“Finish before you start.” ~ Rhonda Layton
I’ve always been a visionary. I see things very clearly before they happen. Or I find a way to envision my dreams, hopes, and desires all becoming a reality. But I’ve always taken a methodical approach to achieving goals, making dreams a reality, and turning hope into what can be into what is.
My first experience with creating a vision board was about eight years ago before I began my first attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I needed to run a marathon in under 3:45 in order to achieve this goal. It seemed like a lofty goal until I DECIDED what would be my focus for five months of training. I decided to envision the finish. I decided how I would feel. I decided that I would focus on the positives and never allow my thoughts to focus on negative scenarios. I decided to finish before I ever started. I had physical signs and pictures of 3:45 ALL over my house and therefore it was etched on my thoughts daily.
And that is how I create my vision boards. You may choose to do this type of activity at the beginning of the year when you’re exciting about renewal and new goals. Or you may be in a pattern right now where you find yourself feeling stuck, not knowing the the direction you need to move. It may not even be that you’re lacking direction, but perhaps, you may be lacking vision for your life.
Creating a vision board should be a fun process. It’s your opportunity to dream, to throw away any doubts, scrap any naysayers (including yourself), and go back to elementary art class and start creating like a second grader.
I call it playing arts and crafts with God.
How to create a vision board.
1. Start by creating a list without conditions. Where do you live? What does it look like? How does it make you feel? Where is it? Where do you work? Where will you travel? Describe your relationships? Your attitude? Your finances? Your giving? Write freely with NO conditions.
WARNING: Your past behaviors may want to revert to small-minded thinking. You may start to tell yourself you’re not worthy. STOP IT. Dream without conditions. Trust me.
2. Google! Google words and ideas and things that relate to your list. Search images that connect to your list. Save them. All of them. Remember…no conditions. No negative thoughts. No cant’s, what ifs, buts. None of it. Remember…you’re thinking like second grader. Anything is possible.
3. Tie all of these pictures to power words. Positive words that keep you focused. Words that you can repeat when those negative thoughts start to creep in. I choose scripture. Tying my dreams to God’s promises is powerful. You decide what works best for you.
4. Get a bulletin board and decide to hang it in a place that you can see often. That place may be in your office, perhaps your kitchen or a place that will not collect dust, but make sure it’s in a place where you can visually see it as constant reminder as you move to take action over the next year.
5. Cut out all those images and have fun. No conditions. Decide what is most important to you. Not what you think you “should” want to achieve or things you think you “should” want. Now is the time to REALLY focus on what is most important to you. If living in a 750 SF apartment, living in complete bliss in a happy marriage is your dream, put it on that board. Vision is not about material things. It’s about creating a life that is fulfilling. Ground yourself in what’s important FIRST. Then, if you want to drive that Range Rover, get it up there. Honor God first. Take delight in the Lord, He will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalms 37:4) I believe God is a huge fan of Range Rovers.
6. Place all the pictures and words on your board. Make sure you review it daily.
Now that your vision board is complete. The work is up to you. You have to show up. You have to take action every day. Even if you have NO idea how any of this can happen, you have to believe it is all possible. You don’t need to know everything. All you need to do is to take one step every day.
If you want to lose weight and you posted a picture of yourself 10 lbs. lighter, then your action is to make small changes to your diet and to commit to showing up for exercise at least 4 days per week.
If you want to write a book, you have to decide what you want to write about. List out topics, commit to a time you’ll write and JUST start writing. You’ll be surprised what happens when you commit that pen to paper.
If you want to travel, commit to a travel fund. Decide NOW how much money you need to take that amazing trip you’ve always wanted. Make sacrifices in other areas if you are truly committed to making this happen.
Create a vision. Focus on it daily. But let me me be clear. This is ONLY the first step. The rest is up to you, your attitude and your daily consistent actions. Nothing is accomplished without work on your part.
By the way, that marathon? I finished in 3:42. Not just because I focused on that goal, but because I showed up every single day and worked my training plan, refusing to believe anything but a positive outcome.
Finally, even if you don’t accomplish it all, wouldn’t it be worth it to focus on all the things that bring you joy and to act on the behaviors that enable you to move forward in life?
I say, “yes”!