Vision Boards - Imagine Your Dreams with Pictures

Vision boards have been around a long time but have gained recent popularity from The Secret. This page takes the mystery out of creating a vision board so you can create one for your goals and dreams.

Images are very powerful. They help you to engage more of your senses than words alone. Many world class athletes use imagery to improve their performance. A runner might visualize the perfect race in every detail to mentally train for the event.

In one study Russian scientists found that the athletes that devoted only 25% of their time to physical training and 75% to mental (imagery) training out-performed the groups that devoted more time to physical training and less time to mental training. The mental images acted as a prelude to muscular impulses as if they had done the physical training.

Vision boards use imagery but instead of keeping it in your mind you put it out on a board - available to focus on regularly and to remind you to take actions in the direction of your dreams.

You don’t need to be artistic to create a vision board. You can get all your images from magazines, from the web, from photos in your collection or wherever you might find an image relevant to your vision.

If you’re starting a new business you would look for images related to what you imagine your life will look like when you have reached your goal. For example, if you envision working from home in your art studio, find a photo of an art studio that gives you a positive charge and makes you feel happy. Add to that some pictures of the galleries where your art will hang, customers who will buy your art, and so on.

You will also want to add pictures that show how your new business fits in with the rest of your life (more time with family and friends, set your own working hours, etc.). If you can't find a picture of a certain aspect you can draw one or use words to describe it.

The purpose of any visioning activity is to clarify your goals, to help you stay focused on those goals, and to provide guidance for taking actions in the direction of those goals.

Use your imagination to describe your ideal life and have fun with it!

How to create a Vision Board


- poster board, foam core board or other stiff board (use a size that feels comfortable to you). I often use 8 x 10 or 9 x 12 if my images are small. Since I travel a lot these sizes fit easily in a folder and slip into my suitcase. You can also decide on the size of the board after you have your images so you’ll know how big it needs to be.

- glue (I like “Yes” and Golden)

- scissors

- a picture of yourself

- a stack of magazines with great pictures. Use whatever you have at home already and ask your doctor or dentist if they can save some for you. Include some popular magazines that you like (“O”, Real Simple, Dwell have nice images). Home, garden and travel magazines work well, too. If you have special interests like Yoga or sports have some of those magazines in your stack. I usually have some art magazines and a few of the in-flight magazines that I’ve picked up while traveling because I love art and travel. Whatever magazines tend to have images of things that are important to you will work. You can also use your own photos or download images from the web.

Optional supplies:

- lettering or stencils to add a theme and some key words

- lots of colored markers to write, draw or enhance the page

Basic instructions:

1. Take a few minutes to think quietly about the topic of your vision board. A few slow breaths will help to clear the clutter from your mind so that you can focus. Some relaxing music might also help if you like working to music.

2. Once you’ve decided on your topic (for example, My Ideal Life, Authentic Work, My New Business), begin looking through magazines and cut out anything appealing to you. I try to stay focused on only the things relevant to my topic, but if I see an image that really grabs my attention I cut it out anyway. You’ll screen your images in the next step. I also cut out any inspiring phrases or words to help supplement images.

3. After you’ve got a stack of images, words and phrases that appeal to you – sort through them and select your favorites. This means – which are the ones that make you feel good, happy, and joyful? With the list of favorites think about how each of them relates to your theme. Keep the ones that make you happy and relate to your theme. Set the others aside.

4. If you can’t find images for some of the things you want on your vision board, you can draw a picture of what you imagine. You don’t need to have artistic skills to do this – just draw the basics. For example if you want to raise llamas then draw a picture of a llama, a barn, a field and you. It doesn't matter if it looks like your 3-year-old drew the pictures - you'll know what they mean. Label them if you need to explain.

5. Arrange all the pictures and words on your Vision Board however you like. There are no rules about how to do this. Just do what appeals to you. Put your own picture on the board in a prominent place. I usually put my picture near the center or beside an image or phrase that is most important to me.

6. You can leave space on the vision board to add additional images later if it still feels incomplete. (I don’t like to do this because I tend to lose steam.) Alternatively, you can also put words in place of a missing image. For example, if you want “fulfilling work” and can’t find a photo of what that looks like then put in the words instead. If you find a picture later you can always add it. (When looking for the right image ask yourself what “fulfilling” means to you – does it mean helping people? Then find an image where someone is helping someone else. Does it mean pursuing your passion for music? Draw some musical notes, insert a piece of sheet music, put in a musical instrument, etc.)

7. When it feels complete hang your vision board in a prominent place such as in your home office or somewhere that you will see it frequently, especially somewhere that you can use it for daily visualization.

Vision boards are fun to create and the above steps are only guidelines, not rules. If you’re interested in learning more about Vision Boards do an internet search for this topic and you’ll find lots of advice and some other tools.

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