before, here are 3 major components for your reference.
1. Midterm and long term goals
Including your goals is stating the obvious. When you add your dreams and targets on the vision board, include only those which take effort to accomplish. Do not turn your vision board into a physical to-do list. If the project takes less than a month to complete, it doesn’t deserve a spot on your board.
If you like, you can make multiple boards too. I have one for my annual targets and another for my long term goals.
Collecting/printing pictures can seem daunting for you. So, you might prefer to depict your goals with written text alone. Don’t commit that mistake. Your brain processes images and text differently.
When you drive past a large billboard, pictures make intuitive sense to you, don’t they? But for text, you have to pause for a split second to read and then make a quick analysis. Though you can make sense of text within a snap of the fingers, understanding a picture is more natural.
Whenever you peek at your vision board, you’ll relate to the images quicker than you do with the text. So, add as many pictures as possible. Colored images make the feel all the more appealing.
3. Supporting Text
Feel free to include text to add context to your images. For example, if you want to purchase a Rolls-Royce, you can add a picture and mention ‘by 2025’. For building a better relationship with your partner, add a quote above the picture which says, ‘Lived Happily Ever After.’
Let your imagination run loose. There are no hard and fast rules about the right content to write or quotes to use.
Some prefer using a thick marker to make the text stand out while others choose a thin tip for neat handwriting. Adding background color using a set of sketch pens is another trend people follow. You can pick one or more of such techniques based on your preference.
Vision board ideas and examples
Here are different vision board versions that will serve as an inspiration and help you come up with ideas. Do not use them as a blueprint and copy them dot to dot. Use the ideas you like and come up with your own template. Vision boards work best when you’ve personalized them to your taste and interests.
A board fixed on the wall
As a substitute, you can buy a bulletin board from Amazon to affix pictures and text.
Using the wall itself
You can use a wall as your vision board if you don’t mind hurting the paint on it.
If you want the wall paint to remain intact for the future, you can use a frame to stick your pictures
You can use a large greeting card or a notebook/dairy as well
If you have a large cardboard box, you can cut off one of the sides and stick your images on it.
The above examples are only a direction. Use your creativity to come up with your vision board considering your circumstances, space, and interests.
Does a vision board work?
A vision board may or may not help you achieve your goals. If you keep it at a visible location, the constant reminder can activate your Reticular Activation System[RAS] to prioritize the right tasks which help you achieve your target.
But, a vision board isn’t a guarantee to motivate you to get started or finish the required job. Many achievers can complete one task after another and achieve their goals without needing any board to remind them. For some others who battle procrastination daily, even the very best vision board changes nothing.
The bottom line is, vision boards work exceptionally well for some and make no difference to some others. You have to try it out yourself and evaluate the results.
Don’t dismiss the idea of vision boards because you read an article that condemned them. Keep an open mind, and experiment with different approaches. Use your experience to decide which techniques to stick to and which ones to drop.
Checklist for vision boards
If you’ve never created a vision board before, the checklist below can trigger your memory about an item/goal that you’d like to include.
I’d like to remind you to not give in to the temptation of including too many goals. Start with a wide array of items and narrow down to the top 6.
Type of goals to achieve
- Long term
- A bucket list of things to do
How would you like to feel?
You can include an emotional state of mind that you’d like to achieve. For example, if you have frequent negative thoughts, you can aim to achieve a positive mental state.
Giving – Volunteer/charity/gratitude
If you want to participate in volunteering or charity to give back to the world
Have a purpose
Make sure you have a purpose behind each target. Don’t add a goal because it’d feel nice to tick it off the list. Know your why for each of your targets.
Make it entirely about you
Don’t create the vision board(or add targets) to impress others. Your dream board should help you achieve your goal, not turn into a method to garner likes on Instagram.
If you’re doubtful about adding an item on the vision board, it probably doesn’t deserve a place. Be selective about what you pick and what you discard.
How to make a vision board online
- Mind Movies Vision Board App
- Subliminal Vision Boards
Vision boards are powerful and yield great results. But, they don’t necessarily have to work for you. But you’ll know how effective they are for you once you try. If they fail to provide the results you expected, scrap them and move on. Like all other self-improvement material and tools, the perfect method does not exist. You’ll have to explore and find out what works for you.
Vision boards have helped many people channel their energy in the right direction. Do you think they will help you? Leave a comment if you plan to create a vision board.
Maxim Dsouza has spent over a decade experimenting and finding various time management techniques to improve his productivity. He strongly understands the fact that time is a limited commodity and tries to make every second count. He has extensive experience in leadership in startups, small businesses, and large corporations.
He has helped people of different professions and age groups gain clarity on their goals, improve focus, revise their time management skills and develop an awareness of their psychological cognitive biases.