How to Make a Vision Board that Really Works: The Ultimate Guide for 2022

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Want to learn how to make a vision board? A vision board, also called a dream board, is a collection of images and words designed to focus on a dream or goal you have for your life. I’m sharing the science behind why vision boards are so powerful and 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.

Have you ever made a vision board? 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 made my first vision board in 2009 and since then, I’ve achieved several goals and dreams that I had the audacity to put on my vision board. I’ve been creating vision boards every year since I created that first one so long ago.

I wrote the first version of this post in 2015 and it’s been one of the most popular pieces of content on Midlife Rambler since then. However, I’ve refined my vision board process since 2015 and I want to share more information about how to create an effective vision board.

So, I’m sharing everything I’ve learned about making vision boards over the years. You can use this Vision Boarding 101 explainer to learn how to harness the power of using a vision board to manifest your own dream life.

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 visual representation of how you want to feel or the type of person you want to be.

An effective vision board can take many forms. You can use 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!

You might have created your own vision board before without realizing it! I’ve seen vision boards called anything from a dream board, a theme board, an inspiration board or even a mood board.

Your vision board works when your emotions are in alignment with your desires. We’ll talk more about this (a LOT more about this) as I discuss the vision board process, but for now just remember this:

The best vision board is all about feelings, not things. (But you can still put things on your vision board.)

Instead of obsessing about the outcome, focus on how you want to feel.

Types of Vision Boards

There aren’t many rules around vision boards. It’s all about whatever makes you feel good.

You can create a vision board for career goals, personal development goals, your vision for your future, experiences you want to have, and yes, things you want to own. You can create a vision board for just about anything that’s important to you.

a vision board devoted to places to travel
A vision board of travel dreams

Your vision board can be in multiple formats, too. You can pin magazine images on a corkboard, print out online images to paste on poster board, or create a digital vision board using online tools like Canva or Pinterest.

As long as your vision board speaks to you and you feel connected to what you have on it, your vision board is a wonderful tool for manifesting your dream life.

Do Vision Boards Really Work? The Science Behind Vision Boards.

Some of the New Age language people use when describing vision boards may make it difficult to take them seriously, but there is good scientific evidence that vision boards work.

1. Creating a vision board creates clarity around your goals and desires.

The very act of looking for images and determining what you want to place on your board helps you become clear on what’s really important to you. This is a form of life crafting, where you define what is meaningful to you personally. Having deeply felt, personal goals (rather than blindly following society’s definition of success, has been shown to significantly increase happiness.

2. A vision board documents your goals so you remember them and are more motivated to take action on them.

A study from Dominican University showed that people who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve what they want than those who simply thought about what they wanted.

A vision board also teaches your brain to recognize opportunity. It recognizes that you value the images on the board and will alert you when you can take action that will bring you closer to your goals.

3. Looking at your vision board lifts your mood and makes you happier as you imagine achieving your desires.

Research has shown that having hope and optimism significantly increases your chance of realizing your dreams.

Creating a vision board is also just fun to do! A recent Harvard Business Review study found that we’re more likely to achieve goals when we find the process enjoyable.

4. Visualizing success leads to success.

Elite athletes have been using the power of visualization for years. Studies have shown that when athletes visualize themselves doing well, they are more likely to succeed in their real world performance. Visualization doesn’t just work for sports; anyone who wants to achieve any goal can successfully use it.

5. Visual images integrate your conscious and your subconscious mind to both work towards your goals.

Our subconscious mind takes in information primarily through images, so a vision board is a great way to instill your dreams in your subconscious mind.

The words you use on your vision board are powerful as well.. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking explains 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.

Our brains are hard-wired to want to achieve things we put our attention on and when we combine this with alignment, the sky’s the limit!

What Should You Put on Your Vision Board?

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.
Vision Board Emphasizing Feelings Over Things
You can put anything on your vision board, as long as it means something to you.

Where to Get Images for Your Vision Boards

  • My local post office has a giant bin where people can bring magazines for recycling. It’s very easy to grab a handful.
  • A local thrift store sells old magazines for $.25 each so I love to grab several when I’m in the mood for a new vision board.
  • The local library also occasionally gives away or sells old magazines.
  • Mail order catalogs can be an excellent resource for vision board images.
  • The Internet is, of course, a great source for images of all kinds. Don’t forget Instagram – it’s full of beautiful images that you can screen shot and include on your own vision board.
  • Pinterest is a great resource for all kinds of Vision Board Images. I’ve got a board you can use with my favorite images to use. (You can also use Pinterest to create your own digital vision board online.)
Pinterest is a great source for vision board images

How Vision Boards Work

Everything you want to manifest in your life starts when you align your thoughts with the feelings. That’s how vision boards work! Your vision board works when you are in alignment with your desires.

