As you may already know, visualisation can be a great tool to help you to break down negative beliefs, train your mind to focus on the positive and to help attract into your life the things that you desire. And a vision board is a great tool to make your visualisation practice even more powerful!
If you’ve read any of my articles, you’ll know that I believe The Law of Attraction isn’t some kind of magic spell that will suddenly conjure up new cars and houses for you whilst you lounge around on the sofa watching Netflix.
You still need to take action to make it work!
That said, I believe the Law of Attraction and visualization can stimulate your subconscious to work for you and help guide you (often without you realising) in taking the right actions at the right time. In this article I want to share with you why the ‘standard’ approach to vision boards may not work for you and what you might want to try instead.
What is a Vision Board?
Let’s start out by explaining what a vision board actually is.
A vision board in its basic form, is a board of any kind used to display a collage of pictures, quotes, words and photographs that represent your goals and dreams. You can buy these from professional suppliers or make your own using a cork board, poster board, white boards or even just a collage printed out from your computer.
The idea is that having visual reminders of your goals can help you visualise them more frequently. Doing this keeps them at the forefront of your mind and helps you to continually look for ways to move closer to achieving them.
Seeing your goals everyday can stimulate the creative power of both your conscious and subconscious mind. This can result in you utilising resources and noticing and taking action on opportunities that may have escaped your attention previously.
How to Create a Vision Board
One of the standard pieces of advice is to cut out or print pictures of the things you want in your life and put them on your vision board. This is fine and I’m not suggesting you ditch this idea, but when conducting research I found various articles and scientific studies that suggest focussing only on your desired outcome may actually decrease your chances of success.
For example, in a study at the University of California researchers asked groups of students to visualize themselves doing well on an exam.
One group was asked to visualize themselves getting a high grade and another was asked to visualize themselves studying hard for the exam.
Results showed the group that visualized the process – ie studying for the exam did far better than the group that visualized just the outcome – ie a high grade. Researchers think the reason for this is because our brains cannot distinguish between the imagined vision and reality.
Usually this is a good thing as your brain helps you close the gap between your reality and the images in your visualizations. However it can also backfire and cause what the researchers call a ‘relaxation response’. Basically your brain thinks you’ve achieved your goal and tells you to slack off! This decreases your motivation and energy to actually achieve your goal.
So what conclusions can we draw from this?
After reading through this research, I made a few small but important changes to my vision board. I recommend you try these yourself especially if you’ve created a vision board but feel it’s not quite working for you.
4 Things to Add to Your Vision Board
1. The kind of person you need to be
When you’ve visualized your goal, as well as pinning up pictures of the things you want to achieve try adding pictures, images, quotes and words that represent the kind of person you need to be in order to achieve that goal.
For example, in business, my philosophy is not to focus on making money but on helping others to succeed.
I believe if you do that money will always follow. So I’ve added the following statement on and picture to my vision board:
“Help others as you learn and grow. Always Add Value!”
2. The kind of actions needed to succeed
When doing your visualization exercises, try to work backwards from your goal to see the kind of actions you took along the path to success. One way to do this is to use the Movie Visualisation technique mentioned here. Whilst seeing the movie of yourself having achieved your goal, minimize it in your mind and move it to one side of the your field of vision, either side is fine, whatever feels right for you.
Then imaging yourself as you are now on the opposite side. Next, draw an imaginary timeline between them and work backwards from your dream image visualizing the kind of things you might have done to achieve that goal.
Once you’ve done this you can then add pictures, photographs, words, motivating phrases or quotes that represent those actions to your board.
For example, if one of your goals is to become fitter you may have visualized yourself regularly working out in the gym, eating healthy food and going for regular walks or runs. In this case you could add pictures to your board that represent these actions and perhaps some motivational quotes related to those actions.
On my vision board for example, I have a clock showing the time as 5am! This is because in my visualization I saw myself regularly waking up and 5am to push my business forward.
3. Your Senses
Adding how you want to feel as well as the other senses you might experience once you’ve achieved your goal adds a lot of depth to your vision and really brings it to life.
For example, in my job or in business, I know that a big motivating factor for me is helping other people to succeed. So on my Vision board I have a statement right in the middle that says:
“I feel amazing when my work helps others”
This can work for more tangible things as well. For example, for your dream home you could try something like the following on your board:
“I feel happy and relaxed looking out the window of my beachfront house. The window is open, I see waves gently lapping at the shore, I feel the light sea breeze on my skin, I smell the refreshing salty air from the ocean."
4. Past events you’d like to keep occurring/ improving on
Including photographs or mementos of fantastic experiences that you would like to experience again in the future and maybe even improve upon is a great motivating tool to add to your vision board.
For example, on my vision board I have a selfie taken at the Tokyo Sky Tree on a recent family trip to Japan. It reminds me of how much I love Japan and that I want to revisit it regularly with my family.
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Putting It All Together
Keep it tidy
When adding things to your board try to keep it tidy and be very selective about what you put on there.
I like to leave space between each item to avoid it looking cluttered or chaotic.
Pick a Time and place
When putting your vision board together I recommend setting aside a couple of stress-free hours one evening or weekend when you know you won’t be disturbed.
Set the mood. Turn off other distractions, maybe put on some relaxing music or do whatever your need to create a relaxing atmosphere to allow your mind to settle.
How to Use Your Vision Board
Visualizing in the evening just before going to bed can be very powerful. This is because the images and thoughts you present to your mind in the hour before sleep tend to get replayed and analysed in your subconscious throughout the night. For that reason I recommend you place your board somewhere in your bedroom that you can review it each evening before bed and each morning to set your intentions for the day.
The way you think is very important. It can affect how you feel, how you behave and what occurs in your life.
Creating a vision board as a physical reminder of what you want to achieve is a great way to keep your goals front and centre. To make your board even more powerful try adding elements that represent what kind of person you need to be, the kind of actions you might need to take, what senses you will experience when you’ve achieved your goal as well as previous positive events that you’d like to repeat.
It’s also important to remember that even though you are training your brain to focus on the positive this doesn’t mean you should ignore and repress negative thoughts.
Negative thoughts can help us examine, accept, learn from and move forward from loss or failure. If you try to keep a healthy balance and don’t get attached to negative thoughts (an example of being detached from a negative thought would be` I feel anger` vs `I am angry`) then the negative feeling will not be a part of you and you won’t be controlled by it.
Your vision board is a powerful visual reminder of not only what you want to achieve but as you start to manifest your goals it also becomes a reminder of what you have already consciously and deliberately attracted into your life.
If you haven’t created a vision board yet, I highly recommend trying it. I’ve been amazed at how things have seemingly popped up all over the place once I set my intention for what I wanted and how I wanted to act and feel. I'm always looking to improve on my vision board and add and change things over time to see what works. For another viewpoint on vision boards check out these vision board ideas from my friend Iulian.