THE BLOG

The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make One

01/12/2015 12:19 pm ET | Updated Mar 14, 2015
  • Elizabeth Rider Wellness expert, health coach, clean recipe master, entrepreneur, blogger at ElizabethRider.com

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If you think vision boards are bogus, then the joke's on you. They work, and there's actually a really simple explanation of why they work so well.

Creating a sacred space that displays what you want actually does bring it to life. What we focus on expands. When you create a vision board and place it in a space where you see it often, you essentially end up doing short visualization exercises throughout the day.

Visualization is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do. According to the popular book The Secret, "The law of attraction is forming your entire life experience and it is doing that through your thoughts. When you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the Universe."

Whether you believe that or not, we know that visualization works. Olympic athletes have been using it for decades to improve performance, and Psychology Today reported that the brain patterns activated when a weightlifter lifts heavy weights are also similarly activated when the lifter just imagined (visualized) lifting weights.

So, what's the big secret to creating a vision board that works? It's simple: Your vision board should focus on how you want to feel, not just on things that you want. Don't get me wrong, it's great to include the material stuff, too. However, the more your board focuses on how you want to feel, the more it will come to life.

Here's an example. I have a beautiful coaster from Drybar on my vision board (pictured above), not because I want to open my own blow dry bar, but because I love the feeling I get when I walk into one of Alli Webb's Drybar establishments. I want my customers to feel those same happy vibes when they come across my brand, so on the board it went.

I added few trinkets, like a peacock feather and bookmark, that I picked up at retreats where I felt incredible energy and motivation around what I was learning. When I'm in my home office, I want to feel the same way I felt at those retreats.

A few inspirational notecards from my best friends and women I admire are on my board as well; I personally believe that their handwritten notes on the back infuse it with even more good vibes. Front and center is a card from Danielle LaPorte's Fire Starter Sessions that reminds me how I want to live.

I even have a few items from past events that I want to keep occurring each year, like a photo of my husband from a surf vacation and an invitation to an annual gala dinner for the top 25 sales people in my company. I want to continue to enjoy surf vacations with my husband, and want to continue to be invited to this exclusive gala. I've been invited back to that gala each of the last three years, and not coincidentally, have had the previous year's invitation on my vision board for the last two (see, it works!). A few quotes and reminders round out my board and I truly feel giddy every time I look at it.

There is only one major rule to creating a vision board that works, and it's that there aren't any rules. You aren't going to mess it up, you can create your vision board on your own terms. Here are the answers to the most common questions people ask:

Q: What should I put on my vision board?

A: Anything that inspires and motivates you. The purpose of your vision board is to bring everything on it to life. First, think about what your goals are in the following areas: relationships, career and finances, home, travel, personal growth (including spirituality, social life, education) and health.

You don't have to cover each area exactly the same, just take a mental inventory of what you want each of those areas to look like and write them down. Always handwrite your goals instead of typing them, there's something energetic about actually handwriting your goals. From your goals and aspirations, think about what you want on your vision board. Like I said before, what you focus on expands. You'll be amazed at how things just start popping up all over the place once you set the intention for what you want and how you want to feel.

Q: Should I have one main vision board, or a bunch of small ones for different areas of my life?

A: It's totally up to you. What makes the most sense in your life? I personally like to have one central vision board that I look at every day in my home office, and I have a few small ones that I've made at retreats that I keep around too. Each area of our lives affect each other, so starting with one central vision board usually makes sense. Theme boards that center on specific events or areas of your life are great too, for instance a wedding-day-specific will help you focus on how you want to feel on your big day, or a career specific board at your desk space can help you work towards that promotion.

Q: How often should I re-do my vision board?

A: Whenever it feels right. I often leave blank space on my vision board so I can accept new things as they appear in my life, and add and rearrange during the year when I feel it. You'll just know. Then, every December, I give the board a total refresh to get clear about what I want in the new year. Some things stay and some have served their purpose and don't make the cut.

What you'll need:

  • Any kind of board, if you're new maybe start with a cork board or poster board from the hardware store, they run about a dollar. If you can, I recommend a pin board or something pretty you like to look at -- I got my 24x24" white wood framed pin board on Etsy.
  • Scissors, tape, pins, and/or a glue-stick to put your board together.
  • If you want, fun markers, stickers, or anything else you can think of to deck out your board. I don't use that stuff, but if embellishments make you feel great, then go for it.
  • Magazines that you can cut images and quotes from.
  • Most importantly, the stuff you want to look at every day. Photos, quotes, sayings, images of places you want to go, reminders of events, places, or people, postcards from friends and just about anything that will inspire you.
  • Time. Give yourself a stress-free hour or two to put your board together. If you're a social butterfly, invite you friends over and make a party out of it. I host a vision board party every year on the first night of my partner mastermind weekend and I can't even tell you how much it sets the tone for the event -- everyone is more focused and less stressed after we do it.

How to do it:

Set the mood. Turn off the TV and turn on some relaxing music. Light a candle and clear your space.

When it comes to actually putting your stuff on the board, I like to leave space in between each item because clutter clouds my mind. I like space. However, if you love the feeling of closeness and want everything to touch and overlap, then huddle it all together and overlap your objects. As for choosing what makes the final cut, lay everything out before you start gluing and pinning so you can get an idea of where you want everything.

What do you think? Will you create a vision board if you don't have one already? I hope the answer is yes.

Cheers to a bright 2015!

Elizabeth

Join Elizabeth in January for Purpose To Profit™, a free online course to learn how to turn what you love into a healthy profit.

Elizabeth Rider is a leading nutrition and whole living expert helping women around the world become even more successful by teaching them not just how to live well, but how to become the absolute BEST version of themselves. From personal wellness to career, spirituality to finances -- and more -- consciously cultivating the ideal lifestyle is her religion.