Life Prep for 2024: Make Your Personal Vision Board
With 2024 knocking on our doors, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get down to business. No, we’re not talking about resolutions that fizzle out by February. We’re talking about a tool that’s practical and will help you make your best decisions throughout 2024: the vision board.
If you only know vision boards as those cut-and-paste projects with motivational quotes, you’re in for a surprise. We’re not here to sprinkle fairy dust on your dreams, we’re going guide you through the process of making a vision board that actually means something. No to fluff, yes to progress.
Think of it as a fun DIY project for your goals and dreams. Ready? Let’s do this.
Why make a vision board, anyway?
Life’s a bit like navigating a ship through uncharted waters. You wouldn’t set sail without a compass, and that’s where vision boarding comes in—an unapologetically practical tool for us, modern-day adventurers. It’s not about manifesting a yacht out of thin air (though that’d be nice); it’s about plotting your course.
A vision board is your visual roadmap. It takes those vague ideas floating around in your head and slaps them onto paper. Why? Because when you can see your dreams staring back at you, it’s a whole lot easier to steer towards them. So let’s keep our eyes on the prize, even when the seas get a bit choppy.
What will your 2024 look like?
We are living in turbulent times. On one hand, millions of people are suffering. We’re facing racism, sexism, LGBTQ+ phobia, corruption, and much more. On the other, we’re living in a time of unprecedented possibilities. More and more people stand up and raise their voices. More and more people wake up to the fact that we choose how we show up in our communities. Change is slow, but it’s there.
And of course, on a personal level, we also have to manage our relationships, day-to-day activities (whether paid or unpaid, out of duty or for fun), health, finances. And it’s entwined, right? How we treat others around us reflects our beliefs and what we’d like society to look like. How we spend our money, impacts what companies – and people – gain power. How we grow, impacts our impacts.
We know it’s a lot. And that’s exactly why it’s so important to allow yourself a moment to look back on 2023 and decide what you want for 2024. So that you won’t get caught up in a rat race of day-to-day tasks that lead you further from the life you want to live and society you want to cocreate.
Looking back on this year
The best way to decide what you’d like to focus on in 2024 is by looking back on 2023. And we’ve created a free template to help you do just that. Here’s what your reflection could look like:
- Look back on your calendar, journals, photos, and other memories you have of last year. What moments stood out? How did they make you feel?
- Whether it’s books you’ve enjoyed, concerts you’ve attended, games you’ve played, or friends you’ve made – make a list of the things that energized you, and another one of things that drained you.
- What accomplishments in 2023 are you most proud of? For instance, think about things you’ve accomplished in your personal growth, relationships, passion projects, or fitness.
Once you’re done reflecting, ask yourself: what areas in your life are in a slump and really need your attention? And what areas in your life energize you and are something you’d like to have more of?
Time to get creative, here’s what you’ll need
Now before we move on to the actual vision board, let’s discuss what you’ll need!
There are different ways to create a vision board. Probably the best known one is the so-called mood board paste-up: you sift through magazines, cut out whatever inspires you and paste it on a sheet of paper. This approach can be a lot of fun and offers a lot of opportunity to get creative. The downside is that the things that go on your vision board depend on the things you come across in the magazines. We think this approach is amazing as an initial inspiration starting point, but isn’t the best way to get more specific about your dreams.
Instead of cutting and pasting, you can also draw the vision board. Now if you’re not an artist, don’t worry. You don’t need to be one (and you don’t even need to be able to draw a straight line). A vision board is not about manifesting your inner DaVinci, it’s about clarity. So as long as you’re capable of drawing stick figures, you’re good! The huge advantage to drawing is that you don’t depend on what you find. If you can visualize it, you can put it on your vision board.
Tip: If you want to draw something, but you don’t know how, just Google ‘simple drawing of [whatever it is you want to draw]’. This way, you’ll build your personal library of symbols and drawings!
