Ah, the topic of a vision board.
If this is your first time getting into self-improvement, chances are likely this is the first thing you’ve heard.
Or maybe not.
Whatever the case is, vision boards are an interesting tool but are also pretty notorious.
Well, part of it is that people are pretty split about vision boards.
Some claim it’s an effective tool.
Others claim it’s completely and utterly useless.
Because of this split, it’s a fair question to ask people about their stance of this particular tactic. And without a doubt, I’ve been asked this before:
Where do I stand on the whole debate?
Well, I’m sure the title can give you a hint, but I still encourage you to read on.
Because despite what people think, I don’t believe that vision boards are the all-powerful boards’ people play it up to be. But they’re also not utterly useless either.
In the right kind of situations, vision boards can be helpful. And I’ll explain how they can be in the creation of your vision board.
Step 1: Determine If There Is A Need For One
Before we jump into actually making a vision board, it’s worth looking at whether you really need one in the first place.
When I first heard of vision boards, I was working in a network marketing company selling skincare products. This company is actually one of the reasons I started this business in the first place. But one aspect they brought up was the idea of vision boards and making them.
I’m saying this because chances are likely if you heard about this concept, it might’ve been from this kind of scenario. Someone in a network marketing company telling you to make a vision board.
And no doubt they were very convincing about their reasons behind it.
I’m here to tell you that the reasons aren’t bogus, but may not necessarily apply to you.
You see, I think the massive divide between vision boards being helpful and useless boil down to this step.
This step of asking a simple question:
Do I need one or not?
The reason I’m starting with this question is important. It’s not a simple yes or no answer despite how clear this question is.
I ask this question to help you look at your own motivations. This is important because your motivations are more important than what others think of you.
When I first got into network marketing, I didn’t use a vision board. In fact, I still don’t have one. Why is that?
I looked at my motivations and determined a vision board wouldn’t help me at all.
In order to answer this question properly, you need to do what I did. Look at what motivates you truly and what will keep you focused.
If you think a collage of pictures of what you aspire for will help, it’ll help.
If you find it more motivating to have a why and write things out, then do that.
There are hundreds of ways of setting goals and staying motivated and focused. But that doesn’t mean you need to try every single tactic.
Like with diets and losing weight, you want to find a method that makes you feel good and will get you moving. As such, consider your emotions and even pull from past examples.
Have you ever been inspired by imagery? Or has it been by quotes, talks, or speeches?
How do you feel when looking at motivational posters?
Questions like these can help you to understand whether something like this will help you. If you can’t honestly answer these questions, I suggest you at least make a small vision board. The next steps will help you with that.
Step 2: Be Focused On Your Vision Board
If you decided that a vision board is something you do want, then start moving ahead and make one.
But a word of warning: avoid filling the board up with all kinds of things.
One thing network marketers will push is to fill a massive board with all kinds of things. From cars to trips and massive houses. Some people will really push for that kind of over-the-top stuff to make you feel excited.
It works, but it’s not effective when you need to hustle.
Instead of prioritizing filling a large bristle board with goals and aspirations, focus on a smaller collection of pictures. Limit yourself to a regular piece of paper.
The reason I suggest this isn’t to think small forever but to stay focused. One of the big traps to making a big board is there is a lot of emotion but no action. That’s because the act of putting together a massive vision board is to help you get massive dopamine high.
It’s a feel-good drug that your body puts you through and it’s highly addictive. So when you start, it’s easy to get in over your head, especially when people are telling you to think big or go big.
But once all of those emotions start to vanish, we begin to see the error of our ways. For many people, they learn that our brain doesn’t really work that way in terms of achieving goals.
You’ll find that if you go big, your brain is going to be feeling overwhelmed. It’ll be so overwhelmed that you just stop working towards your goals. And by the end of it, your vision board will be nothing but a pretty collage to look at.
Another example of showing this is the idea around to-do lists. Many people see these as ineffective tools because most people fill the list with all sorts of items. For many people, to-do lists have ten or more items to check off.
