I’ve created quite a few vision boards over the last few years and some of them have worked better than others. Often, I find I have manifested some of the things I’ve visualised for myself, whilst other dreams have been forgotten or have not totally come into fruition. Before I create a new board in my bullet journal, I always reflect on the previous one, thinking about which of my desires and goals have been met, which I’ve made progress towards and which either didn’t come true or are no longer in line with what I want for my life. Today, I thought I’d share some of my best tips for creating a vision board and ways in which you can use yours as an effective tool for manifestation.
What is a vision board?
In brief, a vision board is a visual representation of goals you want to work towards to create your ideal life. This can include inspiring images, text which states what you desire for yourself and also messages to yourself such as affirmations and motivational phrases and words. Vision boards can be created in a range of different formats and some of these are discussed a little later.
What do we mean by manifestation?
Put simply, manifestation is the act of materialising or bringing into fruition you deepest wishes, desires and dreams, so they become your true reality. So, for example, you might wish to be a more organised person and this could be shown in your home and work systems, the way you manage your time, the plans you put in place, your goals and priorities, your decision making skills, your self awareness and ability to evaluate your situation etc. There are a number of ways of manifesting the above and creating a vision board can be a really geat tool if you use it properly and effectively.
Where to begin
Before you even start creating your vision board, you need to get clear on what you want to prioritise for yourself right now and in the future. A good way to do this is to schedule some time to quietly think about and evaluate your current life with a view to considering plans to work towards a few goals and small changes that will help you on your way towards your dream life. The following journalling prompts and questions which I’ve collected from a range of sources and created myself will encourage this. You don’t need to answer them all, but they should help you orientate your thinking and ease you into contemplation, evaluation and reflection mode. I recommended writing down some or all of your responses (preferably on paper rather than using a tech device) as part of the process because this enables you to slow down and carefully consider things.
- What did I do last year that made me happy? Why did these things make me feel this way?
- In which ways was I successful in 2022? Which goals did I meet? How did I effectively deal with problems which came my way?
- What was my greatest accomplishment of the year? How has thinking about this helped with my self worth and feelings of purposefulness?
- What challenges did I face last year? What did I learn as a result?
- What kind of self care activities did I regularly engage in? (if any) Which of these would I like to continue with or do more of? Which new self care activities might I like to try in 2023?
- What did I spend too much time and energy on in 2022? As a result, what would I like to do differently in 2023? How might I go about this? Do I need to learn something new or create some sort of plan of action?
- What is a new skill I learnt last year? Which skill / skills would I like to learn or develop in 2023?
- Name 5 of your core values e.g. positivity, helping others, social connection, looking after the environment, growth, adventure etc. Am I living in alignment with these? What changes would I like to make in relation to my values and beliefs?
- Do I feel in control of my life right now or do I feel like others are controlling it for me? Are there any changes I wish to make as a result of my answer?
- When do I feel most fulfilled? Why?
- What do I want to leave behind in 2022? This could be anything – an attitude, a toxic relationship, poor self image, negative thinking, lack of self compassion, saying ‘yes’ when you really want to say no, being overworked and underpaid etc
- What do I want to take forward into 2023? (What do I want to continue doing? How do I want to continue being? Which goals do I want to continue to work towards? etc)
- What new practices / attitudes / ways of being / skills etc do I want for myself for 2023? How might I implement these? (e.g. do some self development reading, work with a therapist, change up my routines, attend a class or do some distance learning, place more emphasis / importance on something etc)
- What limiting beliefs am I holding on to? Why? How can I work on changing my beliefs about myself / others / the world? (This might be something that you need help and support with, in which case, seeking out therapist or life coach can be really helpful)
- What does success look and feel like to you? Why?
- If you change one thing about your working life to make it better, what would it be? What impact do you feel this would have?
- How do you respond to criticism? Do you feel this is helpful / unhelpful or could be improved in some way?
- What qualities do you admire in other people?
- Is there a skill you have always wanted to master? What could you do to make a start with this?
- What bad habits would you like to break?
- What new habits would you most like to instill?
- What would you like to be doing in 5 years time? Why?
- Who could support you in working towards the different goals you are considering?
Another activity which you might like to try is filling in a ‘wheel of life’ or ‘life balance wheel’ to assess how balanced the different aspects of your life are. There are lots of resources online for this, including blanks which you can print off. Commonly used categories are:
- Career / business
- Fun & recreation
- Giving / contribution
- Personal growth and development
- Significant other / marriage / romance
- Physical environment (home/office)
- Family & friends
The category names can be tweaked to make them personal to you, so, for example, I would have marriage as a category, would choose business rather than career and have physical environment labelled with home / workspace. The idea is that you evaluate the aspects and give yourself a score out of 10 for each. This is mine from 2018 and it’s amazing to see how things have changed for me since then.
When you’ve finished your wheel of life, you should see some categories that might benefit from a little bit (or a lot!) of work in order to level them up. For example, in mine, upgrading of the physical environment part of my life is my priority and I’m going to start with the part of my home that I spend most time in.
Personally, I prefer to work on tweaking things for the better rather than having grand ideas which are miles away from my current life. So, for example, if one of my current desires for myself was to have a healthy body and mind, I would think about things I could put in place to work towards this with small and achievable being the key words such as exercising for 30 minutes each day, making sure I eat at least 5 fruit and vegetables, having a balanced plate for my meals and doing at least half an hour of mindful activity each afternoon or evening or scheduling in other regular self care activities. This makes more sense than choosing what for me would be unreasonable goals such as losing loads of weight (unmeasurable), being a size 8 (not going to happen anywhere in the near future if ever,), eating a diet with no foodie treats (unmanageable) and spending two hours in the gym every day of the week (too high expectations).
