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Vision Boards – The Ultimate Guide to Creating and Living Your Dream Life

vision boards

A vision board is also known as a dream board. It is a widely popularized idea of creating pictures of what you want to achieve in life and make them into a board so that you can visualize and manifest the things that you want.

I first learned about the idea of a vision board from John Assaraf, a personal development guru who has been featured in the ground-breaking book, The Secret.

John has been one of my favorite gurus ever since and I have bought a few of his books and courses.

If you have never heard about John and his vision boards story, here it is. It is an interesting and inspirational story. John’s story was also covered in The Success Principles, written by Jack Canfield.

In 1995 John Assaraf created a vision board and put it up on the wall in his home office. Whenever he saw a materialistic thing he wanted or a trip he wanted to take, he’d get a photo of it and glue it to the board. Then he’d see himself already enjoying the object of his desire.

In May 2000, having just moved into his new home in Southern California a few weeks earlier, he was sitting in his office at 7:30 AM when his 5-year-old son Keenan came in and sat on a couple of boxes that had been in storage 4 years. Keenan asked his father what was in the boxes. When John told him his vision boards were in the boxes, Keenan replied, “Your vision whats?”

John opened one of the boxes to show Keenan a vision board. John smiled as he looked at the first board and saw pictures of a Mercedes sports car, a watch, and some other items, all of which he had acquired by then.

But as he pulled out the second board, he began to cry. On that board was a picture of the house he had just bought and was living in! Not a house like it but the house! The 7,000-square-foot house that sits on 6 acres of spectacular views, with a 3,000-square-foot guest house and office complex, a tennis court, and 320 orange trees—that very home was a home he had seen in a picture that he had cut out of Dream Homes magazine 4 years earlier!

John assaraf quote

Vision board is one of the most powerful methods that can help you materialize your dreams and bring what you want into the real world.

After John Assaraf’s story has been widespread, John wrote a book and shared his idea about how to create a vision board, he called it, The Complete Vision Board Kit: Using the Power of Intention and Visualization to Achieve Your Dreams.

The Complete Vision Board Kit by John Assaraf is not only a book, but it comes with a big piece of poster-like paper where you can paste your dream pictures and make it as your vision board.

The booklet explains everything you need to know about creating a vision board and John also shares the simple step-by-step method where you can make a vision board that really works. You can get The Complete Vision Board Kit from Amazon.

What is a Vision Board?

So what exactly is a vision board? A vision board is a tool that you can use to help clarify, remind, and maintain your focus on what you want to accomplish in life.

To put it in a simple term, it is a board of pictures whereby the pictures are the things that you want to achieve, be it in life, business, or at work. It is like a poster with many pictures of the things that you want to be, do, and have.

The main function of a vision board is that it reminds you and helps you in visualizing what you want to achieve.

We all go through our daily life busy and with lots of distractions. The majority fails to achieve their goals because they lack the consistency and they fail to maintain their motivation to go through each day until they reach their goals.

And with a vision board, it helps you clarify what you want out of life, and then it reinforces what you want into your subconscious mind through visualization. Whenever you see the pictures of the things that you want to achieve, you remind yourself of your goals, and thus, this sends a signal to your subconscious mind telling it that this is something that you desire to reach.

visualization quote

Besides that, a vision board also helps in maintaining your focus and attention.

This is why vision boards are such a powerful tool that is highly recommended by many personal development gurus.

“Your brain will work tirelessly to achieve the statements you give your subconscious mind. And when those statements are the affirmations and images of your goals, you are destined to achieve them!”
– Jack Canfield

Why Do You Need a Vision Board?

Do you really need a vision board? Well, the answer is up to you, but I do strongly recommend you create one.

If a vision board can help you achieve your goals and greatly increase your chances of success, why not just do it?

Years ago, I created my first vision board. I put up some pictures of the things that I wanted to achieve in my life, including bringing my mother to visit China and to see the Great Wall (It was one of her dreams).

Not only that, I also put in a picture of a property that I wanted to buy for investment.

Years later, I discovered that most of my dreams came true. I did bring my mother to China and she did manage to experience the Great Wall and get to the top of it in Badaling, Beijing.

And guess what, I have also bought my first investment property, in fact, I owned a few properties for investment right now.

When I look back, I’m not sure if it is the vision board that has worked its magic or just coincidence, but somehow, my dreams did come true.

