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Do Vision Boards Really Work?

Updated: May 9, 2019

I think my angels spend their time gathering at a comedy club in heaven called, “The Nevers.” I imagine their evening is spent laughing at all of the ways in which I think I am planning my future. As I make my future-telling statements such as, “I’ll never sign up for online dating,” “I’ll never run my own business,” I’ll never move away from this city,” They get to work, joyfully proving me wrong by putting in front of me exactly what I said I could never do.

Does this also seem to happen after you dust yourself off from a big life or career change? Do you start to see images for your life that you NEVER thought were possible? I remember a time when I was working with a dream team of colleagues, and even though I loved the work, the amount of travel was no longer right for me. I realized was going to have to make an unexpected career change and that was scary. It felt like an emotional rock bottom moment, and I was completely disoriented.

Then, a radical idea took hold of me. Maybe I could start my own business. This was so shocking because it was something I often said I would never do.

When unexpected visions like these start popping in your head, the best thing to do is just to entertain them. Play them out. What would that look like for me? What if I try that? It’s easy to get scared here because we believe, “if I’m thinking about it, then that must mean I have to do it.” Remember, you’re just dreaming and scheming. You’re not making a commitment.

One of the mantras that helped me get through this time in my life when all of these images started fighting for headspace was, “I have no idea what the heck I’m doing, and that is OKAY.” Then, I started to grab ahold of the ones that made me feel the most excited and hopeful and I wrote them down.

You may have heard of vision boards. There’s a reason why vision boards are popular – because they tend to work. You simply create images of the ideal work day, the ideal life, the ideal partner, the ideal home. Then, you write or clip images and hang them up.

By This Time Next Year

Our family created a vision board with a specific ideal. We asked ourselves, “What will we be doing at this time next year if we have lived our best life and taken a few risks toward our wild goals? What do we want our work to look like? Our life? Our family? Our routines? We made a name for our vision board. It’s our ByTTNY (Bit-Ney) board. It is an acronym for “By This Time Next Year.”

You don’t have to make this Pinterest perfect – ours is post it notes on a cork board! 

We were super simple and it sits in our pantry. Why? Because we go to our pantry consistently. It’s where the snacks are.

Successful vision boards are someplace visible because it supports how they work. When you keep your goal in sight, you make unconscious choices that guide you toward it. It also serves as a way to discern the right decisions for you – does this choice peacefully carry me toward the life, work, or relationships I’m trying to create? 

When you keep your goal in sight, you make unconscious choices that guide you toward it. Kelli Thompson

How To Make Your Vision Board

Sit back and imagine your ideal life, ideal day, ideal partner, ideal career. and get some images of what that looks and feels like for you. Crazy and improbable goals are okay here – you’re just dreaming and scheming.  

Capture your specific goals and outcomes. Here are ways you can do this:

  • List on the fridge or office wall.

  • Make an iPhone album.

  • Create a Pinterest vision board.

  • Put post-it’s on a bulletin board.

  • Go all out and print and clip images and paste them on a board.

They key is to make sure this board or list is frequently seen by you.

Our family is about five months into our ByTTNY board and it’s pretty amazing what we’ve accomplished. Many of the goals felt so out of reach at one point!

Here’s a challenge as you emerge from a big change and are entertaining future ideas. Ask yourself, “If you’ve lived your best year, what will you be doing at this time next year?” Write it down. I would love to hear how all of this works out for you.

Next up is tip three of four in my Chaos to Confidence series. Learn how to deal with the failures that come with trying something new.

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