The Truth About Vision Boards ~ Do they actually work?

I recently mentioned my belief that visualization is an important strategy to achieve your dreams and goals. Visualizing means to form a mental picture of something you want to achieve and hold that image with intention. Visualization activates your creativity to define what you want, wires your brain to identify your next steps, and builds motivation to take action.

The Truth About Vision Boards - Do they work?

Today, we’re going to talk about bringing your visualization to life by using a vision board. I’m going to uncover the truth about vision boards, because even though the actual making of a vision board is incredibly easy, there are so many misconceptions about the purpose and the process of vision board building.

Why Create A Vision Board?

Vision boards have been made popular by proponents of the Law of Attraction. There are three ways I believe your vision board helps you design your life:

  1. Creating a vision board helps you come out of autopilot and actually think and dream of a life you would love to live
  2. A vision board is a visual representation of your ideal life, a tool to stay focused on what you want to create every day
  3. Your vision board will serve as a reminder of the actions you must take in order to make your vision a reality

Let’s explore these together but…

Before You Make A Vision Board…

Breakdown your life into areas and make sure you’ve covered every aspect that is meaningful to you. I use ten areas that begin with “F” ( I call them my 10-F’s), and you can use these to guide you: Family, Faith, Friends, Fitness, Finances, Fun, Forever Partner, Funding, Fulfillment, F.I.R.S.T. (taking care of yourself).

After you’re clear on the areas that you want to focus on, take a mental inventory of where you are and what you would like to change. Contemplate and compile a handwritten list of what you consider to be ideal in each area. It’s okay to pick just one area or even an event. I have a coaching client who is focusing on her goal to become a New York Times bestselling author and her vision board is solely dedicated to this goal.

You can also have several vision boards, if you choose to. Another student of mine has a career vision board in her home office, and a personal vision board hanging on her closet door.

When you hold a mental picture of what your ideal life is, see the scene in as much detail as you can, answering these questions:

  • Which emotions are you feeling right now?
  • Where are you and what are your surroundings like?
  • Who are you with?
  • What are you wearing?
  • What does it smell like?

So back to the vision board process…

#1 Vision Boards: Think and Dream of a Life You Would Love to Live

Having a clear vision, a clear purpose, and clear daily intentions for your life makes the difference between living and merely existing.

The Bible says Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Life, as defined in the dictionary:

  • the ability to grow, change, etc., that separates plants and animals from things like water or rocks
  • the period of time when a person is alive
  • the experience of being alive

I remember a time in my life in which I didn’t know what I was living for. Change was inevitable, and I hadn’t completed my dash, but the experience of being alive was depressing, to say the least.

‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.’ ~ Henry David Thoreau (AKA my crush!)

We all have a purpose, a gift, a song, and God has plans to prosper us, but not all of us believe it. So today, I have faith in the power of my dreams and create mental pictures that align with the purpose I believe God has for me. It’s not that depressing things don’t happen to me or around me, but having a vision helps me focus on my royal identity and my purpose, thus preparing me for success.

This mental rehearsal is used by professional athletes. They create vivid, extremely detailed images in their mind and run-throughs of their performance.

“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.” ~ Jack Nicklaus, World Champion Golfer

Brain studies reveal that vivid mental imagery coupled with strong emotion can impact many cognitive processes in the brain: motor control, perception, attention, planning, and memory. When you constantly think about the life you would love to live, your brain is being stimulated and preparing for the next steps.

Where the power of thought goes wrong:

There is a blame philosophy that wants to convince you that if you haven’t achieved what you think about, you are not doing it right, or there is something wrong in the way you are doing it. Thought is not enough to achieve your dreams.  You must combine your knowledge, your positive thinking, and your actions to create what you want.

To use the same example above, you must know the field and the sport before you can properly visualize the shot. You may need to hire a coach to offer perspective in how the shot needs to go. And finally, you must practice and hit the shot, as Jack Nicklaus’ statement implies… and you must do this tirelessly and consistently until you see the result. No magic bullets!