Therefore, my suggestion is that if you are unsure whether you should create a vision board for what you want, I’d say just do it.

The more you see the pictures of what you want to achieve and the more you remind yourself about them, the more likely you are going to put in the action and achieve them, as simple as that.

So create your vision board today. Read on to find out how you can do so.

Why Vision Boards Work?

There was a study done by Dr. Blaslotto from the University of Chicago where he split a team of basketball players into 3 different groups and tested on their free throwing score.

The first group practiced free throws for an hour every day.

The second group did not go through any physical training, but the players in this group were asked to visualize themselves making and practicing the free throws.

The third group was the control group where they did nothing at all.

After 30 days, Dr. Blaslotto tested the free throw scores on all 3 groups. And here’s the shocking result:

  • The first group improved their accuracy by 24%.
  • The third group did nothing, hence, there was no improvement seen, which was expected.
  • The second group who trained by visualization had an improved by 23%.

Surprise? The second group did not touch the ball at all, the players only visualize themselves training and practicing their free throws, yet, their accuracy improved almost the same like the first group who went through the real practice did.

walt disney quote

This is the power of visualization and how it can impact our lives.

And when you use a vision board to visualize what you want, your mind cannot differentiate between what is real and what is being imagined.

Thus, your mind makes your thoughts real. And it brings the picture that you see in your head comes true into your real, physical life.

Imagine you walk to your kitchen, open the fridge, and take out a big yellow lemon. Feel the coarse texture of the lemon and vividly visualize that you take the knife and cut the big yellow lemon in half. Now, take half of the lemon, and then squeeze it and let the lemon juice ooze and drip into your mouth.

Now, do you have more saliva in your mouth? If you visualize this vividly with your mind, I’m sure you will have more saliva in your mouth.

Although it is just your imagination, your mind makes it real.

This is why when you visualize the things that you want to accomplish on your vision boards, your mind will make it real. It will find ways to connect you with what you imagine.

If you are still doubtful about visualization, read this article from PsychologyToday:

Seeing Is Believing: The Power of Visualization

Jack Nicklaus was once the most recognized name in the golfing industry. He had unrivaled talent in the golf course and the amazing results he achieved in his career as a golfer was phenomenal. And Jack Nicklaus once said:

“I never hit a shot, even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a color movie. First I ‘see’ the ball where I want it to finish, nice and high and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”

My friend, vision board works because it triggers and remind you of what you want to accomplish in your life, and it also helps you easily visualize the things that you want through the pictures that you collected.

How to Create a Vision Board?

Now that you know vision boards are powerful, but how do you create them? Well, the process is very easy, really.

Here are the 5 simple steps you can follow to create your vision board. You don’t really have to follow the exact steps I mentioned here. They are just guidelines.

You can create your own vision boards in any way you want. Just be creative and enjoy the process.

1. Identify your mental pictures

The first thing you need to do is to brainstorm and identify your mental images. In other words, you must find out what you want in life.

If you have no idea what you want to be, do or have in life, how are you suppose to find pictures and images for your vision board, right?

Well, you don’t have to be exact here. You just need to have a rough idea of what you want in your life.

For instance, you want to build a successful online business, but you have no idea what kind of online business you want to venture into. It is alright, just have the rough idea and find the relevant images that speak to you and include them in your vision board.

Of course, the more clarity you have about what you want to accomplish, the better. This is because when you know exactly what you want, you are able to create vivid pictures and visualize yourself achieving the goal in detail.

For this step, you can also choose to write down all the things that you want to be, do, and have in life.

Spend some time in this step and brainstorm to come up with the idea for your ideal life. Here are some questions that can help you.

  • What car do you want to drive?
  • How much do you want to make annually?
  • What business do you want to venture into?
  • Which country do you want to visit? What monuments or travel hotspot do you want to visit? The Eiffel Tower in Paris? Hawaii? The Great Wall of China?
  • How does your dream house look like? Does it comes with a swimming pool? How many rooms are there?
  • How much do you want to contribute and donate to needy? Or do you have the intention to help out in your local charity organization?
  • What are the things that you want to enjoy together with your family and lover?

These are just some questions to help spark your creativity. You can have as many things and goals you want.

So dream big and live big, the Universe is listening.

2. Transform your mental pictures into physical images

Once you have identified what you want out of your life, the next step to take is to transform your mental images into real, physical images.

