We are visual
As humans, we are visual specimens. Sighted humans rely mostly on our visual sense. Vision is the sense that uses the largest portion of our brain. “More than 50 percent of the cortex, the surface of the brain, is devoted to processing visual information” (2).
Why am I telling you this? Because what we see matters. Our imagination, our memories are all images. Take the word imagine for instance, it means to “form a mental image” (3). Let me tell you a story.
Imagine that you are 12 years old standing in line at the grocery store. Do you you remember what you looked like? What you were most likely wearing? Can you feel the temperature, remember the smells, see the check out line, the cashier, how people paid. Not Apple Pay, not the same computer systems that we have today. Very different than today’s grocery stores.
Our memory is a compilation of pictures like a movie. We are the star in our movie and we are the director of our movie. What movie do you want to star in? Crate that on your board. Crest w a time line of events. Be completely free. You have 100 % creative ability. Remember you are only limited my your own imagination.
What do you want?
A fairly simple question. What do you want in this life? What do you want out of life? Do you have everything that you’ve ever wanted? Materially, financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Do you want to save money? Do you want to travel, have amazing experiences, fall madly in love?
Take a moment to think about it and once you’ve arrived at an answer then you’re ready to begin. Don’t think about what you should want or what’s good for you. Erase all expectation, your own and others and just answer honestly. Be raw and real with yourself. Listen to your hearts desires.
Think back to when you were a kid. What made you happy, laugh, feel giddy? What could you spend hours doing? What did you spend time doing because you loved rather than what you were supposed to be doing? That is your answer. That is hearts desire. Take away all judgement, jadedness, adult rubbish, all of the baggage that you have accumulated and drop it off at the door.
Free yourself. Erase who you are, who you think you are, who others think you are and just be unapologetically you. You want to know a secret? It feels good. It feels amazing! And once you start you may not be able to stop. It’s difficult to go back to pretending once you’ve embraced your true essence. It’s impossible to unlearn or un know something. You can try. Your bury it, forget it but eventually it resurfaces.
What is a Vision Board?
A Vision Board is your dreams on paper. You are speaking your thoughts into reality. This is another version of writing down your goals. We’ve all heard about the Harvard Study and why it’s important to write your goals down (1).
As a quick refresher, the Harvard graduating class of 1979 was asked if they had set written goals and created a plan to reach those goals. The majority of the students, or 84% did not have written goals or a written plan of said non-existent goals.
A small percentage of students, 13% did have written goals but lacked a plan of action.
Finally, 3% of the graduating class had written concrete goals with a plan to achieve their dreams. This may not seem like a big deal.
Many of us have goals. We keep them in our head. We are afraid to share them or make them real by putting pen to paper. But this seemingly tiny act of focus has huge impacts on reaching those goals and earning potential.
The students who took the time to know what they wanted, simplify it, look at it regularly, and take steps towards those goals were much more successful than their counterparts who opted out of this practice. This is one of the principles of the Slight Edge Method, discussed a little later.
How Do I Make a Vision Board?
It’s easy. Think about what you want. Find pictures that represent what you want. If it’s fitness related like losing weight be sure to specify the exact amount of weight you will lose in pounds or kilos. If you want to get six pack abs, gain strength, gain muscle, or build a banging booty then include pictures of people who represent the look that you find attractive.
Cut them out of magazines or find pictures online. You can print them to paste onto your board or create your entire board online and Voila! Healthy food will be part of this equation so include yummy foods that you will enjoy eating. If you don’t like to cook then look for food apps or food services that can make it easy for you. Myfitnesspal has a phenomenal free option. It tracks your calories or macros, has recipes, meal plans. I definitely recommend taking a look. You can easily find delicious healthy recipes with the correct macronutrients or protein, carbohydrates and fats. It also sets water consumption goals.
Find tips and tricks to replace and satisfy your cravings. For example, when I had to cut back on coffee I substituted Dandelion Root Herbal Tea. No caffeine, similar brown coffee and I love the flavor! It helped me reduce my coffee consumption.
As a heads up, please be sure that you always do your research and check with your doctor before diving in. Dandelion Leaf & Root Tea is no good if you have a ragweed allergy. Always be careful when ingesting herbal teas if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive. It is delicious!
What’s the Purpose of a Vision Board?
Simply put, to help you achieve your goals. To help you live the life you want to live! The purpose of a Vision Board is to remind you of what you want. It’s so easy to be distracted with every day life events. We get busy and are constantly inundated with social media, our friends lives online, performing at work now that so many of us work remotely.
We need to be reminded of what we want in life, what is important to us. Sometimes our dreams seem so lofty that we’re not sure where to start. This gives us a staring point, a target, something to aim for. If you don’t reach your goals the first time around that’s okay, at least you’ll be closer to achieving your dreams than you were when you were letting life live you rather than you living your life.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
How Often Should I Create a Vision Board?
Most people create vision boards annually as a new year’s resolution practice but it’s easy to lose focus and sight of the end game if you’re working towards a goal that’s 12 months away. I would say let’s break it down into three months goals so quarterly. This way you can update, refresh, remove the goals you’ve accomplished and add new goals for the following three months.