#2 Vision Boards : A Visual Representation Of Your Ideal Life

After you have defined your dreams with feeling and clarity, it’s a good idea to illustrate them visually: a picture is worth a thousand words, especially when you’re talking to your subconscious mind.

A Vision Board, also called a Dream Board, a Treasure Map, a Visual Explorer Collage, or Creativity Collage, is a board on which you paste a collage images that inspire you and best represent your dreams and desires: what you want to be, do, and have in your life. Your vision board will be your tangible image of your destination, your ideal life. It’s about surrounding yourself with images that depict the future you wish to create.

What You Will Need to Create a Vision Board

  • A board. Of any kind. There are no rules when it comes to what the vision board will look like. You can use a cork board, a poster board, a foam board, a magnetic board, a dry erase board, even a Pinterest board! Here’s a wonderful idea I found in Amazon (aff link) called a Prayer Board.
  • Lots of magazines that you can cut images from, or a color printer to download pictures off the Internet. I like to add quotations, motivational, sayings, inspirational words, and affirmations to mine, even more than pictures. In your vision board, you want anything that personally inspires you and motivates you toward the life you envision.
  • You’ll definitely need your scissors, tape, pins, glue, or magnets, but you can get as crafty and creative as you want when pasting your cut outs to your board, because it’s your vision board and you can create it on your own terms.
  • You will need the right atmosphere. For some moms, the way toward inspiration is alone time, for other moms, the way toward getting it done is gathering friends and making a party out of it. For me, it works when I make it a family project. Set the tone in your space to make sure it is inspiring – or go somewhere else where you can feel inspired!
  • You will need to set aside some time. Time to think, time to cut, time to organize, time to paste…

How To Create A Vision Board

Like I said, there is really no right or wrong way to create a vision board as far as the materials you use and the style of the actual physical collage, however, you want to only use imagery and wording that truly speak to you, inspire positive emotions, and clearly represent or symbolize your purpose.

You want to go for simplicity and avoid creating a cluttered and chaotic vision board. I love the vision board process, because initially, you will want to cut every possible thing out. and paste and glue to no end.

To be absolutely honest with you, I must confess that I still probably have bags and bags of cutouts somewhere in my garage (cleaning is on my summer checklist) that I never really pasted anywhere because I would need dozens of vision boards to hold them all. It’s smart to cut everything out before pinning or pasting, and then decide what is most important for you to see on the board. I found this to be a clarifying process and also a way to make the design more pleasing, because you can plan where everything will look best and what will take center stage, and so forth.

It’s a good idea to leave blank space on it so you can add more to it as you become clearer. Creating your life is not a two-hour or afternoon gathering event, but an ongoing process.  You can always update, upgrade, and re-do your vision board – most people actually do that every year to go with their New Year’s resolutions.

The Biggest Mistake When Making A Vision Board

In order to make an empowering vision board that works, you must focus on how you want to feel, rather than the material possessions you want to have or things that you want.

I’m not writing this as a judgment. If the fast car, the ocean, the palm trees, the tall-dark-and-handsome guy, and the dollar signs resonate with you, go for it. What I am saying is: do not be derailed by cliché images based on what someone else said you *should* have on your vision board. The biggest mistake you could make in creating your vision board is adding something that is not in alignment with the experiences that meaningful to you.

When it comes to picturing your ideal life, if it’s not an immediate YES, it’s a NO. If you find yourself asking should questions (like “should I include this on my vision board?) or having doubts of how important something is in your life, then it’s probably not that important or there are layers to uncover. It’s ultimately about the feelings that your life will bring to you.

On the other hand, it may feel a little uncomfortable or scary to claim a better life for yourself. This is normal because many of us were taught to settle, but use your heart, listen to your gut, tap into what’s calling your soul, and you’ll be able to discern whether that’s a voice you want to listen to or not. It’s YOUR choice and yours alone.

#3 Vision Boards: A Reminder Of The Next Steps To Take

This is one of the most important components of the vision board, because no dream is ever achieved without action. Even the word attraction has the word action embedded in it. In order to make your vision a reality, you must act in a way that reflects you believe it.

