“Follow your dreams,” is often the advice we hear. Unfortunately, many of us live in a perpetual state of “I wish…” instead of “I can…” or “I will…”
Dreams give you a sense of meaning, direction, and purpose. Even on your worst days, it helps keep you going. But where can you start going from wishful thinking to actively participating?
Two words: vision board.
Yes, it sounds like something your kids would do in school. But it’s more than just cutting out magazine pictures, putting together beautiful collages, and hoping for the best.
When it’s used with manifestation practices, a vision board (also known as a dream board) is a powerful tool to manifest your dreams, and it works. There’s even scientific evidence to back it up.
“When you start creating a vision for how you want your life to look, all of a sudden the right opportunity starts coming true,” says Vishen, the founder of Mindvalley. “And sometimes, you don’t even know these opportunities exist, but the right opportunity starts coming true to make these visions possible.”
What’s a Vision Board?
A vision board is essentially a physical manifestation of your goals. It’s also one of the best ways to put the Law of Attraction into practice to turn these dreams of yours into reality.If you are not consciously directing your life, you will lose your footing and circumstances will decide for you. — @drmichaelbb Click To Tweet
Peter Kell, CEO of Ad Venture Holdings LLC and the lead for Mindvalley’s Video Sales Letter team, swears by them, having used them for years. He explains that there are three key philosophies:
- It gives you clarity. These boards help you narrow down your desires through the power of choice. It’s goal-setting with clear intentions on a vision board.
- Always have your eyes on the prize. With a physical layout of your dreams, you’ll be able to constantly see your vision and be motivated to follow through with the plans that will enable them.
- The more often you see your goals, the more likely they are to come true. Having to choose pictures and words that speak to you gives you a crystal-clear vision of what you wish to achieve in life. It gives you a way to put that “top-of-mind” automatically as much as you can.
The thing is, without a direction in life, we’re often left meandering through life—a little like Walter Mitty. This is where a vision board can be extremely effective in achieving your dreams through the power of visualization.
How Does It Work to Manifest Your Dreams?
It’s all about you meeting the energetic vibration you’re expecting for your life that will end up attracting your desires. But how exactly, you ask?
Let’s look at three powers that are in play during your dream board creation process.
1. The power of choiceThe question is not 'are you worthy enough to reach your goals?'’' The question is 'are your goals worthy enough of you?' — @bobproctorLIVE Click To Tweet
The ability to make a choice often empowers lives. In a 2011 study, researchers at London Business School in the U.K. explored the link between choice and empowerment. They found that when the participants had more choice, it offset the feeling of powerlessness. What’s more, it gives people a greater sense of control over their lives and, consequently, improves their psychological well-being.
So the first step to achieving your dreams is to identify your desires. Then, select images that represent those desires.
For example, you want to purchase your dream home one day, so you put a picture of a house on your vision board. If you’re not satisfied with pasting an image of just any house, you can look for the perfect representation of your dream home or pick aspects of different homes to create a collage that would express your perfect home, starting from its location to the overall design.
This simple selection process narrows down your focus and personalizes your board with specific messages that matter to you. And those choices send a very specific and personalized message to the Universe.
2. The power of visualization
Without a doubt, it’s the visual aspect of a dream board that really drives home your desires and sends a very clear message. To understand why visualizing your desires is so powerful, we need to take a look at the brain.
Our brain is an incredible machine that is geared toward making us successful with every action we take. It trains our bodies to prepare for action—when we imagine preparing for an activity, our brains actually run through the process and send signals to the rest of our body to complete the action.
Visualization is nearly as powerful as performing the action. When you visualize yourself living in your dream home, your brain trains your body for that reality. In fact, in one neuropsychology study, researchers found that the mental training of physical exercise was almost as effective as the actual physical practice.
3. The power of consistency
Raise your hand if you’ve heard this saying: “Consistency is key.”
In a 2020 study, researchers looked at the connection between consistency and productivity at work. Their results show employees who were given a consistent level of challenging tasks displayed greater performance and well-being than those whose tasks fluctuated.
But what about consistency is so important?
Well, when we repeat an action, neurons in our brain are activated and they connect with other neurons to form a strong neural network. This is known as Hebb’s Law. And it’s the basic explanation of how any skill can become automatic with consistency.
“We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals. We repeat what works, and when actions are repeated in a stable context, we form associations between cues and response,” Wendy Wood explains in her session at the American Psychological Association’s 122nd Annual Convention.
So when it comes to your vision board, it’s not enough to just create one and leave it to gather dust in your closet.
Instead, place it in a spot you see daily, so you can create the opportunity for consistent visualization to train your mind, body, and spirit to manifest your desires.
What Are Some Ideas to Design One?
There are a few avenues you can go down—it really depends on your personal preference. Here are some you can opt for:
- Traditional. This version is what typically comes to mind when it comes to vision boards. It comprises magazine cutouts to form a logical sequence of motivating images or a visually striking and meaningful collage of inspiring images and quotes.
- Online. This type of vision board involves the use of online tools to create a digital dream board. There are a number of easy-to-use tools, like Pinterest, that aid the creation of a compelling vision board online. Peter’s personal favorite: Canva.
- Written. This is not your typical vision board, but if you’re more of a writer, this is a great option. It’s as simple as getting a notebook and organizing your goals into the different areas of life, like health and fitness, intellectual, spiritual, social, and love.
What should you include in your vision board?
Starting might feel overwhelming, but it gets easier once you do. Here are four steps to prepare and execute the vision board of your dreams.
Step 1: Plan out your board
Start with the plan—consider the message you want your personalized board to convey and how you want it to look. Ask yourself the following questions and make sure you list out all the items you need to either purchase or find at home.