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Have you ever created a vision board that didn’t manifest the desired results? If that has happened to you, it’s probably because you weren’t in alignment with your desires.

What is Alignment?

I’ve seen alignment described as feeling, in advance, the emotion you believe you will feel when you achieve your desires. That’s true – in a way – but it’s over-simplifying things.

When you align with your desires:

  • You feel calm, secure, and supported by the universe.
  • You feel good about the things you want.
  • You feel worthy of receiving blessings.

Let’s look at each of these points in more detail.

You feel calm, secure, and supported by the universe.

When you align with your desires, you feel a sense of calm and security. You know that what you want is coming to you and there’s no need to worry or be anxious about it. This feeling comes from the trust that you have in the universe (or God/Source/Creator) to provide for you.

You feel good about the things you want.

If you come from a strict Protestant upbringing, like I did, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that wanting something is shallow and wrong. You might have been taught that asking for what you want is greedy.

As moms and women, many of us were also taught that thinking about our own desires was selfish. We were taught to serve the other members of our household. Even if you don’t consciously believe that, it’s difficult to overcome that conditioning. In fact, we can be so out of touch with our own desires, we can’t even think of something we want.

You might also fall into the trap of believing that you can only be happy if you receive exactly what you put on your vision board. That isn’t exactly true. Remember when I said the best vision board is about feelings? We’ll go into more detail about that a bit later.

When you align with your desires, you know that there is nothing wrong with wanting what you want! In fact, when you really think about it, desiring something good for yourself is a very positive thing. After all, who doesn’t want to be happy?

You feel worthy of receiving blessings.

This is something I struggle with. If you’ve had hard times in your life or suffered from any kind of emotional neglect or abuse, it’s so easy to feel – deep down – that you are just unlucky or not worthy of the good things that happen to other people.

When you align with your desires, you recognize bad things happen to everyone. But instead of letting the past define who you are today, you align yourself with good feelings about what is possible for your life now and allow those blessings into your present experience.

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How To Get Into Alignment with Your Desires: Start with Why

First, some good news. You will probably never feel perfectly aligned with your desires, and that’s totally fine. The first step towards alignment is simply believing that positive change is possible.

Also, creating a vision board is a great way to get into alignment with your desires. Making a vision board is fun, which lifts your mood. Looking for images of things you want, experiences you want to have, and goals you want to reach can help you get in touch with your desires and believe you are worthy of good things.

But the most important step to getting into alignment is to start with your why.

The Most Important Part of the Vision Board Process

In his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek describes several well-known companies that are great at selling consumers on why they should buy their product, rather than simply selling what their product does.

For example, Apple wasn’t the first company to make a portable mp3 player, but the iPod became the industry leader because Apple featured why you would want one (100 songs in your pocket), rather than what it did (stores 5GB worth of music).

When you understand your why, you can better understand what you want and how to get in alignment with your desires.

Let’s do a quick exercise to illustrate this point.

Think of something you really, really, really want.

It can be a physical object (like a fabulous house or shiny new car) or something you want to happen (say, losing a serious amount of weight or attracting that perfect guy).

Now, ask yourself this question, “Is this really what I want?”

You will, of course, answer with, “Yes, obviously.” But think about your answer a little longer. What if you got your desire and nothing else changed?

What if you got that shiny new car, but you still feel like a loser when you’re with all your friends? What if you married the man of your dreams but you still have to live at home with your judgmental parents?

The truth is what you desire is merely a means to an end. You want the car because then you’ll feel confident and successful. You want the relationship because you want to feel loved and valued at last.

It’s not the things themselves that you really want.

You can manifest everything you desire and still feel miserable if they don’t fill the inner void within yourself.

It all boils down to three questions: What? Why? How? In order to be in alignment with your desires, you need to be very clear on the answer to “Why?”

If you are having trouble manifesting your desires, you could be trying to turn your “what” into your “how”. Instead, try focusing on your “why”.

I know that sounds weird. Hear me out.

Your “What” is the thing you desire. I really, really want a new car.

Your “Why” is the emotion you believe this new car will bring you. I will feel successful and confident.

