THE BLOG
03/31/2014 03:11 pm ET | Updated May 31, 2014

Vision Boards, Because New Year's Resolutions Were So Last Year

We're already into the second quarter of the new year, and, admit it, probably by now your New Year's resolutions have lost their momentum. You haven't been to the gym in three days and probably won't tomorrow either. With our daily schedules set in a way we are used to, it is hard to integrate a lifestyle choice unless we really put in an effort that will make it part of the routine. That means taking MASSIVE action, and doing it whether we feel like it that day or not. Much of the time, people are not making changes that remind their subconscious of the person they want to become, which is ignoring a major part of improving yourself. A recent study done by the Dominican University of California showed that those who wrote down their business goals had 22 percent more likelihood of achieving them, and when the participants reviewed those goals regularly, it jumped to 33 percent more likely. A great way to get in on this is with vision boards.

A vision board is like creating a role model, but instead of someone else, it is like creating a role model of your best self. A vision board is a board, created by you, that reminds you of the person that you want to become in the future. It can portray goals that you have for your social life, your romantic life, your professional life, it can be whatever you want. But it should create the image of the all-encompassing person you desire to be. This may seem like an empty gesture, but often can yield real results by allowing you to better visualize the small steps you need to take to work toward a goal by seeing it every day. You will never outperform your picture of yourself, so it is important to keep updating a positive picture of the person you want to be.

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(Source: Havilah Malone)

Here's how that works:

Step 1: Look through your favorite magazine or journal. Find images that you connect to. Or, have a specific image or goal in mind? You can simply search for that image on Google Images. Find images that give concreteness to the adjectives you want to be described as. Want to be more family-oriented? Find pictures that demonstrate the relationship you want to have with your kids. Want to find your dream man/woman? Find images that exemplify the qualities you want them to have. Cut all of these images out and paste them on a poster board. Or if you want to go digital, you can create a Pinterest board or use an app like Posterino.

Look at others' vision boards to find inspiration as well. It can be as simple as Googling "vision boards" or checking out Pinterest. You may find a quote or an image that you find inspiring yourself, and desire to use it. Here's a vision board my successful colleague made. He focused it on his interests: fitness, family, and business, and organized the board into subsections for each. Positive images pair with uplifting and action-oriented phrases.

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(Source: Andy Turner)

There are even specific apps for making vision boards. Dreamitalive.com not only features a place to create vision boards, but also allows you to connect with like-minded people to use as mentors and team members on the journey. As well, you can do a thing called "dream funding," which, like Kickstarter, is a crowdsourcing funding feature that allows your family, friends, and others fund your dream by donating online. This is a very active way to do vision boards, a way that you don't necessarily need to do, but if you are ambitious enough about it, could be very beneficial.

Mind Movies is a way to animate your vision board and thus make it even more engaging. Mind Movies is an online vision board creator that allows you to combine your uplifting images with powerful affirmations and motivating music to produce an inspiring three-minute video. The movement and music can help create the kind of inspired emotion that may be difficult for some just looking at a board. They are also easy to share with others, if you want to get friends and family in on your goals. Mind Movies also offers their own videos as inspirational guides that offer steps to achieve different dreams. Some of the popular ones they feature are: "Attracting Health," "Attracting Wealth," and "Attracting Spirituality." Here is an example of one the most downloaded mind movies:

Notice how it is full of inspiring images and quotes, it emphasizes action and things their creator wants to value. It aims to promote good mindsets. This should be a thing your vision board replicates. Photo slideshow tools like Animoto could be a good alternative as well, with their simple-to-use templates for plugging in photos and adding music and text as desired.

Step 2: Put this board in a place that you will see it FOR SURE. Like, a lot. Make it your home page on the Internet. Put it next to your bed. Put it on the refrigerator. I don't care, just make sure you see it a lot, so much that you don't even think about it anymore.

Step 3: Stop thinking about it. Let it become simply part of the things you see every day. This way, your brain gets accustomed to it.