This is where things are going to be fun, but it is going to take a little time.

What you need to do here is to find out all the relevant pictures that can represent your dreams and goals, or images that speak to you or connect you with your dreams.

You can search for the related images from Google, Pinterest, or even cut out from magazines. The key is to find relevant pictures that can relate to your dreams.

Whenever you see the pictures, you are able to understand what they mean to you and your goals.

You don’t need to use only pictures, numbers, symbols, words, or whatever images that you find are able to represent what you want are good choices as well.

And remember, the more emotionally charged the picture to you, the better.

For example, if one of your goals is to visit the Eiffel Tower, just the picture that shows the Eiffel Tower may not be as emotionally charged as where a picture showing the tower with you inside (you can cut out a picture of yourself and put yourself in there).

3. Create your vision board

Now that you have all the pictures with you, what you need to do next is to create your vision board.

You can categorize your vision boards with themes. For example, you can create one for just your career and business, and another one for your personal goals.

If you are someone who loves travel, maybe you can create one vision board specifically for all the beautiful and scenic locations that you want to visit.

Whether you design your vision board and make it using PowerPoint or any other means is alright. You can also use the old school method where you cut or print out the pictures and then paste them onto the board.

As for the board, you can buy a bigger cardboard in A3 size. You can create a few smaller vision boards in A4 size or you can put in everything altogether.

There is no one or right way to do this. There is only your way because this is your dream.

However, just make sure you treat your dreams and the boards seriously. Have some commitment because if you don’t, it somehow shows that what you want may not be important to you.

I believe that if you can spend weeks and months planning a vacation and holiday, you should be able to spend a few hours creating your dream life, right?

If you have no idea how to do this, don’t worry, continue to read on because I have shared some vision board examples so that you have an idea of how you can make yours.

4. Display and present your vision boards

Once you have your vision boards ready, the following step is to display your board.

You don’t have to worry about if your vision board is not nice or beautiful, nor do you have to compare your dreams with others.

This is your life and you should just focus on what you want and how you want to live your life.

The display of your vision board is where most people ignore. After they created their vision board, they keep it somewhere they can’t see often.

You have to understand the purpose of your vision board is to trigger and remind you of your dreams. And if you keep it somewhere you can’t see, you defeat the real purpose of your vision board.

If you are afraid that others may laugh and think that what you do is awkward, display your vision board somewhere personal, like your bedroom, your personal office space, or even your wardrobe, so that every time when you change your clothes, you can see your vision board as you open your wardrobe.

The display of your vision plays an important role in materializing your dreams.

Things take time to manifest. Success will not come to you overnight. And hence, you have to display your vision board somewhere you can see often, so that you can visualize the achievement of your goals and dreams.

Remember, whatever that is out of your sight will be out of your mind.

Furthermore, things are not going to happen immediately. And so you need to condition the idea of living your dreams into your subconscious mind.

This is why you have to repeatedly see yourself and visualize yourself as being successful.

5. Visualization and affirmation

This step is where most people miss out and they don’t follow through. You have to understand that creating vision boards is one thing, but doing the daily review, visualization, and affirmations is another thing.

Most people make their vision boards, but then that’s it. They don’t practice visualization and they don’t do any affirmation.

If you don’t see yourself achieving all the things on your dream board, you are not sending the message to your subconscious that those are the things that you desire to have in life.

And then they wonder why their vision boards are not working and they are not living their dreams, yet.

Thus, make sure you spend time each day reviewing your visions. Visualize that you are already living the life that you want according to the pictures on your board.

See yourself as having achieved all your goals and you are living the happy, satisfy, and a great life.

You have to make your subconscious believes that you are already there, so that your subconscious will find ways to close the gap between your reality and your imagination.

The best time to do visualization is each morning before you get to work and each night before you sleep.

You want to kick-start your day with motivation and drive by thinking about all the great things that you are going to materialize in your life.

And you want to end your day with these exciting thoughts so that your subconscious mind can work on it even when you sleep.

So don’t just create your vision board, practice visualization, and affirmation. Do a daily review and see yourself as you are already there.

When you believe that you can do it and that you are already there, you will think and act differently. Your actions will follow suit and you will subconsciously get to where you want to go.

The Examples of Vision Boards

If you have no idea how your vision board should look like, don’t worry, I’m going to share with you some examples shortly.

