Start with your Vision Board
The very definition of progress is moving forward towards a destination. Which means you need a destination. It’s as the Cheshire Cat told Alice:
If you don’t know where you’re going, it really doesn’t matter what way you go.
That’s why progress starts with your own personal Vision Board. It’s your compass for all the chaos you have to manage.
A vision board doesn’t require you to go out alone in the woods (that would be a vision quest). Nor does it require you getting drunk and calling on ghosts (that’s an ouija board). A vision board is simply a visual overview of what your ideal life would look like.
Unlike a mood board a vision board is specific. A mood board – usually created from cut-outs – gives off a certain vibe. A vision board turns that vibe into a clear ideal.
Your vision board recipe
You will need…
- A piece of paper (at least A4 size), a spread in your planner or a print-out of the free worksheet
- A pen
- Optional: colored pencils / markers
- Optional: old magazines
- Optional: glue
- Optional: scissors
- Give your vision board a title. “My vision board” or “My life” will do just fine! It doesn’t really matter where you write down your title, but don’t make it too big – you’ll be working around it with the rest of your board.
- Divide your vision board in nine areas to organize it (use the worksheet as an example). You can use visible lines or just divide it in your mind.
Ideal self & personal growth
- Who do you want to be as a person?
- What kind of personality traits do you want to develop?
Health & self-care
- What does your ideal physical and mental health look like?
- How do you take care of your body and mind?
Friends, family & children
- What does your ideal social life look like?
- What part does family (and/or children) play in your life?
- What is your ideal environment to work and live?
- In what kind of environments do you feel best?
- What does your ideal love life look like?
- What kind of romantic and/or sexual relationship(s) would you ideally have?
Career & purpose
- What work would you ideally do every day?
- What work gives you a sense of purpose and drive?
Hobbies & interests
- What kind of non-professional activities would you do in your ideal life?
- What kind of topics would you love to explore?
Travel and adventure
- What’s your ideal life when it comes to travel and adventure?
- What kind of new experiences would you love to have?
- How much money would you need to fund your ideal life?
- What would your ideal financial situation look like?
- Pick one area. Now, think of something you want in your life for that area. It doesn’t have to be something that’s possible *right now*, but it’s something you want to work towards. Maybe it’s “Leading a team”. Maybe it’s “Baking a cake once a week”. Maybe it’s “Living in Londen”.
- Repeat this for every other wish you have, first in this area, then in all the other areas. You’re done when your imagination runs dry.
Vision boarding traps
Everyone can create a vision board, but if you want one that’s going to help you with your planning you’ll want to avoid these common mistakes
- Don’t forget the things that are already part of your life. If you already have your dreamjob – your job is part of your vision. If you’ve found your soulmate – they’re part of it too!
- It’s okay to use words to clarify your drawing. Just remember a vision board is drawings supported by text, not the other way around. Your mind is MUCH better at processing images than words and you’ll want a vision board that will instantly have meaning for you if you see it a month from now.
- Don’t limit yourself by what you think may or may not be possible. Aim for the stars if that’s what your ideal life looks like. If you want something – put it on paper. You’ll deal with obstacles later! Don’t forget you’re creating a compass, not a to do list.
- A vision board is not the same thing as a bucket list. It’s a visualization of what your ideal life looks like, it’s not a to do list of all the cool things you want to do (though feel free to make a bucket board as well). That means “Bungeejumping” probably shouldn’t be on your board unless it’s an ongoing part of your ideal life.
First aid with vision panic
Help! I don't know what I want in life!
What if you simply don’t know what your ideal life looks like? What if you feel too overwhelmed or simply uninspired? Here’s a couple of questions to ask yourself:
- What kind of life would bring out the very best in you?
- Do you know any people whose life (or a part of it) you’d like to lead? What is it that they have that you would love to have?
- Have you had moments in your life in the past where you did feel things were perfect (or at least closer to perfect)? What was different then?
- What fictional characters do you envy and why? What books / movies would you have loved to live? Why?
Help! I can't draw!
Everyone can draw, but not everyone can draw in a way that society deems “good”. Obviously, the easiest way to tackle this problem is to just ignore society’s opinion. It’s YOUR vision board, YOUR planner. However, if this is not an option, here’s a few other things you can do:
- Keep it simple. Your drawings in the planner are just symbols. They are intended to help you remember what you want your life to look like. You don’t need to create an elaborate liking of your partner, a stick figure is just fine.
Once you’ve simplified things, get inspired by emojis. They are super simple to draw. A smiley: two dots, a curved line and a circle. I bet you can do that! You can draw most things in equally simplistic ways.
Need inspiration to come up with the right symbol or ways to draw it? Just Google “simple drawing of …”!
- Find images in magazines, cut them out and paste them. In the end, a vision board is not a drawing exercise, it’s about visualization. It’s perfectly acceptable to borrow others’ images. In fact, browsing through magazines may give you inspiration for what you want!
- Use words to clarify. A vision board is there to instantly remind you of the ideal life you want. That’s why you’ll want to use more images and less words. But if you’ve drawn something that looks like a frying pan while you were aiming for a guitar – feel free to write “guitar” next to it. Words are definitely okay, just don’t turn your vision board into a novel.