How to Make a Vision Board and Smash Goals

Esther Hannan-Moon

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Well, hello there! You must be looking for a new angle, a new avenue, a new way to climb that mountain of obstacles and power smash your dreams into reality. Shall we dive straight in, then? Because achieving your dreams waits for no one but you.

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There are many ways to go about working on yourself: lists, networking, daydreaming, and of course, the tried and true vision board. Just this year, I managed to check off almost all of my goals on my vision board, in some capacity, except for one — but who needs to graduate from a learner driver, anyway? Public transport is cheaper than petrol! And if I could do this during 2020, of all years, then you’re going to be in a much better position for success!

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Let me break it down for you so we can all start 2021 with a bang — so we can push ourselves, go beyond what we thought we could achieve, climb to the top of the productivity ladder. I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda tired of doing the bare minimum and not seeing results. So, let’s fight to make some personal progress!

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Materials:

1 cork board

A box of pins, or something else that will work to hold down your images. Make sure that it is removable so you can reuse the cork board again next year.

Scissors

Access to a printer (UTS has plenty if you don’t have one at home)

Good ol’ Google Images

Laptop/computer.

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Step 1: Realistic Goals

So, what do you want to achieve? An easy enough question you may think, but hold up my friend, this is in fact a loaded question. I recommend firstly picking a time frame, roughly between one to two years. A timeframe gives you a definite finish line, frames your goals, and helps to visualise them as achievable. Anything shorter than a year might feel too constricting, but anything longer can seem so far off.

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Now that you’ve decided on a time frame, let’s move on to your actual goals. It’s all good to have ambition — in fact, it’s going to be crucial in life and making a vision board, but we need to contain it to a manageable size for this exercise. Ask yourself what can you realistically accomplish in a year? Figure out what the first step is to reach the finish line. If you want to start a company, then maybe something you could do this year would be attending seminars (webinars these days) that will help inform you or make an industry connection — put yourself out there!  A simple email goes a long way! Start to list what you want, and don’t limit it to career! Include goals for all aspects of your life. If you only focus on your career, then you’re subconsciously telling your brain you can only succeed in your career. Don’t forget about relationships, hobbies, and personal goals. Be inclusive and realistic. But, in saying that, you can add a visual image of your ultimate dream to the board too, just to keep your brain on track.

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Step Two: The Fun Part — AKA Image Gathering

So, on to the part we’ve all been waiting for — Google Images! Yay! But first, a few tips. When considering your newly written list of dreams, try and find an image for each one that is clear and precise to what you want to achieve. Having vague images leads to vague visualisations and plans that will fall through. If you want to save up money for that year, then instead of finding an image of a $100 note, calculate, roughly, how much you want to save. Say realistically you’ll probably save $6,000 at the end of the year, boost it to $10,000, find an image of that number, and bam! There’s your visualisation for your savings!

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I upped the price because we are trying to push ourselves here, but it still should feel realistic. Really take a moment to collect these images and compare them with your list of hopes and dreams. It’s my dream to get into the publishing industry, so rather than have a picture of a book, I collected the names and logos of some of the top publishing houses and pinned them on. Now I’m writing reviews for Penguin Random House and Hachette. If you’re going to use a quote, keep it short. If your brain can’t read it at a glance, then it’s too long — so make those few words count.

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Being concise and varied is key. Gather multiple images for the same dream — you can pick and choose what you’ll use! Print out all your images, and get cracking on the next step.

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Step Three: Construction

Hit play on your favourite jam and flick the switch on your design brain — it’s time to put it all together. Get out your handy scissors, cork board, and pins ready. Cut out each of your printed images and lay them out so you can see them all. If you want, you can organise them into groups like career, family, relationships — they’re all going on the same board. Now fiddle around with the images until you have an arrangement that pleases you. If you have something that is the centerpiece of your goals, I recommend you put this image in the middle to draw your eye.

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Step Four: Visualise!

You know what you want, you’ve got beautiful images to match it, and you’ve constructed your board! Now what? Now, it’s time to put in the real work, my friend! Place your vision board somewhere that you’ll look at each day. A desk, near a door, kitchen, anywhere you pass by often. That way, every time you do wander past, your brain will have a moment to take in all the information you’ve gathered and file it away. Glancing at your vision board enough should start to kick you into gear to want to work on some of those goals. But don’t stop there: take a moment every once and awhile to properly visualise achieving these goals or how you’re going to do it. If it’s setting up that company, visualise sitting down at your laptop and sending an email to a member of the industry or having a chat on the phone.

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It won’t take much, but visualising yourself acting on the goal and then achieving it streamlines the process in your brain, frames it as achievable, realistic, and something you’re actively wanting to do. Give it time: you’re not going to check off everything in the first few months. I only recently (and accidentally) reached one of mine, but in saying that, I had taken active steps to get it. It didn’t fall out of nowhere, I put in the effort and it may not be the finished product of my dreams, but it’s still a great success and drives me to do more!

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I wish you luck on your pursuit for happiness and smashing your dreams. Keep pushing, don’t give up the fight: now is the time to get up and move! Change starts with you. You’ve got this, don’t be afraid to go an extra mile — just make sure you know it’s within your power to do so. Eventually all those extra miles, even if it’s one per year, will amount to you crossing over that finish line, turning to look back, and going, “Wow, that was a lot of work, but thank god I did it!”