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How Vision Boards Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Imani Darden profile image

Imani Darden

People working with craft supplies

Are you a visual learner who appreciates creative activities like scrapbooking? If so, a vision board may be a great tool for planning and illustrating your goals and aspirations.

Coupled with a well-thought-out strategy, a vision board can help you achieve your objectives—both in your career and personal life. Here, we offer some tips for putting that vision to work and making sure you achieve your goals.

What's a vision board anyway?

As per its name, a vision board leverages your ability to visualize success. A vision board uses imagery—in the form of magazine cut-outs, drawings, and text—that inspires and motivates you to work toward certain goals.

Some may consider it daydreaming and critique its value. But fans of vision boards claim they can help us focus and manifest our desired outcomes.

Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, one thing’s for sure: envisioning “next” or “better” can help in your goal attainment. And vision boards provide a fun, visual way to do just that.

Pro Tip: To learn more about the power of visualization, check out this TED Talk by Ashanti Johnson, a fitness instructor and the owner of fitness brand 360.Mind.Body.Soul.

Here are some tips for putting your visions into action:

  1. Make duplicates of your vision board: When you create a vision board and place it in a space where you see it often, it helps you do short visualization throughout the day. Having multiple copies of your vision board displayed in various places may be helpful reminders. You can post the vision board on your desktop screensaver or print out a hard copy of the board to place in your workspace.
  2. Set monthly targets: By setting short-term targets on your goals, you can measure your progress-to-goal. Identifying a recurring date to review your progress will be great in holding yourself accountable. For example, if your birthday is on the 19th, you can set monthly targets on the 19th of each month to see your progress toward your birthday. It’s also a great way to acknowledge and reflect on incremental accomplishments.
  3. Quarterly reviews: Just like organizations have cycles, so can you! You can couple your quarterly reviews with a reward system based on your progress. Celebrate your success with an outing, a mini-getaway, time with a loved one, or a spa day. Whatever it may be, treat yourself!
  4. Get an accountability partner: Securing an accountability partner will not only hold your feet to the fire, but can also encourage others to envision goals for themselves. Who knows—you might even host a vision board party together!

Getting started

Here are some essentials to getting started with your vision board:

  • Get centered on your goals: Lay the groundwork for the process. Take time to reflect on your desires and note what you want to achieve—either personally or professionally. For example, you might want to take a dance class every other week after work. Or maybe you want something career related, like a software certification. Envisioning what this looks like will be useful throughout the process.
  • Assemble key supplies: You don’t have to buy everything in the craft store to make this work. In fact, you probably already have many of the necessary supplies at home: magazines, scissors, glue, markers, and crayons are all great. The only other thing you’ll need is some cardstock (or even a bulletin board if you’d like to use pins rather than glue).
  • Set the scene for the process: With supplies in place, there are a few other recommendations for setting the tone of board making. You can set up your space with music, prayer, or meditation tracks to center the process. The space should be conducive to you honing in on your creativity.  
  • Get crafting: Still thinking about that dance class? Look through magazines for pictures and quotes that bring that goal to mind. And what about that professional software certification? Yes, seeking out images of people sitting in front of computers may seem dry—but you can also look for quotes and imagery that inspire a motivation to learn and grow. 

Think S.M.A.R.T.

It’s one thing to envision a goal or desired outcome, and another to achieve it. That is where usingS.M.A.R.T— specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely—goals comes into play.

Some people fall short of achieving their vision because they don’t have a plan of action. The S.M.A.R.T. framework can help you to lay out small, short-term steps to take to make achieving big dreams seem more manageable.

It's important to remember that vision boards can't be a standalone tool. “That's not to say you can't establish big goals for yourself," Amy Morin writes for Inc.com. "But it's important to identify short-term action steps you can start taking right now ... Positive thinking only works when it’s combined with positive action.” 

Staying the course

Here are some tips for putting your visions into action:

  1. Make duplicates of your vision board: When you create a vision board and place it in a space where you see it often, it helps you do short visualization throughout the day. Having multiple copies of your vision board displayed in various places may be helpful reminders. You can post the vision board on your desktop screensaver or print out a hard copy of the board to place in your workspace.
  2. Set monthly targets: By setting short-term targets on your goals, you can measure your progress-to-goal. Identifying a recurring date to review your progress will be great in holding yourself accountable. For example, if your birthday is on the 19th, you can set monthly targets on the 19th of each month to see your progress toward your birthday. It’s also a great way to acknowledge and reflect on incremental accomplishments.
  3. Quarterly reviews: Just like organizations have cycles, so can you! You can couple your quarterly reviews with a reward system based on your progress. Celebrate your success with an outing, a mini-getaway, time with a loved one, or a spa day. Whatever it may be, treat yourself!
  4. Get an accountability partner: Securing an accountability partner will not only hold your feet to the fire, but can also encourage others to envision goals for themselves. Who knows—you might even host a vision board party together!

***

Have you used vision boards to achieve your goals? What would you recommend others do to manifest their visions? Tell us about it on Twitter.

Imani Darden profile image

Imani Darden

Imani is a personal development coach, community development practitioner, and podcaster based in the Bronx, NY. She is passionate about uplifting women across generations and advocating for equitable access and opportunities for communities of color. You can learn more about her podcast, Forward 40 here

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