Today’s topic of Vision Boards is a time-tested application of basic visualization strategies. Most people I know have heard of a vision board or something similar, but few employ them. I never quite understood why that might be. My guess is that since so few people take the time to write out their goals, likely, they wouldn’t know what pictures to put on a wall either. I have heard excuses from people who said, I don’t know where to start, or where to get the pictures. Others suggest that they don’t want to do something crappy, so they are waiting till they have time to do it right. In my experience, there is never a right time to do something. Just do it, and if it is important enough to you to do it right, you will either invest the time, or once it is completed, you’ll make time to improve it.
With that out of the way, let me provide some insight on how and why to use a vision board and some tips on how to make one. First let’s start with the why. For one thing, it can be really fun, if you let it be. The process of finding a bunch of pictures or other visual representation of what you would like to accomplish is exciting, especially if you have some really motivating goals. For instance, if you have a goal of traveling to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, a picture of the resort, the grounds, the bedrooms, can all be found online. You can print those out and post them on your vision board. This activity alone helps to anchor in the emotions of going to this resort.
You may want to lose a certain amount of weight, but more importantly, you want to look a certain way. Maybe it’s a muscular physique, or for women, it’s how you look in a certain dress. Whatever you envision for yourself, get a picture of the physique and put your face on the picture. I know that sounds kind of hokey, but trust me this can work very well for your vision. It could be a car, go test drive that car and get a picture with you in it. A picture with a favorite celebrity, someone you idolize, your goal may be to work together with them on a project. Go tour houses in the neighborhood you would like to live in and take pictures. Or have someone take a picture with you holding a mock-up of your best-selling book.
When I was young, we didn’t have the internet, so I got my pictures from magazines. I remember the first time I looked through the Robb Report, it was filled with expensive items that were advertised. Fancy watches, suits, cars, boats, pretty much anything you would have thought of from a material or lifestyle perspective, you could find in that magazine. Today with the internet and color printers you can create anything you would like to represent visons for your goals.
Once you have several pictures, now where to put them, well, when I was strapped for cash, I just pinned them to my wall. As I could afford it, and because it was easier to move them, I just put them on a cork board. I started with a 1’ x 2’, till now I have a 3’ x 4’ framed corkboard that holds my goals.
I have a copy of my next book manuscript outline, a vacation brochure for a trip to Italy we have been planning. A brochure for renting a Harley motorcycle, to represent a guy’s trip I’d like to do with some of my closest friends. A picture of a house in a neighborhood that I want to live in by the next 5 years. I have a movie release poster for Wall Street, one of my all-time favorite movies, because I have a goal of writing a movie script, actually, I have a couple in mind. I have a $10,000 bill to represent a donation I would like to make to a charity, last year we donated $3,500 and it felt amazing. I have a brochure for a Colorado river rafting trip I would like to do, and I have a couple of my favorite cars as well as few others, these really help to keep me focused on what I really would like to achieve.
Recently, as I went through a period of frustration where, because I have high standards for myself, I have a tendency not to give myself enough credit for my accomplishments. To offset that, I began separating my board and on a smaller portion, I leave the pictures of goals I have recently achieved and use a black Sharpie to put a big checkmark on them, denoting that I have achieved these goals. In the last 3 years, I have about 15 large goals that I have been able to check off, which is quite cool, and a great reminder that of what I have accomplished right alongside of what I intend to accomplish next.
Let me finish with this point, if you follow my visualization exercises, as I discuss in my book, you should be looking at each picture you have on your vision board as you associate with your affirmation and a few moments of visually seeing yourself accomplishing this goal. This not only connects the words you are speaking, but the visual of those pictures with the emotions of achieving your goals. This is a phenomenally powerful exercise and well worth a daily 10-minute investment. Most of all make it FUN!