Tips to Visualize Your Goals with a Vision Board

For Women & Co., by Kate Hanley,

Raise your hand if you spent any of your afternoons as a teenager combing through magazines, cutting out pictures and phrases you liked and pasting them on to a piece of cardboard.

Congratulations, you're already a seasoned vision board maker!

It seems that vision boards became wildly popular after they were featured in the documentary "The Secret." But you don't have to believe in -- or even know about -- the law of attraction (which essentially states that what you focus on grows) to make good use of a vision board. Better yet, you don't need an entire summer off and a bin full of glitter pens to create one. But before we get to how, let's clear something up first:

Why Use a Vision Board?
If you just sit down with pen and paper (or laptop or tablet) when you go to create your list of long and short-term goals for your career and your family, you'll miss those things your logical mind hasn't quite gotten around to verbalizing yet. Putting together a vision board can crystallize the goals you're already aware of and tease out the ones that are still in a formative state.

Seeing images that represent the things you want to do, be or achieve helps you internalize how it will feel when you've done, become or achieved them. It serves as a guidepost AND a goal line. That's more than an item on a to-do list -- which loses any kind of resonance as soon as you cross it off.

Just as important as the visual aspect of a vision board is its physical presence. Put it somewhere where you'll see it several times a day: on the refrigerator, above your desk or even on the wall next to your television or bathroom mirror. The goal is to see your vision board so often that your dreams and aspirations eventually become part of your everyday reality.

As you may remember from your teenage collage-making days, you could spend the better part of a day making a vision board. Now that you're an adult who likely doesn't have oodles of free time to burn, here are a few ways to make a vision board quickly and simply:

Down and Dirty
Do an image web search for the things on your list of goals, or look for inspiration on sites like Pinterest. Remember: Since the physical presence of the vision board is so important, this is not the time to keep it online: Copy and paste the images in to a document, then print it out.

Slow and Low Maintenance
Make it a point to collect images that speak to you as you go about your days: postcards, magazines, advertisements, business cards, etc. Pin the pages up on a big bulletin board when you get home and watch your goals evolve over time.

Festive and Fun
Invite friends over (with kids, if you've got 'em) and ask everyone to bring whatever magazines they have lying around, as well as a pair of scissors. Pick up some poster board and a pack of glue sticks at the office supply store and voila, you've got a vision board party. Yes, this requires a few consecutive hours to make happen, but socializing with your friends and sharing your goals and dreams with them are both valuable activities on their own. Throw a (mostly) finished vision board in to that equation, and that's a more-than-worthy expenditure of time.

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