Why You Need a Vision Board

By Liz, still adjusting to real life after a fabulous Wicked retreat….

As you may have heard, the Wickeds held our annual retreat this past weekend. You’ll get the skinny tomorrow when we post our favorite memories, but one of the topics that came up was vision boards–who does them, who loves them, who’s never heard of them. Since I’m in the “I love them” camp, I figured I’d do a post about why we all should use them.

I first learned about vision boards from watching The Secret years ago, and the concept intrigued me. The idea is to put a visual depiction of anything you want to bring into your life in a place where you can look at it multiple times each day. By seeing a picture–literally–of what you want to achieve, accomplish, acquire, etc., you’re focusing on what brings you joy. And when you focus on those things, you bring them to life even faster.

Now, before you write the concept off as too woo-woo, remember–you still have to take action on your dreams. Simply putting up a picture of yourself next to the words “Famous movie star” won’t work if you never go to auditions or take an acting class or do something else to get noticed. But if you’re visualizing AND taking steps to make your dreams come true, you can’t go wrong.

Your board can include pictures from magazines, words, phrases, affirmations, photos–anything that makes you happy, inspires you, or motivates you. Here’s an example of one of mine:

Vision Boards

This is a household vision board, so there’s lots of different stuff on it related to writing, houses, beaches, cars, flat abs…you get the idea. I’m happy to report I’m the proud owner of the black VW Jetta in the top right corner.

I’m due to create a new one, as this one hasn’t been updated in more than a year. Some of these things don’t apply anymore, but many still do. But it’s nice to start from scratch and create some new experiences in your life.

One of the things I’ve struggled with is, how many different boards do you need? Should I do one for writing, one for my day job, one for my personal life? Or does it work better if everything is in one place? I don’t think there’s any right answer. Every area of life overlaps, after all, so there’s a benefit to combining visions. But smaller, more targeted boards could be the right choice for someone else.

However you structure your board, the important thing is to have one. In fact, we Wickeds have already put this on our agenda for next year’s retreat. So head out to your favorite store and grab some magazines, poster boards, scissors and glue and get visualizing!

Readers, have you ever used a vision board? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

39 Thoughts

  1. Hi, Liz. I love visions boards and the concept of visually displaying what you care about, what you want, what makes you dream. I did one earlier this year, guided by my paper artist friend Carol Maurer, and it sits right at my desk. I also have three soul collages from other workshops.. I am the least woo woo person around, but each of these was done at a table with a group of women, and we had such wonderful talks while cutting, pasting, etc. My favorite part is sharing the board or collage and explaining what each visual means to you. I think creating one at a retreat would be a blast–you’ll get to know each other, and yourself, a little more.

  2. I’ve never done one, although some of my characters are so real to me I sometimes wish I had pictures of them. Maybe it’s time to try!

  3. On a spiritual retreat, we were asked to create a vision board of our lives as they were at that moment in time, bearing in mind all the while what was missing, what we could change, and what we wanted to change. Great way to get caught up with myself. I think there was a little corner of the board that spoke to writing, and I’d kind of sequestered it and protected it from the responsibilities that fought for center stage. It was only a couple years later that I decided not to wait for retirement to start writing. I committed to writing one hour every day. Within a year, I had a contract for my first novel. Powerful stuff, those vision boards! 🙂 –kate

  4. Your vision board looks a lot like the corkboard over my desk, except for the specific details. I think visual and verbal memories are different, and often I need to see reminders rather than read them (I do make a lot of lists–but those are visual too, since I can “see” and recall the words on the page). But mine is dynamic: I add things all the time–mainly items I don’t want to lose forever in a pile of papers–and if a new idea pops up, it goes on the board, along with the core images for existing series. I’d feel lost without the board.

    1. I love that, Sheila. I think if mine were a little more dynamic it wouldn’t be so daunting to start over again with a clean slate every year, which sometimes makes me procrastinate….Me procrastinating is shocking, I know, but it happens 😉

  5. It’s a fascinating exercise, especially since you need to find clippings that match your visions. Which always seems to happen, oddly.

    I had one, 25 years ago, and nearly everything on it was realized. But mine was not in plain sight; it lived down the side of a shelf unit, where I had to go look for it. Which I didn’t, unless I happened to stumble upon it. And everything still happened. I think it’s the process that’s the important thing, asking and answering yourself about what you want from life. Once you’ve committed it to paper, or to a vision board, your subconscious takes over.

    1. That’s so cool, Karen. I think too that the more you see it and imagine it, the faster it appears. Also, as far as finding clippings that match, I think it’s also about opening up to new ideas and finding things you’d never imagined.

  6. When I made my first vision board, I downloaded the HTML of an Amazon page, put in the name of my book and made me the author, printed it, and stuck it onto the vision board. I kept it on the wall of my writing office.

  7. I did a vision board a long time ago that included finishing my masters and running a half marathon. I also got the Berkley Prime Crime logo, and wrote Julianne Holmes next to it. Time to do a new board, for sure.

  8. It’s not at all really, lots of psychologist would say that it gives the subconscious brain something to shoot for. Back in my psychologist days, I once led a collage experience for couples at a church retreat. Individuals in the couple made their own boards and then shared and talked about the meaning with their partner and the group. I will never forget how bare one of my friend’s boards turned out. All he could think of to put on it was a pair of candlesticks. They were divorced within the year. Not sure that could be counted as a therapeutic success, but maybe…

      1. I think I should tell my husband to try this. He’s approaching retirement and is having trouble visualizing what he’ll do with himself (I doubt candlesticks would be on his board, but I’m not sure what would be).

    1. Wow. That is a great story, Lucy. I once asked a work colleague if he had made any New Year’s resolutions and he said, “Yes. I want a little more definition in my biceps right here.” (Touches arm.) All I could think was, “Yikes!”

  9. Hi Liz,
    Love this, especially the fact that you’ve made some of your vision a reality (nice car!). I make lists and then lose them, so perhaps a vision board is for me. Perhaps I’ll start one for a YA project 😉

  10. I don’t think it’s woo-woo at all. I used to have a saying when I ran a business, “The numbers you look at are the numbers that move.” All it meant was that of all the many ways you can slice a business, the things you pay attention to are the things that are important to you and are the places you put your effort and resources.

    Life is a pretty random walk, but intentionality does make a difference. (Though I’m still kind of blown away by Julie’s.)

  11. While I’m pontificating on intentionality, I have to point out that what’s NOT on your vision board is as important as what is. While you shouldn’t turn down true opportunities, saying yes to everything is the surest way not to get what you want.

  12. I’ve only heard of vision boards thanks to this blog. I have two issues with it. First, I’d need to figure out what my goals are. Second, I’m not a very visual person.

    Chiming in much later than usual from Tennessee where he is on a work trip. (Note: Mark does not trust anyone who refers to themselves in the third person.)

  13. I like it. On a retreat- it helps people get an insight into who you are.

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