We are nearing that time of year where we become inundated with terms like goals, resolutions, self-transformation, etc. The start of a new year so often gives people hope and a bit of extra motivation to get moving or carry on improving areas of life that are personally important and meaningful.
Too often, it seems that we start out of the gate full of energy and optimism and then after a few weeks, those big hopes, plans and dreams begin to fade away. Perhaps the new habits didn't stick, or unforeseeable things got in the way. After a couple of months, our shiny plans and ideas can quickly become completely buried -- only to be uncovered again at the start of the next year.
One way I help combat this vicious cycle of dream obstruction is to create a vision board with colorful images and reminders of my clear goals that I will spend the next year working toward.
Having a plan or road map that points in the general direction we most want to go is the first step to getting there. I first learned about the art of creating a mind map or vision board in university. It is probably the most important tool, I still use, that I took away from my education.
For anyone unfamiliar with vision boards, it is basically a detailed plan of your goals that utilizes your creativity. You can make one on a large poster board, or in a journal. I have also seen it created with animation or other forms of technology. The plan that is being mapped out could be for a particular project or venture. It could even be a plan for the bigger picture of your hopes for the future.
I create a new one every Jan. 1 to set up my goals and steps for the year ahead.
Putting pen to paper and engaging our creative senses is a brilliant and important step towards actualizing our dreams.
When I make my vision boards, I love to use affirmations and bold statements that have personal meaning attached to them. These words are powerful because they provide me with reminders of what I have said that is most important to me. I also add meaningful images and scenes that may look like nothing more than magazine cutouts -- but to me, they draw a distinct picture of where I am headed. These images and words are a product of my forward thinking.
Now comes the important part: I display my vision board where I can see my goals regularly, and I commit to doing something each day towards reaching these goals that is broken down into smaller, manageable steps. The best part about mapping a clear vision is that it creates awareness of your deepest desires. When opportunities come up that are in line with these dreams, it becomes much easier to recognize them -- and seize them.
Having your vision board displayed where you see it regularly is powerful. It has always helped me to move past that three week hurdle and every other obstacle that comes up throughout the year. The road to reaching our dreams and goals is usually bumpy and there will be stopping places. Having that visual reminder where I can see it, has always encouraged me to hit the "restart" button and keep moving forward, instead of completely throwing in the towel and giving up when there are setbacks.
The art of defining my dreams in this way, and setting out to reach them has been fundamental in believing in myself and following through with my goals to turn them into reality.
It is an incredible feeling to begin with a thought, turn it into a goal, and one day realize you have actually achieved what you once only thought about.
As you embark on yet another new year, see what happens when you carve out some creative time to craft a vision board that is personally meaningful, realistic and in line with your goals for the year ahead. As you dive into the creative process, imagine what it will feel like at the end of the year to have either achieved these goals or to be in process of reaching them. Being in process is what it is all about, one foot in front of the other will eventually lead you somewhere and is much better than standing still.
Have fun with it, and all the best for an amazing year ahead!
If you liked this post and are looking for ways to develop more joyful habits, check out my new book Fall in Love with Your Life, One Week at a Time