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How To Create a Vision Board and Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

It's a fun, creative way to think about your goals.


Manifestation isn’t a new idea. Though it’s become a popular topic on podcasts and Facebook timelines in recent years, it’s a concept that’s been around for ages. Remember The Secret? The twist on modern manifestation, however, is that it centers on action; specifically, visualizing what you want and imagining yourself achieving it. One of the most popular ways to do this is to create a vision board. 

Odd as it might sound, creating a vision board and looking at it daily helps to expand your belief in what’s possible. By designing your future with intention and mindfulness, you subconsciously raise the ceiling on your dreams. Here’s a primer on vision boards — from what they are and why they work, to how to create one.  

First things first: How do vision boards work?

A vision board (also known as a “dream board”) is a visual collage of images and words that represent your dreams in different areas of your life. Put simply, it’s a physical — or digital — manifestation of your goals. To create your own vision board, you collect images that reflect the future you desire and arrange them in a way that reminds you where your journey is heading. You can construct your vision board solo, with a partner, or even with colleagues at work. 

What is manifestation?

You’ve likely heard that a vision board can be a powerful manifestation tool, but what exactly does manifestation mean? In short, manifestation uses affirmations to bring something you want into existence through goal-setting and aspirational practice. Despite gaining popularity on social media in recent years, manifestation and the law of attraction are nothing new. In fact, these concepts have roots in the 19th-century New Thought spiritual movement, which held that thoughts influence the physical world and positive thinking creates the ideal life. This idea of manifesting your reality through thought — or “The Secret” — can also be traced back to ancient spiritual teachings on the unity of the mind, body, and universe. 

What are the benefits of using a vision board?

A vision board is a fantastic manifestation tool to visualize your life goals, from short-term aspirations to long-term goals. Here are additional benefits of using a vision board to achieve greater well-being.

It sets intentions.

If there’s one thing that every entrepreneur, athlete, and rock star will tell you, it’s that success starts with intention. No matter what you want to accomplish, it cannot be achieved without first setting the intention to achieve it. Think about it this way: Everything starts as a simple idea floating around in the mind. What separates an idea from an achievement is intention. People who manifest their intentions are able to transform an idea into a physical reality. 

The same principle applies to what you want to achieve in your life. The first step in setting goals is establishing the intention behind them. Where, for example, do you want your goals to lead? What will achieving them look and feel like in your day-to-day life? How can you break your big goals down into smaller, incremental goals that ladder up to your larger life goals? All of these questions speak to intention. 

So, what does a vision board have to do with all of this? Having a vision board helps you establish your intention. In other words, it’s a powerful tool to keep your eyes on the prize: your dream life.  

It improves creativity.

A vision board idea is a bit like a visual wish list or goal board. Be creative, be true to yourself, and gather ideas that are appealing to you. What gets you excited? No one needs to see what you come up with — unless, of course, you want them to see it. Arts and crafts aren’t reserved for little kids. Dive into your creativity and enjoy the experience of collecting, curating, and making something — you’ll likely find it cathartic. 

It clarifies your dreams.

When you’re not totally sure about what you want, your mind can’t simulate strategies to achieve your dreams. Fortunately, jotting something down on paper and poster board via a physical vision board (or using a platform like Canva to create a digital vision board) can help bring greater awareness of your hopes, goals, and dreams. When you’re clear about what you want to accomplish, establishing a game plan that yields results is much easier.

It boosts your motivation.

Self-care can be a challenge. Who has the time? And isn’t it selfish? (The answers, to be clear, are: you and no.) For days when you need a little motivational cheerleading, a look at your vision board is just the thing… no pom poms required.

It provides focus.

Distractions are a 24/7 feature of modern life. Text messages, mobile games, online shopping — all of them stymie the pursuit of our goals. Enter: vision boards. These effective DIY manifestation tools laser focus your intentions. As a visual representation of your dreams, your vision board helps to steer you in the direction of your dreams.

It’s backed by science. 

In a recent study, researchers asked more than 1,100 individuals and 500 small business owners about their visualization practices. Results showed that over 80 percent of participants who used a vision board had accomplished more than half of the goals depicted on their board at the time of the survey. This research demonstrates the power of imagery and how visualization creates confidence. 

What are the steps for creating a vision board?

Creating a vision board can be fun, relaxing, and easy. Not sure where to start? Follow the simple steps below.

Step 1: Gather your materials

To make your own vision board, you’re going to need a few things.

  • A corkboard or poster board for your base
  • Images, words, or objects that resonate with you and your goals that can be placed on your board (think: magazine clippings, old books, artworks, photos, quotes, etc.)
  • Glue sticks for gluing the board together 
  • Scissors to cut out sections of paper
  • Paper and pen
  • Art supplies (think: paint, glitter, markers, stickers, sequins, etc.) 

The key here is to find items that inspire you and represent things you want to manifest into your life — a dream house, money, a partner, or whatever else you desire.

Step 2: Think about your goals 

For your vision board, you can focus on long-term or short-term goals, or you can mix it up. Even if your dreams feel out of reach right now, there’s power in seeing them every day over an extended period of time. Think about what you really want in life, ensuring not to rush this step. After all, it’s the foundation for your vision board. You’ll discover that you can get even more clarity on your hopes, goals, and dreams as you create your board. 

Step 3: Start arranging

This is the fun part. Start arranging and rearranging your vision board with the images, words, and objects you’ve gathered. Move things around until you feel inspired by your board. Refrain from gluing things down until you have your layout established. Of course, the most important thing is to set your inner child free; have fun with the designing process and take your time with it. 

Step 4: Find a place for your board

Once you’ve put your components in place, it’s time to find a home for your vision board. This should be a location where you’ll see it often. Consider the following:

  • your nightstand
  • an altar
  • on your desk
  • the fridge
  • a mirror
  • an empty wall in your kitchen or living room

Pro Tip: Don’t have any free space to display your vision board? Take a photo of it with your phone and use the digital version as wallpaper on your computer or tablet.  

The Last Look

Whether you’re dreaming of winning the lotto or on a mission to become a superstar, a physical or online vision board is an excellent manifestation tool for achieving goals this year, next year, and beyond. Just keep in mind that it can’t be a “set and forget” situation — this is a process that you’ll need to reevaluate and adapt as your hopes, goals, and dreams change. In other words, working with your vision board should be an integral part of your life. So dream big, have fun, and start creating!

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