When it comes to the question of how to create a vision board that really works, different opinions are held on it. But the question of whether vision boards have any significant impact on achieving goals doesn’t have any answer other than a resounding YES!
Several kinds of research have shown us that mental imagery (when done properly) have lasting effects on our beliefs, thinking, behavior, and decisions.
Before we jump into how to create a vision board that works, let’s take a look at some things to put in mind when you are trying to create your vision boards.
Which goals do you need to achieve with your vision board?
This is the first thing to consider when making vision boards.
It’s better if vision boards are created off of goals. As opposed to just creating a vision board at tea-parties.
Because vision boards that are not based on concrete goals are nothing but something I like to call; wish-boards.
And wish-boards are nothing but fantasies to your brain.
According to recent neuroscience researches, fantasies do more harm than good.
So, go write down your goals!!
And don’t make the mistake of thinking that vision boards are only appropriate for long-term goals. You can also use them for short-term goals.
Whichever you choose to work on, make sure that the goals are SMART. Better yet, go make them SMARTER.
And if you really want to make sure the goals resonate with you, make them SSMMAARRTTER. Learn to do that by clicking here.
The idea is you want to have goals first. And you want to have a solid plan behind those goals.
After that, you can create vision boards around those goals and solid plans.
Find a balance between the process and the outcome of your goals on your vision boards
Most vision boards are outcome-based.
Most vision boards are filled with Lamborghinis, mansions on the hill, the cute happy families, and all the other things that usually make people tick.
All these are the outcomes of achieving your goals.
That Lamborghini on your vision board is an outcome of making more money.
That mansion on the hill is also an outcome of making more money.
Making more money is your actual goal.
And achieving this goal will have some processes involved.
The mistake that most people make when designing their vision boards is that they make it a hundred percent outcome-based.
Their vision boards don’t really involve any process.
Research by Pham and Taylor showed that having mental images of processes for achieving goals showed far better results than focusing on the outcomes.
Studies like this have been conducted on students preparing for exams, professional golfers and tennis players.
The solution to outcome vs process
To solve the problem of process versus outcome on your vision boards, try to incorporate some process-based images on your vision boards.
How do you do this?
For instance, if your goal is to make more money, and you did the previous checklist of making the goal SMART, you’ll already have a definite plan (or the beginning of one) to achieve the goal.
So, let’s say you are a business owner, and your plan is to have thirty more customers in the next three months, then you can easily see the process of achieving your ‘make more money’ goal.
If you want to represent this process on your vision board, you can find pictures of happy and satisfied customers, pictures related to doing whatever service you render perfectly, or pictures of a very pleasant business environment where people are going about their businesses.
These are all pictures that will provide mental image representations of the processes that might be involved in achieving your ‘make more money’ goal.
I’m not saying you should totally remove the pictures of the Lamborghinis from your board.
I’m just saying you should throw in some pictures that won’t make your board totally look like a scene from Frozen.
The emotion alert!
Our subconscious mind is a very powerful associative machine, and so is our brain.
One thing that can easily trigger chains of deep-seated memories, thoughts and behaviors is our emotions.
Pictures speak to us on an emotional level.
And the result of this is that they evoke a certain emotion in us.
After an emotion has been triggered, our brain will then go on to search for memories and thoughts that have caused this similar emotion in the past.
That’s why when you see a picture that triggers an emotion like fear, your brain immediately searches for times you’ve had fearful experiences in the past, and this memory or thought will trigger another fearful memory/thought. And on and on until you become really AFRAID.
The process above takes place in split seconds.
So fast that you might not even realize what had just happened.
Because of this, it’s good to use your emotions as a guide when you are hunting down pictures for your vision boards.
Listen to how you are feeling when you are looking at a picture you are considering for your vision board.
It’s not cool to have pictures on your board that subconsciously trigger a negative emotion in you whenever you look at them.
A personal example of mine is a phobia I have for water.
I know I’m never buying a vacation home that’s near the ocean.
