Want to learn how to make a vision board? A vision board is a collection of images designed to help you focus on a dream or goal you have for your life. I’ve been making vision boards that really work for years and today I’m sharing my process for creating powerful vision boards that deliver results. You can also grab a free vision board planner with printables and inspiration and tons of quotes to help you manifest your dream life. This post has been updated and expanded for 2020!
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I realized recently that I have at least one quality that some people might find a little weird: I am a huge believer in vision boards. Popularized by The Secret, but around for long before then, a vision board is simply a way for you to keep your goals and desires in front of you in a visual format.
I’ve been making vision boards for years. I think I made my first vision board in 2009 and I really believe that I’ve achieved a few goals and dreams that were on my vision boards that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had the audacity to put them on a vision board.
I’ve also found that the very act of making a vision board is an excellent way to get clear on what it is you truly want in life as you see what you’re drawn to when you’re making your board.
What is a Vision Board?
A vision board is simply a collage of images and/or phrases that resonate with you. The images on your board can be literal representations of goals you would like to achieve and things you’d like to have or they can be more abstract to remind you of the feelings you would like to be feeling on a regular basis.
Your vision board can be images cut out from magazines on a piece of poster board or a digital graphic you keep on your phone. It’s whatever works for you!
Why Does a Vision Board Work?
There can often be a lot of New Age language attached to vision boards that can turn people off. However, visual images can be a powerful tool to use when we have goals we want to reach.
Our subconscious mind takes in information primarily through images so a vision board is a great way to integrate your goals and desires with both your conscious and your subconscious mind.
The images on your vision board can act as a primer for your subconscious but words can be powerful as well. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is filled with examples of how simply reading lists of words designed to evoke a certain feeling such as aggression or cooperation can indeed bring out that emotion without our conscious awareness, even if we know we’re being manipulated.
That’s one reason I like to use lots of words on the boards I create and why I like to keep it where I can see it. So there is some real science behind why vision boards can work.
There’s also been a little magic on the boards I’ve created. I’ve made several vision boards in my life and while I can’t really say I’ve had any mind-blowing coincidences, I can say that many of the things I’ve had on past boards have happened and that my life has changed dramatically since I started making them.
Who’s to say what would or wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t made them? In a way, making the boards is like my own version of Pascal’s Wager. It helps me feel like I’m doing all I can, while I wait for the universe to kick in with her side of the bargain.
What Should You Put on Your Vision Board?
Anything that evokes your desired emotion. When you look at your vision board, you want to feel as if you’ve already attained your desired outcome.
Some items to consider for your vision board are:
- Images from magazines or the Internet.
- Photographs that are important to you, for example photos of your family or a photo of a happy memory such as fun vacation.
- A photo of yourself during a happy moment.
- Stickers from planners or scrapbooks that have meaning to you.
- Inspiring quotes or affirmations.
- Really anything! I’ve seen vision boards with actual money on them, Scrabble tiles that spelled out meaningful words, and even Mardi Gras beads.
What Supplies Do You Need to Create Your Vision Board?
Once again, you can be very minimalistic or be as elaborate. You will probably want at least the following:
- Scissors to cut out images.
- Some type of glue. (I find glue sticks work well).
- Poster board or foam core board to glue your images to if you’re making a large vision board. (Some people like to make smaller vision boards they can carry around with them.)
- Some people like to frame their vision boards. I’ve never done this but it does look nice.
How to Make a Vision Board
So! How to make the most effective vision board? Well, the first rule of making vision boards is there are no rules. Do what you like. I have my process which I’ll discuss here, but I have friends who swear by different methods.
Some people like to keep their boards out where they can look at them; others like to make them and then hide them away. I’ve actually used both methods in different times, although I mostly employ the “in your face” method, unless, paradoxically, it’s the board is about something I really, really want, but maybe don’t feel like I don’t deserve or am ready for.
Then, I like to make the board, but hide it under my bed or some other place where I’ll come across it occasionally just to remind myself that I’ve got a wish that I’d like to come true. Most of those wishes, by the way, have come true.