Since we’re going to be drawing, what you’ll need is something to draw with and something to draw on. The former can be pencils or pens (personally, I love colored pens!), or anything else you’re comfortable using. The latter can be a big sheet of paper, or a spread in your notebook.
At this point, we want to avoid getting stuck in making things pretty, so don’t start with washi tape, glitter, and other frills. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to add them later!
Question: Can I use procreate or other software to create my vision board?
Answer: Yes, absolutely, and a great advantage is that you can also paste any pictures you look up online. However, you’ll need to find a way to keep your vision board in front of your eyes throughout the year. More on this later in this blog.
Not a requirement, but a definitive nice-to-have: drinks and snacks, and music that gets you in the flow, and any other sensory satisfying elements, such as incense (if you like it) or a fuzzy blanket. Treating yourself well when making the vision board will help you come up with ideas of treating yourself well in the year to come.
Optional: If you don’t have them yet, grab a deck of our Vision Cards to inspire your thinking about 2024!
What does your best 2024 look like?
Now that you’ve done the preparation, it’s time to define your focus for the upcoming year. One of the huge advantages of having a vision board, is that it will help you filter your decisions: what are things you want vs. what are things you could do without. That’s why it’s so important to imagine who you want to be. Not who you want to be 10 years from now. No. Who do you want to be now? What priorities would you like to have? Do you have an overarching goal? The clearer you are on the person you want to be, the more focused your vision board will be. Once you’re done imagining, let’s finally get started on the drawing!
First, give your vision board a title. You can go with ‘My year’ or with a name that will reflect what you want to accomplish, such as ‘My year of finishing my PhD’ or ‘My year of inner peace’. Whichever works for you, you really can’t go wrong here.
Next, there are two ways to tackle a vision board, and which one you choose will depend on what works for you. Option 1 is to go with the flow: just come up with the first thing you want to be, have or do in 2024, then draw that, then move on to the next. Option 2 is to do some planning first: think about the different areas you’ll want to consider in your vision board and imagine where you’ll want to put them on paper. Once you know where everything goes, start with the actual drawing.
We usually work with the following 9 areas of life: personal growth, romantic relationships, family & friends, career and purpose, hobbies & interests, health & wellbeing, adventure & exploration, your physical environment, and your financials. Of course, you can decide to focus more on some areas than on others. Use your 2023 reflection as a guideline for the areas that get most focus.
Tip 1: Only put the things you want on your vision board
Don’t draw the things you’d like less of. Instead, turn them around. This will also make it easier to draw. It’s easier to draw you enjoying yourself at the gym than drawing yourself *not* being on social media. It’s easier to accomplish something you want, than avoiding doing something you don’t want (especially if you don’t have an alternative).
Tip 2: Don’t forget the things you already have in your life and would like to keep!
I love reading, so this goes on my vision board every single year. A vision board is not about change, it’s about clarity on your best life. Sometimes, you’re already living (parts of) it.
Tip 3: Leave some space for inspiration – your vision board doesn’t have to be finished in one day.
Once your vision board is done, there are many different ways for you to use it. You can translate your dreams into specific and tangible goals (for instance, an image of you exercising might translate in ‘going to the gym twice a week’). You can discuss your vision board with others, like your partners and friends. You can use it in a mastermind group, where you meet up with others every month (or two) to discuss how your life compares to your vision board, and help each other out.
Our two favorite ways to remind yourself of your vision board are either making sure you see it every day by putting it on the wall of your bedroom (or, if you’re making a digital one, using it as your wallpaper on your tablet or computer), or building a habit of periodically looking at your vision board. I have my vision board in my planner, and at the last day of each month I reflect on the past month and use my vision board to make plans for the month to come.
Now one thing that’s absolutely critical in vision boarding is that it’s about making things tangible. Less talk, more action. So don’t procrastinate: grab your materials (and our Vision Cards) and visualize that dream life of yours!