- What wishes and desires do you want to present on your dream board? Think about your values, career goals, family life, love life, health, and wellness, how you want to spend your free time, or what you want to learn and grow.
Make note of your answers before you begin selecting your images. To make sure you’re asking yourself the right questions, ask yourself these three most important questions.
- Do you want one board or multiple boards for different areas of your life? If you create one solid one, it can last for years, according to Peter. However, some people prefer to make several smaller boards to visualize different life categories, and that’s okay, too.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to place your board in a visible area that you see every day. For a small space, don’t buy a huge poster board. If you’re picky about the design and want your board to match your decor, consider that as well.
- What type of images will you use? Images are a major component of vision boards. You can source them from newspapers, magazines, the internet, photographs, pages from a book… The possibilities are endless.
The more specific you are with your images, the better. For example, if you’re not a huge fan of muscle cars, it’s probably wise to steer clear of any pictures of a Ford Mustang or Pontiac Firebird.
- Is your vision board style tidy or messy? Some people don’t mind the “natural look”—haphazardly, yet artistic placed photos. Others prefer something more tidy and neat.
Whichever you prefer, make sure it’s something you’ll enjoy looking at.
- Do you want to add embellishments? Boards aren’t just about images. You can add in affirmations, decorative elements, words—whatever you wish to make your board ‘you.’
Remember: it starts from envisioning. Everything else flows from there.
Step 2: Buy your supplies
To make sure you have all the supplies on hand to make the creation experience smooth and uniquely yours, it’s time to take your list and buy the things you need. Don’t hesitate to check out thrift stores and local sites like Craigslist where you can often find plenty of offers for crafting supplies.
Also, gather your vision board images. If you decide to go for the cutouts, make sure you have enough newspapers or magazines. If you need to print out quotes from the internet, make sure you have enough paper and printer ink, or that you print them beforehand someplace else.
Step 3: Set up your space
Creating a vision board is a ritual. It’s a time to get in touch with your true self, identify your deepest desires, and focus your energy on attracting them into your life. Treat this moment as self-care, something you’re doing for yourself.
Here are some ideas to make creating a vision board a special experience for you:
- Find an uninterrupted, quiet space. This is your time and your experience. A vision board is all about you and what you want for your life. Make sure you’ve got a few hours all by yourself to really focus on this special project.
- Set out all your supplies. To ensure uninterrupted creativity, double-check that everything you need to create your vision board is on hand. Don’t forget extra glue sticks!
- Light some candles or incense. Our sense of smell is very powerful, remember to engage it. Use your favorite oil burner, perfume, lotion, candles, or incense to invite welcoming and soothing energy to the experience.
- Turn on some music. If there’s a certain artist or style of music that really lights up your soul, go ahead and play it. If you get distracted by lyrics or think the content of certain songs will influence you, then find some instrumental music to play. Tibetan chants, singing bowls, and even nature sounds can bring a sense of comfort and peace, setting the right mood for the experience.
- Meditate or say a prayer before you begin. If you tend to ask God, spirit guides, source, the Universe, your higher self, or angels for help, go ahead and say a prayer and call in those energies to empower your experience. It also helps to meditate; take some time to sit quietly and check in with how you’re feeling. Let go of all your worries about the day. This moment is all that matters right now. You could try this relaxing guided meditation to boost your creativity.
Step 4: Create your vision board
It’s time to let your creative power shine. It’s up to you whether your board is simple and literal, or complicated and metaphorical.
Cut out your images and tell a story or create a collage of images that speak to you. What matters is that the images mirror your desires. When you look at the board images, you should feel a strong positive connection to those desires.
“Learn to become still. And to take your attention away from what you don’t want, and all the emotional charge around it, and place your attention on what you wish to experience,” advises Dr. Beckwith.
So sit with images for a moment before you attach them to your board. Feel the desire running through your body. Notice the emotions that arise when you’re thinking of that image and the desires that it conjures. See yourself getting what you want and feel the happiness radiating from it.
Whatever you’re feeling at this moment is exactly what you want to experience every time you look at your vision board.
What Should You Do After You’ve Put It Together?
Great job on your vision board! Now comes the fun part:
- Place the board in a visible place, somewhere where you see it every day. You can place it near your nightstand, in your workspace, or any other space that you’re often in.
- Sit with your board. To avoid ‘not really seeing’ your vision board, create a weekly habit of purposely sitting with your board. For about 10 minutes, look at it, reflect on why you chose those specific images, and revisit the feelings of happiness and gratitude of eventually having those desires in your life.
A vision board is not only a wonderful reminder of what you truly want in life, but it’s also a powerful motivator to enact achieving your goals. Treat your vision board like it’s sacred—it’s a special gift you’ve given to yourself and a powerful tool to attract all your desires into your life.
How Can You Take Visioning Further?
Vision boards are definitely a great place to start manifesting your dreams. And in order to make one, you need to know what you truly want. But what if you don’t?
Sure, we can ‘want’ to be the next Elon Musk or the next Vishen. The truth is, though, you aren’t Elon or Vishen. You are you. And your vision is unique to just you.
How do you explore what you truly want? It’s what Michael Beckwith calls “visioning.”
It’s about tuning in and asking yourself—whether it’s from your soul or from whatever higher power you believe in—what are you meant to do, what are you here to do, tapping into that, and then, moving towards that vision for yourself.
And if you’re ready to make your unique vision as bold, magnificent, and as 360 as you can, head over to Mindvalley. Explore the plethora of Quests on soul searching and awaken the greatness in you.
Images generated on Midjourney.