The truth about vision boards: 8 things you need to know before starting one

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Yesterday I hung my vision board back up on the wall above my desk.

As I was looking at it and reflecting on the past year’s progress, I couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of pride and joy. When I first decided to make a vision board, I didn’t quite know what to expect.

But I’m so glad I decided to try, and I thought I would write a post on the topic.

1. Do vision boards actually work?

Vision boards do work.

I know this because I, myself, have experienced it first hand. But they don’t work in the way you think. It’s not just about looking at a board (or maybe yes, a little) and wait for some ‘manifesting voodoo magic’ to happen, but rather it’s about the work you must do before making the board.

And it can be a lot of work.

2. It’s not about the board, it’s about the process of making the board

If you are considering making a vision board, I think it’s safe to assume that either a) you are not happy with where you are in your life right now, or b) you don’t know where to go next and are trying to figure it out.

I was in the second category. Well, I was in both categories, but on top of that, I had no idea what I liked or what I wanted.

So, when I was told to put all the things ‘I want’ on a board, that was not helping me at all. But in a way, I still knew I needed to define a clearer vision of the things I wanted so that I could finally stop wandering around life. No way was I spending another 10 years like that. No. Way.

Vision Borad_work
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

If you are looking for a pretext to make a cute collage with all the things you love, you might find it easy to make a vision board.  

But in my case, it took me about 3-4 months of active research, both within and out, before I was able to create an outline of a vision board. By then, my vision board barely had 3 or 4 things on it and had lots of empty spaces.

It was hard. I had to deconstruct my beliefs, identify what was stopping me, remove emotional blockages, exercise a lot, read a lot, try new things, awaken my curiosity, rediscover my creative side, explore new venues outside my comfort zone, etc.

It was a process.

But you know what? Things are so much clearer now I don’t even recognize myself. It was all worth it. I attained almost everything on my (first draft of a) board within 6 months.

3. You may need guidance

Creating a vision board is about figuring out what you want.

But I had been asking myself those same questions long before starting a vision board. Things like: what do I want? What am I good at? Where do I want to go? For years! I just never got anywhere. Because I had no guidance. I was just wandering around, in my head and in my life, hitting walls.

That is until I came across the right resources, the right books, advice, people, or “experts” (thank you YouTube and Audible).

As soon as I found the right mentors, made it clear in my mind that my priority was to figure out what I was expecting from life and what I wanted to give back, and took the time to express it in the form of a vision board, I got there.

A few books and resources that helped:

  • The Answer by John Assaraf and Murray Smith (+ J. Assaraf’s YouTube channel)
  • The Proctor Gallagher Institute (YouTube channel, Free online resources, and seminars, Bob Proctor’s books).

* Please note that just because I mention a resource here does not mean that I agree with everything these people say. I use my judgment and so should you! In most situations, you should take what helps, learn from it, and leave out the rest.  

4. I had to remove the vision board at some point…

Seeing my vision board every day eventually began to create more damage than good. I’m glad I understood that quickly and acted on it.

It’s as if every day it was showing me where I was not, what I didn’t have. It stopped me from focusing on what was happening right now, on gratitude, on living the present day as if it were the most perfect day.

Sometimes you have to stop obsessing over the end goal and simply look at the path in front of you; let go of the outcome.

So, keep your vision board for as long as you want, but if you need to take it away for a few days, weeks, or months, do it. As I said, it’s not about the board, it’s about what you did before making the board.

5. … And yet, I was still moving towards my goals

Because I had done the work (as taught in The Answer), had carefully thought it through, wrote it down, touched it, felt it, looked at it, etc.

It had become almost engraved in my mind. As if it was now a part of me.

So even when I stopped having it under my eyes, I still kept moving towards these goals.  

6. A vision board can work pretty quickly, but don’t expect it to

As mentioned, I had been asking myself those same questions for years without seeing any results.

And yet, once I did things right, I attained most things on my vision board, within 6 months! Even things I was not sure I could achieve.

It’s as if, once you start heading towards what your heart truly desires, the path becomes clearer and you grow more and more determined. Whereas when you keep going against your true instincts (like most of us do in life), everything is a pain: you hate life, everything is a drag, you doubt yourself, etc.

7. It’s okay if your vision board looks empty at first

By Photoguns on Canva

My first attempt at a vision board had lots of empty space. I was even embarrassed by it. As if, even my dreams were somehow mediocre.

I even tried to put things there just to fill it up.

But I didn’t. I truly wanted to find out what it was that I really, really wanted, and if that meant only one thing, then it would be only one thing.

Do you know what that one thing was?

Friends. Good friends.

Related post: How do you build more meaningful relationships?

Later, other things started to emerge, and slowly I began to fill my vision board. But it was still pretty empty.

You know those vision boards you see on Pinterest, I think they are a lie and only make you feel like crap.

8. Vision boards evolve, just like you do

The things I put on my vision board in the beginning, are still on it and they still matter. But I’m figuring out more and more what I want next and I sometimes add new things. But I am still focusing on maintaining what I have gained and achieved.

It’s a process and a balance.

Eventually, I may have to make a new vision board.

Final thoughts

Vision boards are not just about making a nice collage and looking for Instagram worthy pictures. And they are definitely not some mystical manifesting voodoo magic. They are tools that can serve as fantastic levers for change.

Making one is about facing yourself and engaging in a deep reflection about what your heart and soul truly desire. The board’s job is then to keep your eyes on the ball, imprint, and keep you focused despite distractions because, in this day and age, EVERYTHING is there to distract you.

But they can also hinder your progress. So in the end, it’s all about listening to yourself.

Have you started your vision board? What’s stopping you?

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About Steph

I am a personal growth/self-management enthusiast. I was able to completely transform my life using everything I share here. I hope this blog helps you transform yours as well.
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