How to Make a Vision Board (Because What Else Are You Doing Right Now?)

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The last 12 months have been, in a word, kooky. Because of that, it seems we’re all just looking for a little positivity in our lives. According to Pinterest data, searches for manifestation techniques are up by a whopping 105 percent. Think of manifestation as bringing something tangible into your life through attraction and belief.

Similar to manifestation is visualization, or visualizing your goals as a way of achieving them. One of the most fun ways to practice visualization is by creating a vision board, which is basically just a visual representation of your goals. For more on how vision boarding can help you, plus how to create your own, read on.

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What Is a Vision Board?

It’s actually pretty simple: A vision board is any visual representation of your goals. This could be a huge, wall-size chalkboard as seen above, or it could be a piece of 9x11 printer paper with some photos cut out of your favorite magazines. It’s all about visualization—the idea that literally seeing your goals spelled out with words or corresponding photographs will make you more likely to achieve them. 

Do Vision Boards Actually Work?

While there hasn’t been a ton of research on the efficacy of vision boards, some experts say that they can be a legitimate tool for helping you get what you want out of life. As Tchiki Davis, Ph.D., a well-being technology expert, writes in Psychology Today, “Although vision boarding is a commonly used tool, there is not a lot of research on its effectiveness. Initial research suggests it can help us more easily reach our goals. This may be due to how vision boards help us gain self-awareness and reflect on what is important to us.” She continues, “Vision boards may also help us imagine what a positive future could look like for us. Imagining a positive future is a helpful way to increase positive emotions. And positive emotions often create opportunities and increase the chances of success.” It’s important to note that vision board aren’t magic—you’re not going to go from an attorney to an award-winning actress just because you look at a photo of Jennifer Lawrence winning an Oscar every day. Still, visualization by way of vision boarding can be a helpful tool for putting you into the right mindset to go and achieve your goals.

How Can You Make Your Own Vision Board?

1. Take Stock of What You Love (and Don’t Love) About Your Life

An important part of determining what you want out of the rest of your life is being grateful for all the things you already have. This can be general or specific. Maybe you love your friends and your family, but you’re feeling stuck in your career; maybe you’re crushing it at your job but have put your love life on the backburner; maybe you’re just feeling generally stuck and need to envision a less-stuck future. Coming to terms with what you don’t love about your current situation is a great way to get inspiration for the things that should be on your vision board. 

2. Make a List of Your Goals

We’ve all, at one time or another, thought, ‘Hmm, I’d really like to take on more responsibility at the office,’ or ‘I want to strengthen my relationship with my mom.’ Having goals is critical to staying motivated and positive. When you’re thinking about your vision board, it’s important to list those goals out, whether on a piece of paper or in your phone’s notes section. Having a bunch of random wishes floating around your head is great, but actually seeing them listed out makes them harder to ignore. Once you’ve jotted down all the wonderful things you want to see in your future, you’ll have a better idea of the direction you want to take your vision board in.

3. Stock Up on Supplies

This is the fun part—a trip to CVS/Duane Reade/Target/etc. First you’re going to want to decide how big your vision board is, based on how much space you have. Do you have a wall in your home office that can accommodate a poster board? Or, do you want a smaller sheet of paper you can tuck into your trusty calendar? Once you’ve decided on a canvas, it’s time to buy the stuff that will eventually fill it. Magazines, newspapers and photographs can all be great tools for creating a vision board. Note that your vision board doesn’t have to be exclusively photos—or even mostly photos. The fun thing about a vision board is that it’s yours. You can, of course, look on Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration, but when it comes down to it, this is your vision of your own future. Get creative and have fun.

Shop vision board supplies: Leisure Arts Inc 32-Piece Double Markers Pack ($7); Daler-Rowney 24"x 36" Art Canvas ($11); Maggie Holmes 8-Piece Flourish Washi Tape ($11)

4. Display Your Board in a Highly Visible Place

Done! Once you’re happy with how your vision board is looking, it’s time to start, you know, visualizing. To get the most out of your board you’re going to want to display it somewhere it’ll be easy to see it a lot. This doesn’t have to mean putting it out in the open for others to see, but rather making sure it’s in a spot you can’t miss. The more often you see it, the more often you’ll think about how you can get to a place where your vision board is your reality.

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sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...