I love vision boards. I love making them, looking at them, finding new ways to incorporate them… and talking about them. In my opinion, everyone should have a vision board.
But when life got busier for me, and the future was more uncertain, I went a long time without a vision board. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that when I don’t have one, my life feels more adrift.
A vision board can be a powerful tool for keeping you realigned with your purpose and your goals, and a excellent reminder to stay the course when things get tough.
If you’re new to making vision boards, or just looking for new and exciting ways to incorporate vision boards into your goal-setting process, you’ve definitely come to the right place!
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What is a Vision Board?
First, for the uninitiated, a vision board is a place where you collect images, quotes, words, and anything else that embodies what you want to see in your life.
You can include pictures of places you want to visit, items you want to own, your dream home, people who inspire you, or anything that you feel is symbolic of what you want for your life.
I like to include quotes, words or phrases that elicit emotions in me I want more of, like joy or wonder or ambition.
What you put on your vision board doesn’t have to be literal, like a picture of your dream car. It can be anything to evokes, to you, what you want to focus on our have more of in the future. If you have fitness goals, a photograph of someone with your ideal body type is a common occurrence on vision boards. A picture of your family as an indication of your intention to spend more quality time together wouldn’t be out of place.
Vision boards can be collage style, digital, a page in your planner or journal, or any format you choose. Later on in this post we’ll be going over a bunch of different ways to make one; I recommend whatever feels most right to you.
How Do Vision Boards Work?
Vision boards are more than a fun arts and crafts project for a rainy afternoon (although if you’re stuck at home right now, it can absolutely be a great way to pass the time!)
Vision boards work best when you use them as a goal-getting tool. For example…
Vision Boards Help You Gain Clarity
Sitting down to make a vision board will help you figure out what you really want out of life. When you’re faced with finding actual images and symbols of your future goals you have a tendency to get hyper-specific about the details. You
Likewise, you’ll find yourself re-evaluating some of your shakier aspirations. Yeah, having a bright orange Jaguar someday would be cool, but is that actually part of your dream future – or is it just a symbol of the wealth and mobility you hope to have? Would something else represent your actual desires more efficiently?
When you use vision boards in your goal-setting plans, you pretty much get specificity nailed down.
Vision Boards Give You Focus
I like to keep a vision board right above my desk. While I’m working or writing, I just have to shift my eyes upward a little bit and I’m looking right at it.
I do this because I’m a master at getting distracted.
I see something pretty while I’m shopping for groceries and I’m like ooooh, I want that.
Or I come across something interesting while I’m doing research and I follow it down a rabbit hole.
I read a great article on personal finance and I start wanting to write about personal finance too…
You see where I’m going with this?
I have very specific dreams and ambitions. I have very specific goals. But I also know myself well enough to know I have shiny object syndrome, and left unchecked, that sort of thing can be fatal to good dreams, ambitions, and goals.
When I find myself getting distracted, I look up. And there’s my vision board. It has all of the things on it that I’m aiming for… everything I’ve decided is important to me. All the stuff I’m working toward.
Is the exciting new thing on the vision board? No? Then it likely doesn’t matter.
And that’s usually all it takes for me to refocus and get back to work.
Vision Boards Keep You Motivated
Setting goals and planning them out is one thing. Actually sticking to them is another.
At some point, every one of us is going to hit a point where moving forward seems to take more work than it’s worth. When you’ve been working so hard but you’ve hit a point where you’re not seeing any of the results you feel like you should be. Or when you’re stuck deep in the suck and it feels like just giving up would be a relief.
My vision board has gotten me through many of those moments.
Sometimes all it takes is a reminder of who you are and what you’re working for. Sometimes it takes a burst of motivation to help you get back on the horse after being thrown off, metaphorically speaking.
Have you ever seen the iconic Simpson’s episode where Homer finally quits his miserable job at the power plant, only to have to go back to work there when he realizes Marge is pregnant with their third child? His boss puts a plaque over his desk that says, “Don’t forget: You’re here forever.” Talk about being in the suck…
But Homer gathers all of his third child’s baby pictures and tapes them over the sign, altering it to read “Do It For Her”. It’s an unconventional vision board, sure, but one with huge impacts on his daily motivation and work mindset.