If you ask yourself, “How can I feel successful and confident?” you may believe the answer is the new car. But the universe knows more ways to bring you what you desire than you could ever imagine. If you understand that your reason for wanting that new car is to feel successful and confident, you can be open to other ways the universe shows you for feeling successful and confident.

Every time you put an image on your vision board, you need to understand the Why behind that image. When you understand the why behind your image, your feelings are in alignment with your vision.

Creating a vision statement is an excellent way to get really clear about what you want in life and why.

How to Make a Vision Board That Works

So! How to make the most effective vision board? This is the process that I’ve been using for several years and I find it works well, but – as always – do what works best for you.

1. Gather Your Supplies

You can be very minimalistic or be quite elaborate. You will probably want at least:

  • Scissors to cut out images.
  • Some type of glue. (I find a glue stick works 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.)
  • Fun markers to draw on your board or add your own custom phrases.
  • Some people like to frame their vision boards. I’ve never done this, but it looks cool.
Framed Vision Board
Adding a frame to your vision board looks so elegant. Photo Credit: Persnickety Prints

We’ll gather the actual images we use on our board in a later step.

2. Clear a Block of Time

You don’t have to finish your vision board in one day. In fact, it’s helpful to marinate on your ideas. But I’ve found that I work best when I take a stress-free hour or two alone to think and reflect.

3. Take a Moment to Get in a Thoughtful and Positive Mood before You Start Your Board

I like to take a few moments to set the mood before I begin my vision board. I like to light a few candles and play some relaxing music to help get me in a calm and thoughtful mood before I get started.

One of my favorite books I use to get in the proper mood is Life Lessons for Mastering the Law of Attraction: 7 Essential Ingredients for Living a Prosperous Life. It’s full of short, inspirational pieces that always uplift my spirit.

4. Think a bit about your ideal life. What do you really want?

Before you put images and words on your vision board, decide what it is exactly you want. This might seem like a simple task, but it can be harder than you think.

If you want a new job, what does that look like? If you want to travel more, where do you want to go? What are some things you would love to have in your 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?

writing in the vision board planner
Take time to journal about your goals for your life. The Vision Board Planner has journal prompts to help with this.

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.

Download Your Free Vision Board Planner Now!

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Use the exercises in the planner to make your most effective Vision Board ever! Plus get free printables to use on your board.

Yay! Your Vision Board Planner is on the way!

You’ll also receive the weekly Midlife Rambler newsletter. We never spam you and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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5. Determine a Theme for Your Board (Optional)

You don’t need to do this, but I usually have a theme for the boards I create. I make a vision board at the beginning of each year to symbolize my hopes and dreams for the year. The theme of this board usually goes along with my Word of the Year.

I’ve also made theme boards for specific career goals or changes I wanted to make in my life. And, I’ve made very broad and general vision boards to help me figure out just who I am and what I want. These kinds of vision boards can be very helpful to make before a goal-setting exercise.

6. Find Images for Your Board

Now, we’re ready for the fun part! It’s time to look for images for your board!

I love to find my images by going through old magazines, but you can also get images from the Internet. I find it useful to do a google image search for my desired emotion, rather than searching for a specific image.

For example, I’ll google the word “abundance” and look through the images to see if any speak to me, rather than simply looking for a pile of cash.

Finding vision board images via Google
Tip – use Google to find images that fit your desired feelings

I also like to include words and phrases that are meaningful to me and I’ve started experimenting lately with including other objects as well.

As you look for items to put on your board, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Make sure your vision board reflects what you want, not what you don’t want. You attract what you put your attention on, so you want to focus on positive emotions. This can be difficult if you’re at a low point in your life or going through a tough situation. Try imagining that you have come out of your difficult time. What’s changed? Focus on images and phrases that support the changes you want to see in your life.
  • When you find an image you like, identify the “Why” behind the image. If you’re attracted to a picture of a beautiful living room, ask yourself why? Is it because the room is calm and clutter-free and you can feel serene and peaceful there? Or is because the room is full of color, making you feel vibrant and creative? Always take the time to identify your “why”.
  • Some images you find may create a feeling of lack or neediness. (You know, like, “That’s such a nice car and my car is so crappy. I really, really wish I had that car in my life.) If that’s the case, don’t use that image. Look for images that empower you and lift you up.
  • Similarly, notice any negative feelings you experience. (Such as, I could never afford a vacation that nice!) Don’t try to deny your negative feelings because they’ll only grow stronger. Instead, pay attention to fears, negative stories you tell yourself, and any other mental obstacles so you can work through them. You must believe something is possible in order to achieve it. (I’ll be covering how to work through negative emotions in a future post. For now, focus on finding images that evoke positive feelings.)
  • Have fun! It’s ok to want things, it’s ok to desire things. We were meant to be happy. Enjoy looking at the things you want and imagining how good it feels to have them.
Tips for finding the best vision board images

