Visualisation. Manifestation. It all sounds very woo-woo and may be easy to dismiss (I mean, someone in The Secret said they visualised a parking spot – laugh with me), but for many, vision boards work.
Studies on the effectiveness of vision boarding are conflicted (some encourage it, others say it makes no difference when it comes to helping you achieve goals) – but so are studies on drinking coffee or wine, for instance. In the end, it’s about what you choose to believe. So, what is a vision board? It’s exactly that – a piece of paper or board that features images of things that you want to achieve or attain, from material objects to career or relationship goals, or changed behaviour (yours, not others’). To vision board is to have visual representations of your goals and desires with the hope that this brings you one step closer to making those a reality. If this sounds like something you’re interested in trying, read on for tips on how to get started.
First things first: vision boarding isn’t a magic tool to fix your life. So, while it helps to visualise and/ or remind yourself what you want to achieve, that’s only an aiding tool. Positive thinking is useful, but just as you can’t think yourself out of poverty (no matter how many people tell you “poverty is a state of mind”), you can’t think your way into success without taking the necessary steps to increase chances of achieving your goals.
According to an article in Inc. Magazine, vision boards can sometimes hinder you rather than push progress: “When you put a picture of a Lamborghini on your vision board, your brain reacts as if you already have a Lamborghini. You’ll experience a relaxation response that reduces your energy and decreases your motivation… Try visualising yourself going through the motions of what it takes to succeed – like changing your diet, working out in the gym, or studying hard. Then, you’ll equip yourself to go out there and get it… it’s important to identify short-term action steps you can start taking right now.”
… but also leave room for magic
That’s not to say every dream has a clear, step-by-step path leading to it – of course not. Otherwise some dreams wouldn’t be dreams. So, call it divine intervention, God, the Universe, Ancestors, or Yaweh – but open yourself up to the fact that in some cases, it will take more than hard work to get your goals: luck also has a role to play.
As Oprah Winfrey famously said: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Some opportunities can be created, others cannot. Make peace with that and the fact that you can’t control everything.
Go old school
Many seasoned vision boarders swear by having an actual, physical piece of paper or board, kept in a highly visible place so that you see your hopes and dreams every chance you get. If that’s the route you want to go, then get a stack of magazines or newspapers, scissors and glue, and get collaging.
It might even be a good idea to have your name in the middle of the vision board so that you remember who it’s for – not that you’d forget, of course.
If paper and glue isn’t your thing, then make a vision board using your phone, tablet and/or computer. The most obvious online home for vision boards is Pinterest: you can create a secret board, name it whatever you wish (‘Mimi’s Vision Board 2020’, for instance) and then pin images to said board.
There are also plenty of vision board apps and websites, with some even formatting your board as a wallpaper, so every time you open up your computer or phone screen, you’re greeted by what you are manifesting.
Write it down
If flipping through magazines and cutting out images isn’t quite up your alley, or you’re generally not an image-driven person, try writing things down instead. Much like New Year’s resolutions, you can keep a journal where you write down things you want to achieve, habits you would like to change and note the progress that you’re making.
Let it go
In an interview, Oprah said while she no longer vision boards, she advises that those who do need to visualise what they want, put it on their board (be it physical or mental) – and then let it go. She said it’s important to want something without obsessing over it to the point that you fear not getting it.
This is especially true if it’s something you don’t have full control over or a clear path towards. For example, I had wanted to go to San Francisco since childhood (blame the TV show Charmed), but I didn’t have the means to do so for several years. This dream remained in the back of my mind and one day, I was presented with the chance to go on an all-expenses-paid trip to the coastal city. My San Fran dream came true because I believe I manifested it without being consumed by it. Believe in what you want and work as realistically as possible towards achieving it – but don’t be too hard on yourself if everything doesn’t go as smoothly as you want it to.
Do what works for you
Remember: there’s no one size fits all. Maybe this is all New Age nonsense to you, which is perfectly fine. But if you’re looking to try it, hopefully this article has given you some guidance. Happy vision boarding!