It wasn’t until I turned thirty last year that I started to explore the world of self-help, the power of positive thinking, the concept of universal energy, the consequences of limiting beliefs, and all of that other mumbo jumbo that my twenty-something self had thought she’d never need. It seemed as if almost the moment I turned thirty, there was a shift in my life. Things were not drastically different on March 10th, 2016 than they were on March 9th, but I suddenly became so aware of—and so disturbed by—the sense of wandering that I had gotten so used to over the past ten-plus years. Bouncing from one pursuit to the next, juggling far too many things in half-hearted ways, and the never-ending desperate search for success and all the other things I wanted became, finally, too much to bear. It was time to take action.
But where was I to even begin? I started thinking about those around me who seemed settled and successful. I looked to the friends that I most admired and was inspired by. They all shared characteristics, practices, and behaviors, like contagious positivity, healthy living, spirituality in one form or another, meditation or visualization, and many others. My next move was to hit up Amazon, where I purchased several books on the aforementioned topics, and (in less than forty-eight hours—thank you, Prime!) I was taking in all that I could. I read books like You Are A Badass (Jen Sincero), Grace, Not Perfection (Emily Ley), and many, many others. I changed my diet, hired a trainer, and upped my fitness regimen. I meditated and practiced positive self-talk daily. I went through every drawer, cabinet, and closet and decluttered my house and life. I felt better than ever. Sort of.
After a month or two, though, I started to feel like although my mind and body had changed, my life overall was still in the same place. I was talking with my husband about it, and he asked the question that has always, always stumped me: “Well, what is it that you really want? What are you after?” Thirty billion responses later, it occurred to me that there was not just one clear answer. I did not have one clear goal to shoot for. I was not an amateur figure skater striving for the ultimate achievement of Olympic gold. I did not dream to be the President of the United States. There was not this single, finite, tangible goal I was going after, and I think that is something that had confused me for years. What was I working toward, specifically? I realized that success was how I measured my happiness and self-worth, and I did not and do not see anything wrong with that. I want to be successful in every area of my life: in my career, as a mother and wife, financially, with my fitness goals, etc. But how do I measure that? What would make me feel successful in each of those realms?
My husband suggested that I write down all of the things I want in life, tangible or otherwise. Of course, being the crafter and creative spirit that I am, my mind immediately went to VISION BOARD. We all know I have more than a little love affair with lists (Dear Santa, bring highlighters!), but for something as important and as inspirational as organizing all that I want from life, a visual display seemed much more appropriate. I got to work immediately, and the impact that both the process and the product had on my life were and are unbelievable. Now I want to share with you four of my top tips for creating a vision board of your own so that you, too, can hopefully organize a more clear picture of your ideal life and blast it out to the Universe!
1. Make it Pretty
For me, the out-of-sight, out-of-mind phenomenon is so real, especially in this day and age when our brains are so clogged and so busy trying to keep up with everything we have to manage daily. If I don’t have something physically in my sight, reminding me of whatever it is supposed to be reminding me of, I will most likely forget it. It took me a while to accept that as being true, but after seeing four bottles of ketchup tucked away in the pantry because I could never remember if I had bought it the last time I went to the store, it was apparent that I just couldn’t catalog everything mentally anymore. I need visuals. In my face. All the time.
This was no exception. If I was going to get serious about changing things and positively visualizing all of the things I wanted out of life, I needed this sucker to be front and center, in a place that I spend most of my time. And if I was going to have it hanging out in all its glory and have to look at it all the time, then by God, it needed to be gorgeous! So make it something that is nice to look at, whatever that means to you. If you are inspired by monochromatic things, straight lines, and that clean look, then go for it! I love handmade items, color, texture, and mixed media, so I went that route.
Tip: To save a bit of time (and a lot of paper!), try making your collage digitally using a program like PicMonkey or even Microsoft Paint, and then have it printed as a poster at FedEx Office, Walgreens, or any other local printer.
2. Start with a List
I can vividly remember having to make many inspiration collages and vision board type of projects throughout grade school and high school. In fact, I still have several of them tucked away in files, and it makes me smile to look at what the younger me was inspired by. Anyway, they always seemed to start with magazines. The teacher would ask us to bring a ton of magazines, and we would all begin by flipping through the pages and clipping away at anything and everything. The result was often just a hodgepodge of things that we thought were “cool,” but looking back now, I realize that those collages don’t really reflect what was going on in my mind and my heart at the time but, rather, were just collections of things and ideas that were put in front of me on the pages of a few magazines.
