Finding the courage to chase after a dream, especially when you’re unsure of what you’re running towards, can be difficult.
Whether it’s the fear of failure or disappointment, lack of clarity, or lack of understanding or confidence that’s holding you back, it’s critical that you take the time to work through to uncover what you really want out of life, so that you can confidently go after it.
Enter the vision or dream board.
Now, before you click off this, thinking it’s a little too “woo-woo” for you, we ask you to put aside your skepticism for just a moment and let us walk you through the science behind the vision board. Yes, we said ‘science’.
The science behind vision boards
Scientists have begun to dive into research on practices that were previously considered nonsensical, like manifestation and dream boarding.
You have to visualize the journey as well as the end result in order to be successful. For example, an athlete who visualizes winning a gold medal might not be any closer to standing at the top of the podium than his or her opponents. But, one study found that athletes who visualized lifting weights before heading to the gym were able to lift more than those who did not visualize prior to their session.
Similarly, other studies have shown that individuals who visualized doing the hard work needed to achieve a goal (like studying, training or saying ‘no’ to a slice of pizza) were more likely to actually take those steps that would bring them closer to achievement.
Visualize the journey and the end goal
So, how can we leverage what science has discovered to build a vision board that actually works? For starters, we have to recognize that we can’t plaster images of mansions, six-packs, and our celebrity crush to a bulletin board and then sit on our couches watching Netflix for the next 12 months while waiting for our dream life to appear at our doorstep.
The key to building a vision board that will actually help you achieve your goals is to highlight what you need to do to get to where you want to go.
Want to start your own business? What are some of the steps you can take this year? Maybe it’s setting up your website and social media accounts. Registering your business. Opening that business banking account. And, making those cold calls and emails to potential clients.
Want to feel healthy and strong? Think about what fitness classes you’ll take to get there. What you’ll need to remove from your diet, or add to your diet. And, what kinds of other healthy habits you’ll need to implement to foster a fit lifestyle.
A visual reminder of where you’re headed and how you’ll get there is like a roadmap to success. Let’s get to building!
How to create a dream board
Step 1 - Get inspired
Vision boards are all about inspiration, so your creative process should start there. If you’re not feeling inspired there are plenty of ways to light the spark. Digital platforms like Pinterest and Unsplash are filled with beautiful imagery to get your wheels turning.
If you’re into a more old-school vibe, collect some old magazines and flip through the pages. Look for images as well as words that make you feel hopeful, excited and eager for your future.
You can also carve out some time to quietly reflect in a space that has meaning for you. Perhaps it’s a beautiful trail, a quiet space in your home, or your favourite yoga studio.
Step 2 - Gather your materials
If you are building a physical vision board you’ll need the images you collected from magazines or found online, scissors, a glue stick and a bristol board, or pins and a bulletin board.
If you are building a digital vision board all you’ll need is your laptop or smartphone. For those of you who have some digital design experience, you can use programs like Adobe Suite or Canva to design your board. If not, there are great user-friendly programs available to create a digital vision board without zero design skills required like DreamItAlive and Visuapp.
Step 3 - Lay out your images
Now is your chance to get crafty. Lay out your images on your bulletin board or on your device. Be intentional about where you place the images. Is there something that is especially important to you? Put it front and center. When you’re happy with your layout, glue down your images or save your digital file.
Step 4 - Display your vision board
This is the part we talked about earlier where many people drop the ball. First of all, don’t throw your dream board into the back of your closet and forget about it. Hang it up somewhere prominent where you’re likely to look at it every day. It will serve as a reminder of what you hope to achieve and how you plan on getting there.
Try and take some time daily or weekly to remember how excited you were about your future when you created your vision board. Check in with yourself. Be honest about whether or not the way you’re spending your time, money, and energy is getting you closer to where you want to be. Adjust as needed.
Step 5 - Get after it
Remember, a vision board doesn’t remove the need for hard work. Instead, a vision board is meant to inspire you to do the hard work it takes to reach your goals and remind you of how great you’ll feel when you achieve them.
So, what are you waiting for? Get to dreaming and then get to doing. Your future awaits.