Things like affirmations, vision boards and visualisation can seem a bit “woo woo,” like so much wasted time, cutting and sticking collages or talking to oneself when that time would be better spent working towards our dreams. While these things are not likely to work on their own - we do need to take action order to have our dreams come true - they can be really helpful. Here is our guide to vision boards and visualisation.
What is a vision board?
A vision board is essentially a collage made up of images of the things you want; how you want your life to look. You might include a photo of the area you’ve always wanted to live, professional achievements or accolades you’ve always wanted to reach or the attributes of a partner you want to attract.
Reasons to make a vision board:
1. The creative process of creating and arranging images can be a welcome break from the stresses of normal life.
2. Creating a vision board gives us something to aim for.
3. Vision boards help us to focus on what we want, rather than what we don’t want.
4. A vision board is a fantastic tool to help with visualisation (which we will come onto later).
5. A vision board also helps you to break down limiting beliefs.
6. It’s one thing that’s all about you.
How do you make a vision board?
Before you begin cutting and sticking, spend a little time in silence, thinking about what it is you really want. Do you like where you live? Would you like to live somewhere larger or smaller? With more light? By the sea? In the Lake District? What would you do if money, time and resources were no issue? Don’t rush yourself; allow plenty of time to really think about what it is you want.
The trick is not to listen to that voice of doubt in your head. You know the one; it constantly tells you all the reasons why the things you want aren’t possible, or that you don’t really deserve them. Don’t allow yourself to think “well I couldn’t spend two months in Italy because who would look after the kids” - instead, find a great picture of the area of Italy you would like to visit, and stick it on your vision board.
Avoid thinking about the how and instead just allow yourself to think about what you would really like to have/be/do. That said, don’t just go through a catalogue cutting out images of all the things you want; think about your ideal lifestyle, the view you’d like to see from your living room window and so on. If you’ve always wanted to own a Rolex, that’s fine; but don’t just cut out images of shiny things because you think it would be nice to be able to afford them. Focus on what you want to feel as much as what you want to have, and you won’t go far wrong.
How do you actually visualise?
A vision board can be great for helping us to visualise because we already have the pictures in front of us. If you’ve put a photo of a beautiful beach on your vision board it will be easier for you to visualise yourself walking along that beach. Set aside a little time each day to visualise how you want your life to be. That might be a general “what my perfect day would look like” or you might want to be more specific about different areas of your life.
Let’s say for example you have a big presentation coming up at work, where you really want to impress people. As well as spending time working out what you’ll say, you might also spend time visualising yourself walking into the room feeling calm and confident, speaking clearly, seeing people smiling and nodding back to you, telling you it was a good presentation.
Do vision boards and visualisation really work?
If you’ve seen the hit movie The Secret you’ll remember the part where John Assaraf talks about his vision boards, and realising he had just moved into the exact house he had previously used a picture of on his vision board. Vision boards and visualisation do work, but like so many things in life, they can’t do much in isolation; you need to take action on your goals in order to achieve them. There is no point in making a vision board, putting it in the cupboard and periodically looking up, thinking “nope, that private yacht is still not here.”
Using a vision board and regular visualisation can help you to stay focused on what you want. When a new opportunity comes in, you can quickly decide whether it will help you to move towards your vision or not; in this way they can help you to avoid ending up going off course without even noticing. You can also use your vision board and visualisation as a way of regularly asking yourself, “what can I do today to help me take a step in the right direction?” If you keep your vision board somewhere you will see it every day, the things you want will always be at the forefront of your mind, and you will be reminded to take steps towards them rather than away.
There is a growing amount of research showing that visualisation can work for people in all areas of life. Even if you don’t think visualisation can help you to get what you want, look at it as a nice way to spend a little time daydreaming as an escape from daily stresses. After all, we all would rather daydream about the things we want than those we don’t want.