I know I’m never going on a ship cruise.
So, as a result of this, you won’t find a picture depicting any of these on my vision board (I don’t care how luxurious the picture might look).
Make the vision board yours (Try to personalize it as much as you can)
When you are doing the picture hunt for your vision boards, try as much as possible to personalize the pictures that’ll go on your board.
As an example, if you live in the UK, the currency you spend and interact with daily is pounds.
If you want to put a picture of money on your board, and you use the picture of dollars, this can likely create a form of cognitive dissonance.
To your brain, money means pounds. It’s what you spend and interact with day in day out.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you should try to make your board as close to your personal reality as possible.
That’s why I mostly don’t use magazine pictures for my vision boards.
Most magazine pictures of vacation homes I want to buy in the future mostly have an ocean view.
And as I said earlier, I have a phobia for water.
The best solution to be emotionally alert when you are hunting down pictures is this;
The internet has made creating vision boards really easy.
And this is the resource I mostly use to acquire my vision board pictures.
I go on Pinterest, search google images, Pixabay, Shopify picture database, and other resources; until I track down that picture of the vacation home that is not by the beach.
Until I track down that vacation home that doesn’t give me the vibe and feeling of drowning whenever I look at it.
So, take your sweet time to hunt down the picture of money in your currency, the house designs that are in the Vogue of your Country, and so on.
In short, make your vision boards somewhat personal.
Use Affirmations with your pictures
We all know that positive affirmations are very powerful in conditioning the subconscious mind.
That’s why I like putting affirmations on my vision boards.
Not primarily because of the positivity and law of attraction reasons you might be thinking (although it’s part of it).
I like affirmations on my vision boards because it helps me create a sort of narrative for my vision boards.
Pictures on the board will be telling a story.
And this narrative that affirmations depict is something like an anchor that holds the story together.
Also, affirmations on my vision boards are like positive messages to my subconscious mind.
So, when I read the affirmations attached to my vision board, apart from the conditioning that occurs in the subconscious, I’m telling an ideal story and that makes me feel good.
Don’t create a messy vision board
I think this is kind of implied.
But it had to be added anyway.
Some people’s vision boards are a giant cluster of a hot mess. Everything is all over the place.
A messy vision board creates nothing but an impression of a messy lifestyle.
Vision boards are supposed to help you focus on your goals, but a messy one will do the opposite of that.
Psychologically speaking, I don’t think the first thing you want to see in the morning is a clustered vision board.
That’s not a good sight early in the morning.
I know you have a lot of goals and a lot of aspect of your life that you want to improve.
But you can do yourself a favor and;
- Divide the board into goal-segments and don’t let a segment overlap another one.
- And if you see that pictures are getting too much on the board, you can transfer other segments to another board.
How to create a vision board that will serve your goals
Let’s have a step-by-step over the shoulder look at how to make a good and working vision board for your goals.
- A board: Can be a wooden plank, cardboard, or a big A3 or A2 paper.
- Cellotapes or pins: This is used to pin the pictures to the board
- A color printer and A4 papers
- Internet connection: Used to hunt down the perfect pictures online.
- A pair of scissors: If you’ll eventually need to cut your pictures.
STEP-BY-STEP WALKTHROUGH OF HOW I CREATED MY FIRST VISION BOARD
STEP 1: List your goals
There are different types of goals as we all know. There are goals that are short-term and goals that are long-term.
You can also categorize those goals based on the aspect of your life they belong to; finance, relationship, health, career, and so on.
Make a list of your goals, categorize them, and make the goals SMART.
My vision board Example:
The goal I want to use a vision board for is this;
- A financial goal of making more money and living a better life.
STEP 2: Find the pictures that represent the outcomes and the processes involved in achieving your goals
This is now the fun part.
The picture hunt!
I mostly use the internet to hunt down the perfect (or close to perfect) picture that will serve my purpose.
If I can get what I need from the magazines I have at home, I use that also.