One little word
Another idea you could try is to use a word to orientate you for the year / month / quarter. This was a tradition coined by Ali Edwards and is described on her website as ‘a word to focus on, to live with, to investigate, to write about, to craft with, and to reflect upon as I go about my daily life’. There are literally hundreds of words you could choose and if you want some inspiration, you’re welcome to check out my Pinterest board.
Vision board format
There are lots of different ways of making a vision board and some may be more appealing to you than others, so start asking yourself a few questions about what would work best for you and would be highly visible each day. Ideas include:
- A vision board Pinterest board on your computer
- A large A3 / A2 wall display which can easily be seen in a room of your choice
- A collection of pictures and words added to a blank page in Canva and then used as your desktop on your personal/work laptop
- Pictures and words surrounding the mirror where you do your hair/make up each day
- An A4 sheet stuck onto your fridge with a magnet
- A double page spread in your notebook or bullet journal
Whatever style you choose, it definitely needs to be one that you’re going to look at on a daily basis. It’s no good creating a vision board in a beautiful notebook and then placing it on a shelf to collect dust – that’s not going to help you manifest anything!
Collect your words and pictures
When you’ve become clear about what you want for yourself right now and have decided on an appropriate format, you can start to collect images and words which reflect this. There are a few different ways you can do this – you could get together some wellbeing related magazines, flick through them and cut out words and images which resonate or you could use Google or Pinterest and search for words and images related to your core values and ways of living you want to move towards. So, for example, if you want to increase the time you spend outdoors in nature, you might search for ‘woodland’, ‘outdoors’, ‘countryside’ or ‘walks in nature’ and then collect images that are the most visually appealing to you. I find it’s best to choose one image and a few words to represent each of your visions. You could even add an affirmation for each such as ‘I am a tidy and well-organised person’, I always take time to look after myself’, ‘I can do anything I put my mind to’, I dream. I believe, I receive. Personally, I like to type out words and phrases on my laptop, but an alternative method is to use letters and phrases from magazines in a kind of ransom note style!
Whilst collecting your words and pictures, try to avoid picking too many things to work on as this is the fastest route to overwhelm and lack of clarity. For my last vision board, I chose just five things to work on and a few mindsets which will help me progress. I selected two motivational images for ‘tidy and organised’ as this is my number one priority and what I want to spend the most time on. As you can see from my vision board at the start of today’s post, I print my photos on glossy photo paper (using my Canon Selphy) and try to choose images which really pop and little bits of décor here and there to try to make my board attractive to look at. If you love the way your vision board turned out, you’re much more likely to want to look at it every day and it’s more likely to inspire you to take action to reach your goals.
A few hints and tips to ensure your vision board works
For a vision board to be classed as working, it needs to be helping to motivated you to work towards your goals and to provide inspiration to keep you heading in the right direction. As I said earlier, I’ve had mixed success with mine through the years and have definitely learnt what helps and what hinders me in making progress. Here’s some tips and tricks which will hopefully help you manifest effectively:
Focus on one thing at a time. Take a look at your vision board and decide which item you are most drawn to right now. This could be something you feel would be easy to implement as a great way to get you started or it could be something which you believe would have most impact. For example, if I had a tidy and well organised craft room, it would certainly make it easier to do my current creative craft project and find and make a start on one of my sewing kits. You can still do things which contribute towards achieving your other goals but try to make one element your priority for the next few weeks or month.
Devote time (at least 5 minutes every day) to look at and think about your vision board. You could also try closing your eyes to visualise what you want for yourself and how you would feel / act / think if a particular vision became your reality. Research shows that visualisation is a powerful tool for manifestation.
Ensure that any goals you set as a result of your vision for the next month / quarter / year are SMART. Make them:
Use the acronym to help you flesh out each of your goals and identify some steps to success. This might take a while – another reason why it’s best to work on one aspect of your vision board at a time.
To help you to instill new habits and or break old ones, try reading up on habit formation. I’m currently reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits and making notes on what I’ve learnt but there are plenty of online resources available too.
Schedule in time to reflect on what’s working, what’s not and your progress each week. If things aren’t working, consider why not and then think of new things you could try. How could you increase your progress? Might you need to create smaller steps and celebrate the tiny achievements to spur you on? Will scheduling in blocks of time each day to work towards your current focus help?
Try creating a ‘highlight‘ each day which will lead you towards your goal. This is a method discussed in the book Make Time by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky and involves choosing a single activity to prioritise and protect in your daily calendar. When you are engaging in activity for your daily highlight, try to rid your space of distractions so you can really focus on the task at hand.
Don’t be afraid to make updates as you go. You can add things, remove things, tweak things or even start again from scratch if necessary. It’s your vision board and if you decide that one of your images just isn’t inspiring you or that a motivational quote someone shared on Instagram is perfect for your needs – make the necessary changes and hopefully reap the rewards!
When motivation does dwindle, go back and look at your journalling that you did at the beginning of the progress and re-read the answers you wrote to particularly pertinent questions. This should provide you with your ‘reasons why’ and help you to get back on track.
I hope that today’s blog post has encouraged you to have a go at creating a vision board for yourself which will help you work towards your goals and desires and ultimately work on designing a life which matches your core values and helps you manifest the aspirations you have for yourself. Wishing you lots of success with meeting your goals for 2023.