I’m not a huge Simpsons fan, but I do love that episode. And I love this depiction of vision boards.
How to Make a Vision Board
There’s multiple ways to make a vision board. Although the traditional way is still very popular (for good reason!) new technology has brought in a bunch of new methods for making vision boards. I’ve got some favourites for myself, but as always, pick what works best for you!
The Traditional Method
The classic way to make a vision board involved using physical materials in a collage. You’d need a board to put it all on, a stack of magazines and some scissors and glue or tape.
There’s pros and cons to this method. I love it because having a physical board, to me, is irreplaceable, and you can make it as big as you want. My vision board in high school was a huge sheet of bristol board, and I used every inch of it!
The downside, however, is that you’re pretty much limited to pictures and words you can find in your materials, usually magazines. As a teenager, this was no problem! As an adult with very specific tastes, this has gotten harder. Especially since now I no longer buy magazines.
I’ve gotten around this by finding more specific pictures online, then printing them out – printer ink is cheaper than magazines, and I find better pictures online anyway.
With the traditional method, you can put whatever you want on your vision board. For extra motivating power, I recommend affirmations written in your own handwriting, and even pictures if you’re artistically inclined!
Pinterest can be a great tool for making your own vision board!
What makes Pinterest so great is it’s built-in search function. You can type whatever you’re looking for into there, and whole pages of results come up.
Before writing this post, I had heard of people using Pinterest to make a vision board, but hadn’t actually done it myself. So I pulled a quick one together to use as an example:
…And I kind of love how it turned out, and how easy it was.
I just included some things that I’d like to see in my future, like a trip to Hawaii, a gorgeous overgrown cottage, and well-loved notebooks full of ideas and dreams and plans.
The pros of using Pinterest for your vision board are that you can save any image from anywhere on the Internet if you have the Pinterest browser extension, and you can set it as a secret board so no one else will see it if you want. I also like that you can change the descriptions on the pins to write in more specifics about your goals or remove the text entirely.
The cons… well, aesthetically you don’t have much control at all. You can rearrange the pins, but that’s about it. And if you want to see it you’ll have to actually go into your Pinterest account and click on it. It’s not something you’ll randomly lay eyes on throughout the day. For me this is a big one, but it might not matter to you as much.
Canva is an amazing tool that gets recommended for everything from party invitations to social media graphics – but I bet you didn’t think of using it to make a vision board!
I like Canva for this because gives you way more control over your vision board than Pinterest. While you can still use images from wherever you find them online, you also have built-in graphic design ability. Plus you can make your board any size you want.
Instead of making a vision board for myself to demonstrate, I decided to have some fun in Canva and made three vision boards based on three different (fictional) people. I wanted to show you guys how easy it can be to really tailor it to your personality.
For an aspiring world traveler with a distinct sense of style:
A beginner yogi seeking balance and calm in her life:
Or a little more abstract, a writer aiming to launch her career as a novelist:
My favorite thing about using Canva to make your vision board is that you have control not just over the design, but the size as well. These are sized to be desktop backgrounds, so you can see it whenever you’re at your computer.
Additional Ideas for your Vision Board
Ultimately, the format you choose to make your vision board, isn’t nearly as important in the end as making sure it’s one that best represents your goals.
If there’s a way to create yours that doesn’t show up here, it’s no less valid of a method! Play around with it and see what works best for you, always.
If you’re not sure yet what you really want on yours, and need more flexibility to change it around later, you can put one together on a magnetic whiteboard, like this one from Amazon.
If you just want to keep some photographs in a zippered pocket in your planner – that’s what works for you!
You could make one as small as a locket, or as large as an entire wall in your room.
For me, I had so much fun making these ones in Canva that I think I’ll be trying that out for my next one – marking the first time I’ve stepped away from a physical vision board to a digital one! We’ll see how that goes.
Do you have a vision board already, or did you make one after reading this post? I’d love to see it!