I made a new vision board this weekend. Most of my life right now is going really well, but there are a couple of areas that I’d like to see expand more fully. Here’s the process I used.
Step 1: Take a moment to get in a calm and thoughtful mood before you start your board.
I like to take a few moments before I start my board set the mood before I begin my vision board. I’m a huge fan of lighting candles so I like to light a few candles and play some soft, inspiring music to help get me in a calm and thoughtful mood before I get started.
Step 2: Think a bit about your desired life.
Spend a bit of time journaling about your goals and dreams. What does your perfect day look like? What have you always wanted to do but been scared to try?
My Vision Board Planner has a series of questions to help you clarify your goals and get in the mood to create the perfect vision board for you.
Step 3: (Optional) Determine a theme for your board.
You don’t need to do this, but I usually have a theme for the boards I create. Typically, the theme of my board will go along with my Word of the Year but it can be something as vague as the life I want to live someday. This can be as broad as “My Life” or as narrow as “My Career” or even, I suppose, “Next Thursday”.
You can even have multiple vision boards for different themes. For example, I once made a mini vision board on a post-it note that I put on my bathroom mirror two weeks before an important appointment so I could look at it every day before the meeting in order to spend time visualizing the meeting going well.
Spoiler Alert! The meeting went very well; even better than I had hoped.
Step 4: Gather the items for your board.
You want to feel as if you’ve already attained your desires when you look at your board so gather any items that you feel that way.
Obviously, you’ll want some images and some people like to turn to the Internet for images, but I like to kick it old school and go through magazines. The Internet is excellent for finding really specific images but I don’t like the way they look printed out (I know this is very picky) and I actually don’t like to look for specific images.
Instead, I gather a whole lot of magazines and go through them, looking for images that speak to me. I’ll cull these images when it comes time to plan the layout of my board.
Update! I’ve since come around to the value of creating digital vision boards and using images I’ve found online. You can totally do both.
I like to include words and phrases that are meaningful to me as well and I’ve started experimenting lately with including other objects as well.
Step 5: Plan out image placement before you glue your images onto your board.
Cut out the images and plan their placement. Here’s where you can get creative. Some people are fine with white space on their board, but I don’t like a lot.
I usually use a few foundational big, colorful images in the background and put several, smaller images on top. I also like to use inspirational words because I’m both a visual and a verbal person.
Pro tip: Once you’ve planned out your board, take a photo of it before you start gluing because you’ll have to move everything to start gluing things down. I was super happy with my board and then I couldn’t remember how I had it when I started gluing it back together. It all came out wonderfully in the end, though; I was happy with the final result as well.
Step 6: Admire your work.
After you’ve glued down your images, take a moment to admire your board. I think everyone feels excited at this point. You’ve put out a little bottle into the ocean of the universe and now you get to wait and see where it’s going to wash up. This is your adventure.
I think women our age, in particular, are taught too often that it’s impolite to ask for what we want, frequently to the point that we no longer even know just what we do want. So be proud of yourself for taking this step and I can’t wait to see what happens for you.
Where Should You Put Your Vision Board?
As I mentioned earlier you can put your vision board someplace where you see it frequently or hide it away. I like to put mine somewhere where I can see it first thing in the morning and the last thing at night so I usually hang it in the bathroom where I can see it while I’m getting ready for the day and then when I’m getting ready for bed.
If you have your board someplace you can see it every day, you are training your brain to visualize results every day. Additionally, if you place your board some place where others can see it, you’re letting yourself and the world know that you are worthy of receiving the things you desire.
That’s powerful stuff!
How Often Should You Make a Vision Board?
As often as you want to. I tend to make one at the beginning of every year, but I’ll sometimes create one mid-year if I feel I need a reset or if I have a goal I feel strongly about.
And you can absolutely have more than one vision board at a time! You might create one for your personal goals and another one for career goals, for example.
Bonus Tip for Getting Vision Board Images!
My local post office has a giant bin where people can bring magazines for recycling. It’s very easy to grab a handful. The local library also occasionally gives away or sells old magazines.
Mail order catalogs can be an excellent resource for vision board images.