Life coaching clients often ask me how to make a vision board. A few years ago I shared the story about how we found the dream home that had been on my own vision board for many years. Today, I’m sharing a more detailed version of how you can start exploring ideas for your own vision board, even if you’re not entirely certain about your future direction.
Step 1: Draft your vision statement
Set aside a few hours to draft a few paragraphs about your ideal life, five or ten years from now. As you start to think about vision board ideas, approach the exercise with a sense of lightness and creativity and even if you feel unclear about what you want, make something up, to begin with. It’s helpful to keep the time frame broad so you feel that there’s enough time to make any kind of change possible.
When I do this exercise, I begin with the phrase, “It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m at home with…” and continue writing in the present tense. I imagine where I live and who I’ll be spending time with later in the day. This helps to anchor me in a place and gives me the opportunity to reflect on the most important relationships in my life.
I then reflect back on the week prior and consider the kind of work I am doing, how I’m taking care of my health and wellbeing, how I’m learning, growing and challenging myself, how I’m contributing to society, being creative, taking care of my finances, the interests I have and so on.
As you work through this exercise, don’t be overly concerned about how you’ll achieve what you include, just focus on what you would love for now. If you know, for example, that you’d like a wider social circle, write something like, “I have a few close friendships with people who share the same values and interests as me and we spend time together each week, walking in nature, seeing a film or catching up for breakfast.”
Including detail in this way helps give you clarity about the kind of lifestyle you’d like to create and the person you’ll be in your vision. It will also help you become clear about how to make your vision board inspiring enough to keep you engaged.
Step 2: Meditate on your vision
Before finalising your vision put the written exercise aside for a few days and meditate on it to make sure it feels right for you. This will help you to sense whether your vision aligns with your personal values rather than being something that sounds good to other people.
You may find it helps to listen to this meditation to help you tap into your innate wisdom and connect with your intuition. As you listen, remember to deepen your connection with your physical body – this is where we most easily access our intuitive wisdom.
Step 3: How to make your vision board
Using any format that appeals to you (sketching or painting, taking images from magazines or creating a document on your computer), now you can get to work creating your vision board. The images you choose don’t need to be an exact replica of your ideal life but as you start looking for vision board ideas, consider how you’d like to feel in your future.
Once your vision board is complete, place a copy of it where you’ll see it on a regular basis.
While you don’t need to be fixated on it there’s some fascinating research that suggests that our brains are more open to creating what we can visually imagine.
Step 4: Keep yourself grounded as you dream
This may sound like something of a paradox but when we can keep ourselves grounded in our existing lives, we create a solid foundation from which we can dream.
Stay grounded by meditating, walking in nature, lying on the grass in your local park, swimming or surfing in the ocean or walking on the beach with bare feet. Make a regular habit to engage in practices that connect you with the energy of the earth.
As well as creating and maintaining a deeper connection with yourself, being grounded will help you to recognise when an element of your vision board is no longer right and needs to be changed.
Step 5: Stop dreaming and start doing
Choose one area of your vision board to focus on for now and identify a couple of small actions that will move you in the direction of your dreams. Taking small action steps in a given direction (even if you’re experiencing some doubt about that direction) is the most effective way of gaining clarity about whether that option is right for you.
Don’t feel that you need to rush this or have all of the steps mapped out – initially the goal is to simply create a small amount of forward momentum.
For example, instead of waiting for a new partner to appear in your life, add your profile to a reputable dating app (even though this may initially fill you with dread!).
Make a point of being the kind of person who takes the first step. Invite a colleague for coffee, arrange a social event at work, open up a thoughtful discussion instead of waiting for someone else to initiate conversation, proactively start researching a career option that sounds appealing.
Taking small steps means you’re putting energy into the world to encourage change. If nothing else, as you progress down a given path, you’ll build resilience, learn about what you don’t want, and it’s likely you’ll also discover things that genuinely energise you.