While it is certainly fun and helpful to browse different resources for inspiration, I think it is important to at least begin with a list to ensure that your vision board reflects—first and foremost—what you truly want out of life when you look in to your soul. Once you have those key things listed, start looking for inspiration in personal places, like your journals and photo albums. Going for a walk through your neighborhood, or a neighborhood you may long to live in one day, is also a great source of personal inspiration and something that can help you reflect on the past and present as well as envision the future. Dig as deep as you can within yourself and your environment to make sure you recognize what you desire most, then add some of the secondary things you may find in magazines or elsewhere.
3. Be Big, Bold, and Broad (but throw in that pair of orange Jimmy Choo pumps, too)
I would say this is the most important tip of all. There is nothing too big, too bold, too broad, too specific or too “anything” to be included on your vision board. First, no one is judging or grading this, as opposed to how it was when my middle school Home Economics teacher gave me a B- on my awesome “backpacks and flip-flops” collage (wtf, Ms. Taylor?). Next, this is not meant to necessarily be a collection of things you deem actually attainable at this moment in time. This is a board to inspire you and to help send the universe the kind of energy you want it to send back to you. Don’t choose not to include a photo of a house in the Hamptons just because you think there is zero chance that could ever actually be yours. Grab a glue stick, slap it on there, look at it every day, and believe it can happen. You will be surprised at what the Universe is capable of sending your way when you open yourself up to it and put it out there. If the Universe doesn’t know that your heart desires a dedicated office and warehouse space for your business, then how can it send that your way? And if you don’t open yourself up to really believing that you may finally find a sense of calm and confidence in your role as a mother, then why would the universe even attempt to help you out there?
Since we are in December, let’s try to think of your board like your Christmas list and the Universe like Santa. If you don’t put something on your list or verbalize it or depict it, there is no chance it will become yours. If you don’t play the Lotto, there is no chance you’ll win. Right? So if you want it, whether or not it is something you ever thought was achievable before now, put it on there. This at least starts the process of opening your mind up to the possibility and probability of it becoming yours. And the Universe can sense that.
It doesn’t have to be a physical item like you would see on a wish list, either. Words are a great thing to include. Even something as broad as the word “success,” which I keep mentioning when it comes to my own visions, is totally appropriate. Including that word on my board has opened me up to inviting all kinds of success into my life.
4. Give the Universe Some Space
I wanted to invite an energy of chance into my life. I wanted to be open to accepting whatever the Universe wanted to send my way. Looking at that little bit of white space on my board each day reminds me that there is a world of possibility out there. And as big as I can dream, I still am not capable of imagining just how much greatness the Universe can send if I leave some room to let it do its thing.
There you have it! Those are my four top tips to creating your perfect vision board, but remember that this is such a personal process and project, so make it your own. Believe in it. Open yourself up to everything that is on that board. Send the Universe a message that you believe these things belong in your life and that you are ready to accept them.
In the close-to-a-year since making my own board, I am blown away by all that has happened. I have booked clients and events that I had only dreamed of before. I have paid off bills that were hanging over my head and have reconnected with long lost friends that are now some of my closest. I have even lost a few friends I didn’t realize until now that I probably needed to lose. I have achieved physical milestones with my running and fitness that I hadn’t before been able to. I have conquered demons that have long haunted me. While I haven’t necessarily seen a lot of the specific items on the list come into my life, making this vision board has given my life a new energy and sense of possibility and direction. I still don’t have one specific goal I am trying to reach, but the board depicts for me a world that I long to make my own and gives me motivation and confidence each day that I am moving toward that place.
And as for that little white space… Well, the Universe wasted no time filling it with something I definitely didn’t know I wanted or needed. Just a few short weeks after completing my vision board, I was shocked to learn that I was pregnant, very unexpectedly, with Baby #3. This was not something I had ever planned on, but I have no doubt that opening myself up to the unplanned played a part in this big surprise, and I can’t wait to meet this little soul that the Universe knew belonged in my life.
With the new year approaching, what better time to start envisioning all that is possible in your own life? We can’t wait to see your boards! Share your vision with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or in the comments below!