7. Plan Out Image Placement On Your Board.

Once you’ve got images, plan where you’ll place them on your board. Here’s where you really can get creative. Some people like to leave blank space on their boards so they can focus on the most important images. I do my boards a little differently. I like to use a few foundational big, colorful images in the background and a few smaller images on top.

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Once you’ve planned out your board, take a photo before you glue the images because you’ll have to move everything to glue things down. I was so happy with the first board I created 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.

8. Glue Down Your Images and Take a Moment to 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.

Women our age, as I’ve mentioned, were taught too often that it’s impolite to ask for what we want, frequently to where we no longer even know just what we want. So be proud of yourself for taking this step. I can’t wait to see what happens for you.

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My Vision Board for 2022

Where Should You Put Your Vision Board?

Once again, the correct answer here is “wherever feels right for you.” I like to put my vision board somewhere I can see it first thing in the morning and the last thing at night so I usually hang it in the bathroom. That way, I can reflect on my board while I’m getting ready for the day and then again when I’m getting ready for bed.

There are several benefits to placing your vision board some place you can see it frequently. Each time you see your board, you are training your brain to visualize the results you want.

If you place your board 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!

Vision Board Hanging in Office

However, some dreams are so secret and tender, you need to keep them in a special place to look at only when you feel you need to. A close friend of mine kept her “vision board” in a locked jewelry box and would look at now and then just to remind herself of her dreams. That’s also powerful stuff.

Are You Ready to Make Your Own Vision Board?

What are you waiting for? Get started with your vision board today! The benefits of doing this type of personal project are well worth the time and effort it will take. Whether you’re looking to manifest a new career, find love in an unexpected place, or make more money – there’s no better way than to start by visualizing what that would look like. If you would like to share your board with me, I’d love to see it. Send me an email ([email protected]) or tag me on Instagram (@katykozee).

Get ready to see your dreams come true!

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More Questions about Vision Boarding

Can I make more than one vision board?

Yes, you can make as many vision boards as you like. I have made a few different ones for different areas of my life. Some people like to make one main vision board that shows their vision for the whole life and then create smaller vision boards for specific goals.

I once made a mini vision board two weeks before a big meeting that would have an enormous impact on my life. I taped it to my bathroom mirror and spent a few minutes every morning looking at the board and imagining the meeting going well. Spoiler alert – the meeting actually went even better than I imagine.

Can I change the pictures on my board?

Yes, you can change the pictures on your board. Just be sure to keep the intention of your board in mind when making changes.

How Often Should You Make a Vision Board?

As often as you want to. I 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.

The Science (And Magic) of Vision Board
My 2016 Vision Board

Download Your Free Vision Board Planner Now!

How to Make a Vision Board that is Mind-Blowingly Effective 7

Use the exercises in the planner to make your most effective Vision Board ever! Plus get free printables to use on your board.

Yay! Your Vision Board Planner is on the way!

You’ll also receive the weekly Midlife Rambler newsletter. We never spam you and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How to Make a Vision Board that Really Works: The Ultimate Guide for 2022 5
How to Make a Vision Board that Really Works: The Ultimate Guide for 2022 10

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Download Your Free Vision Board Planner Now!

How to Make a Vision Board that is Mind-Blowingly Effective 7

Use the exercises in the planner to make your most effective Vision Board ever! Plus get free printables to use on your board.

Yay! Your Vision Board Planner is on the way!

You’ll also receive the weekly Midlife Rambler newsletter. We never spam you and you can unsubscribe at any time.

How to Make a Vision Board that Really Works: The Ultimate Guide for 2022 5

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Katy Kozee | Midlife Rambler

Hi! I'm Katy and I started Midlife Rambler when my youngest child was a senior in high school. I was staring at the coming empty nest and wondering what was next for me. Does that sound like you? Then you’ll love our community of fun, feisty women. We’re looking forward to finally focusing (just a little) on ourselves and talking about all the things we enjoy: fashion, beauty, travel, entertaining, and being the best possible you.

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