Vision boards are all about emotion. "Just seeing my vision board for a few seconds in the morning whilst brushing my teeth, I'm immediately reminded of what is really important in my life and how grateful I am for the life that I have already created," states Martyn Anstey. He continues: "It can catch me just as I am about to go to a business meeting, and just seeing one word, one image, completely changes my day."

When making your vision board, focus on images and words that will get this type of reaction; you want your brain to wake up, and realize the way to the things it wants.

Step 4: Live your life, but be aware and be active. Vision boards are not going to do all the heavy lifting for you; they are simply there to help you notice the possibilities that are right there for you, and to realize the potentialities within yourself to reach these goals. Many vision board proponents purport to have completely forgotten about a vision board until much later, realizing that they had attracted into their lives exactly what we were looking for, to an odd specificity. Renee Piane, a certified vision board coach in Los Angeles, has had remarkable successes with her vision board, including finding the husband and the dog of her dreams. As you can see, the resemblances between the vision board versions and the real-life versions that she manifested are uncanny.

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(Source: Renee Piane)

TV and radio talk show host Havilah Malone has always found herself making vision boards unintentionally. "When I was young, I would cut pictures out of magazines that I liked and pasted my face on the picture. I'd keep a folder of these images, which would eventually get stored into a drawer somewhere. At the time, I didn't know I was creating vision boards, but that's exactly what I was doing, constructing the picture of my life I wanted to see." Later in her life, she became inspired by successful leaders, and decided to embrace the power of vision and create her own official vision board. "I gave myself permission to dream REALLY BIG. I created a list called "ALTMY" (Adding Life to My Years). I began searching the world wide web to find pictures of those things and words and phrases that ignited my passion. My list included things like traveling the world, attending Tony Robbins events, launching a talk show and much much more."

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(Source: Havilah Malone)

After her vision board was created, she had a discussion about it with an author she admired. The author recognized the passion in her voice so much that she suggested that Havilah consider writing a book about it. Off of that, Havilah created a mock book cover of what she thought her book may be like in her dreams and clipped it to her bedroom mirror. Time passed, clothes covered her clip. Havilah had recently achieved success with an audio program she was working on, and an interested author approached her about helping her write a book based upon the program. After countless revisions, her book How to Become a Publicity Magnet became #1 best-seller in her category on Amazon, just like in her vision clip of it. "I went over to my mirror and un-clipped the picture and just cried ... So many of my dreams on my vision board have become a reality and there are many more on the way."

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(Source: Havilah Malone)

David Kocna found it helpful to divide each part of his life in a specific vision board of its own. For example, he has one board to exemplify fitness and health goals, shown below. "I kept up the habit of updating my short term vision board, and now I have a 5th or 6th version. Around 90 percent of the things on my past vision board I have manifested, or I change my mind about something that I wanted." He also noticed strange similarities in his vision board to his progressing life. "One funny thing is that the long-term vision board, I have a picture of a woman, 'my future wife,' from a side angle. And years after, I have been dating a woman for a year and a half that looks absolutely the same from the side.

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(Source: David Kocna)

Vision boards can also be helpful in times of financial or emotional difficulty. Lisa Lieberman-Wang lost over million dollars in the stock market in 2002, when WCOM went bankrupt. She had retired early and wasn't working, a half million in debt, and suddenly couldn't pay child support or her mortgage. She created her vision board to focus upon living a stress-free and financially stable life. Now she happily can claim to be debt-free, and enough wealth to support her world travels.

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(Source: Lisa Lieberman-Wang)

There are now classes to take for creating vision boards. The aforementioned vision board coach Renee Piane praises the benefits of creating vision boards in a group, known as "vision board parties." "When we co-create as a group, magic really happens and the participants support each other by swapping photos, ideas, and power-charged words while designing their vision".

Vision boards help make all of the jumbled, abstract feelings in your head into a foreseeable future. If you're skeptical about making a vision board yourself, ask what you really have to lose by trying it. Not really much. But perhaps it makes you more in tune to the repercussions of your choices and how they align with getting what you want.

If you want to know more about creating vision boards, check out the book The Vision Board: the Secret to an Extraordinary Life by Joyce Schwarz.