One thing you have to understand is that you really don’t have to follow or copy or model someone else’s vision board.

This is your life and this is your vision. You should make one that resonates with you.

Of course, you can still get some ideas from others, but when it comes to creating your own vision board, it is best to use pictures that resonate and able to emotionally connect with you.

Here are some vision board examples. You can find a lot of these from Pinterest. Of course, I’m giving credit to the person who shares it. You can also check out their website under the vision board.

Jillian Walker vision board

This is a vision board from Jillian Walker. Check out her website here.

jack canfield vision board

This is an example of the vision board from the personal development guru, Jack Canfield. Check his article about the vision board here. I like Jack Canfield’s vision board a lot. It looks neat and well-organized. I’m an organized person, by the way. 🙂

100things2do vision board

This is a vision board from Shelly, a mom, wife, daughter sister and overall class-clown. Check out her website, 100Thing2Do.

sarah rudell vision board

Here is another example from Sarah Rudell Beach, you can check out her website at LeftBrainBuddha.com.

morningcoffee with dee

Here is another cool vision board from Deanna. Her website, MorningCoffeeWithDee.com also explains the process for creating vision boards. You may want to check it out.

artful parent vision board

This is a huge vision board. And yes, it is better to have your vision board in front of your workstation so that you can see it all the time. This example is from ArtfulParent.com.

amy tinnin vision board

Here is another neat vision board from Amy Tinnin of ACupFullofSass.com. Check it out.

a rare kind of faith

Another good idea how you can make your vision board looks neat and nice. This is an example from ARareKindofFaith.com.

Some of the vision boards above may inspire you, some may not. Some pictures charged you, while some do not make any sense to you. This is normal because you don’t understand what the picture means.

This is why you have to find your own pictures and make your own vision board.

A picture of a fit and macho man may not speak to you, but it can speak and connect to someone who really desires for that body.

Thus, have fun in creating your vision board.

Tips to Making Your Vision Boards

By now, you should understand how a vision board works and how you can create one. If you are still confused, don’t worry, here are some tips to help.

  1. You can make your vision boards with things that you want to be, do, and have. Or start with your goals.
  2. Find pictures that can represent your goals or symbolize the future and ideal life that you desire.
  3. The best pictures are those that emotionally connect to you. So that every time when you see the pictures, you are emotionally charged.
  4. You can have a few vision boards and categorized them into themes. For example, a vision board for career and business, one for personal achievement, and another for travel.
  5. Include words, affirmations, and quotes too.
  6. Display your vision board somewhere you can see often.
  7. Review, visualize and use affirmation to internalize your goals and dreams each morning before you go to work.
  8. Every time when you look at your vision board, feel the excitement and have gratitude as you are beginning to manifest your dreams.
  9. You can create a new or edit your vision board each year or every 6 months.
  10. Believe that you are able to achieve your goals and dreams and see yourself as you are already there.
  11. The key is to feel good about what you want to accomplish. So don’t just look at the pictures on the board, feel them.
  12. Acknowledge and celebrate your effort and all the goals that you accomplished.
  13. More importantly, have fun, enjoy the process, and do not give up because the Universe will always fulfill your desire or give you something even better.

Here’s the most important tip of all:

Make sure you take action and do it. Don’t just read this article and then imagine yourself creating or having a vision board but you don’t really do it.

Take action right away. Your action will show the Universe that you are committed and serious about what you desire to achieve in your life.

If you need a bigger cardboard, go to your local bookstore and buy one right now. Find all the relevant pictures, print them out and put them on your vision board.

Do this right now.

We are talking about living, creating, reinventing, and designing your dream life. What can be more important than this?

Watching TV can wait. Playing games can wait. Facebook can wait.

This is your best opportunity to do it right now.

If you don’t have a vision board, please, take the initiative and create one now.

If you already have your vision board, review it and see where you can improve it. Make sure the pictures can supercharge you. And more importantly, display your vision somewhere you can see often.

And finally, don’t forget to practice visualization and affirmation each day. See yourself as you are already living your dreams. Believe in it, and somehow, it will come true.

This is the power of the vision boards.

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About Shawn Lim

I'm a blogger, writer, and also an internet entrepreneur. If you want to learn more about me, kindly go to the About page. By the way, have you downloaded your FREE copy of Active Goal Setting? Don't forget to do so. :)

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