December. This is the time of year where we reflect on the year that is quickly ending, the goals we have achieved, and become hopeful about the year ahead of us. In many ways 2016 is a year that many of us be may be glad to see come to an end. With the political circus that was the 2016 Election, I know that I’m happy to turn the page and lay out my strategy for personal and professional success in 2017.
In 2016 I set some ambitious goals and I accomplished some of them (hint: you’re reading one) and some are on the table again for 2017 with some modifications. But one thing that really helped me in goal setting was finding a way to capture and articulate my goals in a way that keeps me inspired and mindful for the entire year.
Several years ago I decided to take a different approach in the New Year and create a vision board. Vision boards are a visualization tool that allow you to represent what you want to achieve through pictures, items, and the feelings that they bring. It is visual goal setting that helps you to focus your intentions in a meaningful way.
Vision boards get a lot of hype, and rightfully so. Oprah is a big believer in the power of vision boards and even talked about them in her Life Class with Steve Harvey. Check the link when you get a chance, it’s well worth the time. Celebrity attention aside, I have had better success with goals using the vision board method than just writing goals down, and I’m not the only one. Several friends have confirmed that by creating a visual reminder of their goals they have traveled to bucket-list destinations, accomplished fitness goals, and achieved professional success—including being featured on a television program to promote their business— all things that were included on their vision board.
Here are some tips for creating your vision board and moving into 2017 with intention:
- Prioritize. Your vision board should be focused on your highest priorities. You cannot include every thought that passes through your mind, as tempting as the idea may be, it would distract from your more important goals in the long run. Ideally your vision board should be centered on just 1-2 goals in the most important areas of your life.
- Include a picture of yourself. The whole purpose of a vision board is you. By including a picture of yourself on the board you are centering the board around your life, your goals, and the growth of, well, you! Even without a picture, yes, the board would still be centered on you, but it’s easier to envision your life the way you’d like it to look if you include yourself on your board to remind you of what could be in real-life if you put your nose down and do some work.
- Dream Big. Your vision board doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t be, entirely about short-term goals. Find some large and/or long-term goals to tackle that seem hard to achieve. Even if they seem far-fetched, if they’re important to you they should be on the board! You never know what you’re capable of doing until you feel like you have to do it- even if it seems impossibly hard when you think of doing it (ever seen the TV show Naked and Afraid? It’s something like that.) The sense of accomplishment you feel from completing your goals will make you forget the fear that initially seemed to paralyze you.
- Put Your Vision Board Somewhere Visible. There is no point in creating something visual and putting it in a place that you’ll never see it. Put it in a prominent place in your home where it’ll be seen and inspire you the most. If your goals are about self-improvement and one goal is to “cook healthier food” and another is “watch less TV” it’d be best used in the main living space of the house. On a similar note, if your goals are more career-oriented your office or workspace would be a better place to put your vision board.
- Share it. Once you create your vision board share it with those who will help keep your motivation up. This ensures that you’re not only visualizing your goals- but you’re putting them out into the world for other people to hold you to and support you with. This increases the likelihood of your follow-through.
- Leave room for change. Revisit your vision board throughout the year. You may find that some of your goals may need a second look or revising. There’s nothing wrong with updating your goals to reflect the reality of your year or any hang-ups or changes you may need to make. You may also find that after accomplishing some of your goals earlier in the year, you have more ambitious goals that you would like to add to the board. The point here, is that your vision board is a reflection of you. You are growing and changing and so should your vision board.
Your vision board is not a magical wishing board or a genie in a bottle, it will not work simply because you created it. You must still do the work necessary to make things happen. It is intended to help you focus and recall all of the reasons that you set your mind towards a particular goal to begin with. Do the work and the results will come.
Here are a couple places you can look for tickets to vision board parties to help you start your 2017 vision board! Maybe I’ll see you there
Happy New Year!!