Your vision board will be reminding you of the direction you chose to take your life in, by seeing what’s most important for you to achieve.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”  ~ Mark Twain

Having this visual guidance will motivate you to make decisions that take you further along in the journey of living your dreams. Putting in the effort to take little steps in creating the ideal life you’ve imagined is going to add joy and satisfaction to your days. And with each step you take, you will get further clarity and increased happiness.

To get the most of your vision board, it must be placed where you can see it often and feel the inspiration it brings to your life, internalizing those feelings, and repeating your affirming words out loud. If you think this last one is a bit crazy, think of Muhammad Ali’s affirmation: “I am the greatest!”

When I attended the Act Like A Success conference, Steve Harvey showed us his vision board as the screen saver of his phone.  It’s a great way to carry your vision with you everywhere you go and constantly be reminded to put energy into creating it.

Your vision board can guide your success, then you must study, work, prepare to meet and overcome challenges, and keep reinventing yourself until achievement.

As you remember that God wants to prosper you in every area of your life, you will acknowledge His hand in your life on a daily basis and fill your life with gratitude and appreciation because you can see the good that is already in your life and the progress you are making each day you act in alignment with your highest path. Your vision boards help you see how much you grow, expand, and evolve in your journey.

If You Want Your Vision Board To Work, Don’t Do This 

  • Don’t hope for a fantasy instead of working on a dream. For example, I can wish on toning my body, but not on growing a few inches. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible, because I don’t know all things, but it’s definitely not something I can work towards and see gradual progress.
  • Don’t wish for things that imply control over the thoughts, actions, or emotions of another person. We can only work on ourselves – and that’s challenging enough.
  • Don’t attach to the outcome. Sometimes what we want is not what is best for us. I am a believer in surrendering to God’s will and have definitely received many blessings in disguise.

Will you create a vision board? Do you have one already? I welcome you to write your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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40 thoughts on “The Truth About Vision Boards ~ Do they actually work?

  1. I have never made a vision board before. It sounds like a great way to really have a visual focus on your dreams and goals.

  2. I have had my vision board on Pinterest, but it is just something I quickly put together. I didn’t really think about the things and honestly it is more like a wish list to Santa than a board of goals, hopes, and dreams I need to work toward.

  3. No vision board here, we used them in high school for things but now I don’t think I’d have the time or energy!

  4. I’m vision board obsessed! They work wonders for me. I created one for my blog back in Jan and I already reached all but one goal so I’ve been working on setting new goals. Seeing the goals I front of you really is motivating. Atleast for me anyway

  5. It mostly depends on the person if they prefer vision boards or not. There are people who says that it works for them while others prefer not to have them around. I think it’s good for setting goals.

  6. Yes, vision boards work. They’re like your to do list that you check on and cross off items on your list. Vision Boards help set direction and are good reminders to what you should be prioritizing.

  7. I never took vision boards seriously until this year. Eventually, I didn’t get to create it. But, I love your article and the details you put in. I did try to create a digital vision board through a slideshow but didn’t finish it. However, I try to watch the slideshow before work everyday. It helps me stay motivated.

  8. This is such an excellent reminder of things we should all be doing, vision boards or not. I do believe you’ve inspired me to create my own vision board though!

  9. WOW! This post resonated with me so damn much. It’s just what I needed. Especially after all the negativity I’ve gone through lately.

    Hey my cousin told me the best way to make you vision board a reality is to keep it a secret until it manifests. Do you believe in this?
    I’ve received negativity lately over a goal I shared with my family. So I definitely see things from his perspective now. Maybe it is best to work hard in silence for abit.

  10. I’ve seen goal-driven people maximizing their vision boards to influence others. It’s really my desire to be reminded of where I want to be in the near future. I guess I need to work on my own vision board soon.

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  13. First time I heard about vision boards was back in 2010. Since the very first time I loved the idea of working on that project. I truly believe in them because God says we need to ask for what we want in order to receive it, and I think there is power in making our requests visual, because it gives them a positive energy.
    Moreover, I love your approach about focusing your visuals not in the things you want to achieve, have or visit, but in the feelings underneath them. That makes a HUGE different.

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