12 weeks is a great amount of time to get a lot done. There’s actually an entire book about improving expediency and effectiveness by breaking the 12 month year down into four 12 week “years”. School semesters are about 12 weeks long taking into considerations holidays which is when students learn a school subject. So a language can be learned in 12 weeks with focus.
He also has a Field Guide available:
You still can set a 12 month goal but breaking it down into small bite size pieces makes it more attainable.
Warning! Tangent: I’ve prepared for a fitness competition and completely transformed my body in just 12 weeks. This was one of my life goals and I did it! I hired a posing coach who made my suit, helped with my routine, diet, mental and emotional health, spray tan and everything that goes into fitness comps. I was a size zero here where I am normally a size 4.
I generally weigh between 127 lb and 135 lb. I was 115 pounds here and 12% body fat according to the pinch method but I still don’t think that’s accurate. I was pretty much hungry for 12 weeks; I was super moody, emotional and had no life other than working out and sleeping.
I was proud of myself for committing and sticking with it but boy was I happy when it was over! I remember walking into restaurants drooling over chocolate cake dreaming about when I could eat whatever I wanted again in just a few short weeks. The funny thing is that my family and friends were concerned about my health because I dropped so much weight so fast.
When I mentioned this to my coach she said, “Good, that means you’re doing it right”. I tried explaining that, “This was for a specific goal. Im not anorexic, bulimic, nothing is wrong. I’m excited to eat in a few weeks!” But they would just look and me, sigh with a look of worried look of disapproval and say how unhealthy it was. So I would drink my water, eat my oil free white fish and smile.
What Should I Include on My Vision Board?
Everything from the smallest things to the big life changing goals. Many times the little things can be stepping stones to the big goals. Psychologically it’s important to have little wins along the way. For example, if you want to read more, try reading for 10 minutes a day, every day until you finish the book. If you are consistent, at this rate you’ll have read around 10 books by the end of the year (1).
You can apply the “Slight Edge Method” to your life. Basically you just make a fraction of a percent of effort every day to where it’s not really noticeable but over time you see results. You can choose the titles of the books you want to read and past it onto your vision board.
Make a Plan
Start with the end in mind. What is the end goal? Break it down to monthly goals, weekly and daily goals. This makes your dreams achievable when you have daily actions that you can take. Plus it mitigates the enormity of your task.
Track your actions. You can do this in a journal, excel spread sheet, blog, instagram, social media or any other platform that helps keep you accountable. In order to make this easy, prepare a place for the entire three months ahead of time. Add it to your calendar in your phone.
Set reminders. Don’t allow any room for excuses or “conveniently forget” because your life got too busy. This is exactly the point. Life is busy and distraction is omnipresent. You are choosing to succeed by implementing fail-safes.
This way once the initial three months is over you can look back to see where you succeeded, where you had room to improve and where you fell flat on your bum. If this doesn’t sound fun to you, I can relate.
I don’t enjoy tracking things, I’m not a regimented person by nature but I have found over time that making the effort up front is worth the time in the end. It ends up saving you time because you’re able to see exactly where you need to focus, or redirect your focus.
Decorate Your Vision Board
Make it uniquely yours; add your own touch, make it cute, fun, add your personalty. The more you like looking at it the more you will look at it. If you’re a clean cut, straight to the point person then make it look clean, classic and unapologetically you. The point is that it’s supposed to be fun!
We are digging up the child that has been buried deep within for years now. If you’re not one of these people then I applaud you! This will be easy. Let go! Enjoy. This is for you and no one else. Don’t worry about impressing anyone or including anything on your board that you think is expected of you. Say goodbye to expectation. Be open, honest and raw.
If that means you’re a sequin sparkly glittery decorator or maybe you’re a boho chic type, love flowers? Include whatever makes you happy, whatever brings a smile to your face. Personally, every time I see fluffy flowers my heart sings.
Make a Few Copies
If you make your board put it somewhere you’ll see it every day like your closet when you get dressed or the bathroom when you’re brushing your teeth. You can take a pic and keep it on your phone. Print it and keep it in your desk at work, at home, make it your mouse pad image, put it on your mirror, or in the car.
It doesn’t matter where you choose as long as you find a place that you will see it daily. Remember to smile every time you see your board. Your board should motivate and excite you rather than induce any sort of negative emotions. Saying thank you for all of these things that are coming into your life to you and that you are working towards.
Take a look at Jim Carrey. He wrote himself a $10,000 dollar check that he cashed in a few short years.
It’s not enough to simply visualize what you want. You have to really believe it in your heart that it’s already yours; it’s coming to you. It’s just a matter of time. It’s easy to fall into the trap of this isn’t working. That’s when it’s time to double down. If he can do it, you can too!
How does it work?
A thought becomes an action. If you are constantly reminded and thinking about what you want in your life then your actions will start reflecting this. You’ll start taking action to help get you closer to that goal.
If you want to speak a second language fluently, say Spanish. Then maybe you’ll download a Spanish speaking app, or listen to a podcast in that language like news in slow Spanish, start journaling everyday for 15 minutes in Spanish.
As Tony Robbins says, “Energy flows where attention goes.” It’s also true that, where your attention goes your focus grows. Your thoughts are powerful so concentrate on what you want!