All the same, vision boards tend to be crammed with several items.
So do yourself a favour and don’t make a big vision board but focus on a handful of items. Like with goals, I suggest three at most. Maybe four or five if the goals are relatively small.
I think this method is the most effective because it still allows you to dream big. On top of that you’re focusing on the goals that matter the most to you.
You want to do that. That’s the whole purpose of vision boards. To achieve the goals that you set out to do.
So keep it focused and simple. That isn’t to say limit how much you want, but rather prioritize a little right now, but set most of your other desires to the side.
I’d also recommend looking at Design Wizard’s guide on building a vision board too.
Step 3: Set Clear Steps Towards That Vision
I see vision boards as another form of goal setting. As such, you want to be treating it similarly to how you set goals in the first place.
If you set a goal, explain the steps and processes to achieve it.
Want to be healthier? Explain the steps to what you determine as healthy. Is it exercising more? Or Eating better foods? Once you know the steps involved, don’t be afraid to place a sticky note on the side or a small checklist outlining the steps you want to take.
A vision board is more than just making a vision of what you hope to have. You want to visualize yourself doing the steps. In order to do that, you need to know and understand the steps to take to get there.
This makes the process more real and tangible. This also helps with motivation. After all, if you had nothing but a bunch of images and desires, your brain isn’t going to be able to process it properly. But if you guide yourself along, it’ll be clearer what must be done.
On top of that, it’s also worth talking about the steps themselves. The steps to take should be as simple as possible. You don’t want a goal to require ten or twenty steps in order to achieve it. In those situations, it’s better to set a smaller milestone to hit that goal.
You can’t go wrong with a goal requiring two or three simple steps. Even if those steps take several months to achieve, there is still clear direction.
Step 4: Check Your Progress And Re-Visualize
The purpose of a vision board is to help you visualize and stay focused on your goal. As such, you want to make sure your board is somewhere you can see it on the regular. This may require you to make multiple copies of it to ensure you see it.
I’m not saying you need to place it everywhere. But place them in places you’re around on the regular. The kitchen. Your room. Your office. Places where you can glance over and see it.
This is essential as you can use that opportunity to check your progress on a daily basis.
Much like having a mentor with your goals, this is a way to regularly check up on yourself and see if you’re slipping up. You can also use this as an opportunity to motivate yourself further.
What strategies worked for you yesterday?
How do you feel about your progress so far?
What can you do to make it better or keep up that consistency?
Doing this every single day may not add too much, but as you go through the week, you can find it adding up.
Step 5: Have Other Rewards
Sure achieving what you visualize can feel amazing. However, with every success there comes complacency. We start to get comfortable whenever we become successful.
It’s easy to think that we are superior or the best.
It’s a dangerous way of thinking.
As such, it’s important for us to reward ourselves. But reward ourselves appropriately. I suggest this because when people become successful, they tend to reward themselves by thinking that they are superior.
And why wouldn’t they? They just overcame a massive hurdle in their life and got closer to their dream life.
It’s a massive dose of dopamine, but also a massive influx in our ego. It develops hubris rather than humility.
So instead of treating yourself in that sense, it’s more important to spend that time in reflection. Take the time to reward yourself by looking at what you did to get to this point. What lessons did you learn? What strategies help you achieve the goal in the first place?
By answering those questions, you can begin to reward yourself by applying those lessons to your other visions.
And perhaps indulge a little bit in that success. After all, life isn’t about hopping from goal to goal. You deserve to reward yourself in other ways. Maybe take a vacation for a few days or a week?
Vision Boards Work If You Work
If you find them to be helpful tools, vision boards can bring out that potential to achieve your goals. But don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work for you. Again, we find inspiration in our goals in various ways.
One more thing I will say about vision boards is to at least give them a single try. At the very least it’ll help you in understanding what is the best way for you to be setting your goals and achieving them.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon