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A woman sits on the ground of her office building a career vision board, with photos scattered on a corkboard.

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 when starting something new so that you’re well-equipped to achieve your goals.

What is 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.

Getting started

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

  • Get centered on your goals. 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 to earn a certification for a specific software. 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 certification course? Look through magazines for pictures and quotes that bring your goal to mind. 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 using S.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 that make achieving big dreams more manageable.

Staying the course

Here are some tips for ensuring you translate your vision into action:

  • Make duplicates of your vision board. Vision boards are meant to be seen! When you create a vision board, make sure to put the final copy in a place you see often so that you can constantly reference it to ensure your goals are on track. You can post the vision board on your desktop screensaver or print out a hard copy to place in your workspace.
  • 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.
  • Conduct quarterly reviews. Just like organizations have cycles, so can you! You can couple your quarterly reviews of how you’re bringing your vision board to life 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!
  • Find 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. Consider hosting a vision board party with your co-workers or friends to hold each other accountable to your career goals.

The act of creating a vision board itself is a journey of self-discovery and intention-setting. As you engage with your board throughout the year, remember to embrace progress and set realistic goals; then, watch your vision come to life!

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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