How to Make a Vision Board for 2023

A vision board can be understood as a visual version of affirmations. You take a board and put together pictures or words that represent the dreams and goals that you want to come true someday.

As I was researching this topic, I was surprised to discover that Oprah Winfrey created a vision board with a picture of Obama and the dress she’d wear at his inauguration. Singer Katy Perry also made a vision board that represented the dreams she’d achieve in music one day.

The first time I can recall hearing about the idea was in the documentary, The Secret. One of the people interviewed put together a cutout of the type of house they wanted to own someday.

Years later he randomly found it again while searching through old things with his child and got emotional realizing he got the house he wanted. Making a visual representation of your dreams isn’t magic.

But the way it can work for you is it can increase your focus on pursuing what you desire in life and inspire you to act. Here’s how you can make a vision board for yourself.

Collage of pictures vision board

What is a vision board and how to make one

As mentioned earlier, a vision board (also sometimes called a dream board), is a collage of words, phrases, pictures, and symbols that represent the goals you want to achieve. When you look at your board, it’s supposed to inspire you to keep pushing towards your goals and help you visualize yourself achieving them.

It’s really simple to get started with a visual board. All it takes is some old magazines and some kind of board you can use to put together the collage of words and pictures. You can also choose to go digital and create your board on your phone or computer.

Once you have the supplies you intend to use, start thinking about what goals you want to achieve. What are the dreams in your mind and your heart that you want to become true someday?

Take a few moments to really reflect on that. Once you feel you’ve figured it out, start cutting out images in the magazines (or finding images on the internet) that represent your specific dreams.

Tape those images together on your board piece by piece, or if you’re going digital, paste them in a word document or photoshop. When you’ve got all the pictures together, keep your board somewhere where you’ll always see it.

Look at it everyday to feel motivation and inspiration to do everything you can to make that vision a reality. You might be surprised how much it helps.

How to figure out what to put on your vision board?

For some, the hardest part about making a goals board is figuring out what to put on. Here are some ideas that might help you.

1. Ask yourself what you want to change

No matter how much we have in life, there’s always something we wish we could change. The biggest changes we want to make usually center around a deep longing we have, or a deep pain we’re hurting from.

Take a moment to think about those two thoughts for a moment. Ask yourself:

  • What do I still long for?
  • What deep pain do I still want to heal from?

The answers you think of in your mind can help you get on the right track. Think of this moment right now as the hopeful beginning of your time to finally get what you want.

2. Think about what makes you happy

There may be something in your life that makes you feel good that you don’t get enough. Maybe you want to travel more or play music more.

Anything you feel you’re lacking in life is something you can commit to pursuing. You can make it your mission to create a lifestyle that allows you to enjoy what makes you happiest most of the time.

Related: How to Be Happy in 2022 Based on 27 Scientific Studies

3. Make the decision

You may know exactly what you want to put on your dream board now, but perhaps you fear you can’t get it. Maybe you’re unsure if you can make it happen.

If you think like that, that will more likely be the case. Believe you can achieve your desires and confidently decide to put what you want to achieve on your vision board.

The science of vision boards

According to neuroscientist Tara Swart, when you create a vision board, your brain is primed to recognize opportunity.

You may recall a study that I’ve frequently mentioned in my articles about luck. When tested on who could discover a word in a newspaper, those who felt they were lucky found the word quicker than those who didn’t.

The reasoning was because the people who felt lucky influenced themselves to be more open to seeing an opportunity than those who didn’t.

Similarly, in the case of a vision board, you influence yourself to be more aware of opportunities to make your visual representation come true.

Think of it like if you were focusing on finding a job. If that’s your focus in a specific moment, you’ll probably be more likely to see a now hiring or help wanted sign around town than someone who isn’t focused on that.

Visualization

Another thing to consider is the studies that back up visualization. You’ve probably heard of athletes who visualize themselves performing a move exactly the way they practiced.

A Psychology Today article talks about research that’s shown weight lifters who mentally imagined themselves lifting heavy weights activated the same brain patterns used when they actually do lift them.

One researcher even found that when compared to people who physically practiced a finger abduction exercise, those who mentally imagined themselves doing it had gained more strength.

If that’s the case with a simple finger exercise, imagine what could happen if you had a visual image of your future house that you looked at every day. You might find yourself actually living in that house sooner than you think.

Related: When One Door Closes Another Door Opens

Benefits of a vision board

There are a number of ways creating a visual representation of your goals can benefit you. Here are a few to consider

1. Less stress

One way that Tara Swart argues it helps is by reducing our stress towards doing new things. The dream your pursuing is a new thing you’ve never done before, which can in some cases bring about anxious feelings.

You might feel anxious about what tasks you’ll have to do or what new situations you’ll have to put yourself in.

If everyday you look at your visual board and see yourself achieving your goal, it can become familiar to you.

As it feels familiar in your mind, the idea of doing the things it’ll take to get there can feel less anxious to you.

2. Increased motivation

I probably don’t have to show you any study or research to tell you that looking at an image of what you want to achieve can make you feel good.

Some of you have images of yourself when you were at your peak physical fitness that brings back good feelings.

Without pointing to any science again, just based off of all of our experiences, it’s probably true when we feel good, we’re more likely to do something.

So putting two and two together, a visual of your goal could bring up good feelings inside that motivate you to do the task you need to do to accomplish your dream.

3. Increase your focus

As I mentioned earlier, creating a visual board can be helpful to increasing your focus on what you want in life.

There’s less likelihood it’s going to slip your mind if you’re seeing it everyday on your wall or somewhere where you can’t avoid it.

That’s one of the main actions required with creating one. You need to put it somewhere where you’ll end up seeing it every day.

Much like the increased awareness that came from those who believed they were lucky, the increased focus on your goals through visual boards can help increase your awareness of opportunities.

Word of caution on visual boards

There are some studies that argue visual boards don’t work, but those studies point out the reason why they didn’t work.

Compared to students asked to visualize studying, University of Oklahoma students that were asked to visualize getting a good grade ended up making a lower grade.

Another study that was pointed to was one where those who visualized an idealized future were less likely to put in action to getting it.

The conclusion was it created a feeling in the mind that the goal was already achieved, causing a relaxation response and thus reducing energy to act.

This is helpful research to remind us that it’s not just looking at a picture every day and believing it’ll happen, but actually acting on it too.

Researchers recommend putting visuals of actually working towards the goal to better achieve them. Frankly, I think it can be good to put both the work and the achievement.

Perhaps it could strengthen our belief in ourselves that it’s possible to make what we desire happen. Here’s more research on vision boards you might like:

Final thoughts on visual boards

With most things you want in life, you’re going to have to put in the work to get it. Remember that visual boards are a tool to inspire you to act.

Use the board as a means to heighten your focus on what you want to achieve in life. As you feel inspired and have increased focus, you’ll be more likely to make your dreams a reality.

Believe you can achieve the things you want to accomplish. If so many people before you were able to be successful in their goals, it’s possible that you can be successful too.

Create your visual board and start putting in the work to make your goals happen.

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