But I mostly use google image results, pixabay, Shopify, and my Pinterest account to hunt down pictures.
At this stage, what I have in mind when I’m looking for the pictures are;
- The types of emotions a picture I come across is triggering in me.
- What the picture is saying about my goal; is it an Outcome-based picture or a process-based picture
- Can I personally relate to the picture? Is the picture personal and in congruence with my reality to some extent.
My Vision Board Example:
The outcomes of my above goal can include;
- Buying a luxury car: A Lexus ES350 series
- Buying a mansion that has everything I love about a house
- Picture of a lot of money
- Eating at the finest restaurants
And because I’m a day-trader/writer by trade, my plans for achieving my financial goal are built around these trades.
So, the processes that might be involved in achieving the goal can be;
- A creative writer that writes consistently
- A home office that is comfy that I can use to trade and write
- Customers that buy my books and are satisfied
- A picture of Ellon Musk; because to me, he’s a representation of time management, productivity, and hard work. I might find a picture of him in his work environment.
And I will keep in mind the emotions that the picture I find triggers in me.
STEP 3: Create your board pictures in MS-Word and add appropriate affirmations to each picture
Why I mostly use MS-Word to design my vision board is because it allows me to add my affirmations easily to wherever I want on the pictures.
At this stage, you can use the narrative of your affirmations to represent the processes of achieving your goal if you can’t find the perfect picture of those processes in the previous step.
My Vision Board Example:
The affirmations I’ll attach to my pictures are;
- I AM A CREATIVE WRITER! Anytime I sit down to write, I have the ability to create magical writing that changes other people’s lives for the better and help them achieve their life goals.
- Happy CLIENTS, I have helped achieve their life goals through my writing, my websites, and my referrals.
- My first million pounds by 14 February 2017
- I just love working from my beautiful home office
- Welcome to my beautiful home in London
- I love the comfort that my Lexus ES350 brings me
When I’ve written out the affirmations, I’ll open a blank document in MS-Word and change the orientation to landscape.
The best tool to use to insert the pictures into MS-Word is the ‘simple text box’ tool which can be found under the INSERT tab as shown below
Delete the text inside the box and drag your downloaded pictures into the text box.
This allows you to move the pictures easily to anywhere on the page, without messing up the rest of your work.
See the illustration below;
To add any form of affirmation, add another text box to the document, type your affirmations and place it anywhere you want on the document.
After I’m done, I have three pages of word documents.
See attached vision board MS-Word template for a finished vision board. Which you can just edit for your own use and print.
STEP 4: Print your pictures (and cut them up)
Depending on the type of printer you have access to, this is what will determine how your final vision board will look like.
If you have a printer that can print A4 sized papers, you can arrange the pictures as I did in the MS-Word template.
Print out and cut them up.
If your color printer is a smaller size, like 13 cm to 19 cm (Size of a medium envelope), you can print the pictures individually.
STEP 5: Pin your pictures to the board
The final step is to attach the pictures to the board.
Ideally, I fill the board with pictures in the following ratio; fifty percent process-based and fifty percent outcome-based.
And I also put the process-based pictures at the top of the board.
Here is what my final board looks like;
Over to you
Believe it or not, I have been able to achieve the three processed-based pictures on the board above.
When I got to this stage, I was more motivated, more committed to my goals, and I was a lot more creative.
As a result of this, I’ve achieved one of the outcome-based pictures on the board.
Still working on the last two.
So, I know that vision boards work when they are designed properly.
This step-by-step process can be followed to easily create any type of vision board for any type of goal.
The key elements to remember are;
- To make the board both process and outcome-based
- To check-in with your emotions when you are creating your board
- Use powerful affirmations with your pictures
- To neatly arrange the pictures on the board; Don’t create a messy board
- To have fun when you’re designing your vision board
If you have any contribution, question, or just want to share your experience with vision boards, use the comment section below.
Till we speak again, remember to STAY GOAL-ORIENTED and STAY WEALTHY.