Creating a vision board

7 Steps For Creating A Vision Board

Making a vision board is both fun and inspirational. Regardless of whether you have made one before or not, you will gain something new from the experience each time you do it! In fact, it’s great to make a new one every year or so… or as you reach the goals you’ve laid out for yourself.

Let’s take a step back for a minute. What exactly are vision boards? They’re essentially creative works of art (don’t let this intimidate you; no prior experience or artistic skill is required!) full of images, quotes, notes, postcards, pictures, and affirmation words.They help you discern and focus on your goals, ponder your future, reflect on the changes you’d like to make, celebrate the success you’ve achieved, and visualize the next steps you’d like to take. After all…

Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world. – Nelson Mandela

Vision board about an active and outdoor lifestyle

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Background – this can be something simple like large poster paper (what TJ and I used) or something sturdier like a piece of wood or a cork board with pins. You could even think outside the box and choose a totally unique medium such as a string of lights or clothespins you attach things to!
  • Scissors & glue (or pins for a cork board!) – glue sticks are preferred as liquid glue can wrinkle your images!
  • Magazines to pull quote and images from (don’t have magazines? Ask your friends or pick some up from a local doctor or dentist’s office, recycling center, or salon).
  • Markers & colorful pens (if you’re writing any goals or quotes by hand).
  • Other items – event tickets, postcards, plane tickets, maps, stickers, and notes from family and friends.
  • A spot – find the perfect place to hang your vision board, preferably somewhere you’ll see it each day. Maybe it’s across from your bed like ours so you see it when you go to bed and right when you wake up. Or, maybe it’s in a home office, in the kitchen, or next to your mirror. If you’re traveling full time maybe set an image of it as your screen saver or place it on the front page of your journal.
  • Time – make your vision board by yourself, with your partner, or even with a group of friends. Either way, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the process and not feel rushed.

I made my first vision board after a semester abroad in Chile. I focused on my re-entry to the US and university life and was amazed at how looking at it everyday propelled me towards achieving my goals. Because of my experience and the overwhelming positivity I got out of the process, I ended up facilitating part of the Return From Abroad Retreat the following year and helped recent study abroaders create their own vision boards. TJ and I  also made a joint vision board a year ago about how we wanted to live our life. The biggest goal on there was “live abroad next year” and now we’re doing it! We’ve quit our jobs, packed our Tortuga Backpacks, and are headed off for a year of adventure and exploration through SE Asia.

Large Vision Board

Creating Your Vision Board

1). Gather Your Supplies & Set The Mood

Creating a vision board is an exercise in self-reflection and setting the stage to allow this to happen is key. Make sure you’re relaxed, set aside plenty of time (maybe a few hours), make sure you’ve eaten (at least if you’re me… I tend to get “hangry”), and play some of your favorite music. Allow yourself to relax and be excited about the process. Gather all your supplies and set up a workstation that makes you happy. Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of room!

2). Focus On How You Want To Feel & What Your Goals Are

This can seem a little daunting at first but the best part is that there is no right or wrong, no judgment, and no messing up so just have fun with it! Do you have specific goals in mind like learning to cook, running your first half marathon, or learning to code? Great! Set some parameters for yourself and think of visuals that would help remind you of these goals and inspire you to achieve them. On the other hand, maybe you don’t have specific goals and are trying to figure it out. That’s great too! Focus on things that make you feel good, qualities you want to have, or things that interest and excite you.

3). Select Your Content

Magazine content for creating a active lifestyle vision boardGo through your supplies and pull out anything that resonates with you. Don’t think too much about it, just use your intuition (you’ll downsize later). Look for things that jump out at you and that make you think “that’s what I want my life to be about”.

If you have specific goals or a theme for your board tear out quotes, words, and images that align with them. If you’re just using this vision boards to get your creative juices flowing each day then just tear out everything that excites you, challenges you, and makes you smile.

Don’t worry about finding the perfect image. After all, this board is for you. For example, if you can’t find the perfect picture of a restaurant on a city street to resemble the restaurant you want to own someday maybe pull out photos of foods you would like to serve, the aesthetic you want to have, and the type of owner you want to be. If you can’t find the exact trail you want to hike to conquer your next fitness goal, then just pull out images of people hiking and living an active lifestyle – you’ll know what all of it means and the most important thing is what the board represents for you and how it makes you feel. Still want to add more? Write some of your goals, quotes, and affirmation words down using colorful markers.

4). Layout Your Collage

Once you’ve pulled everything out (including the photos, quotes, and cards you may want to add) you’ll likely have a large pile. Separate your pile into three sections:

  1. Absolute must haves. These are the things that perfectly align with the goals you have set for yourself and the lifestyle you would like to live.
  2. Things that would be great to have, but maybe aren’t essential to reaching where you want your life to be.
  3. Things that might be great for someone else, but don’t quite align with where you want your vision board to take you.

Place the 3rd pile to the side, you probably won’t use these for your board. Take the 1st pile and begin laying them out in any way you want to. Maybe you want to be thematic and put everything related to exercise in one area, travel in another, and personal development somewhere else. Maybe you just want everything to be sporadic, that’s fine too!

Decide how you want to use your background. Do you want everything to overlap? To be close together? To have space in between your images and words? Decide what speaks to you. Once you’re done with your “absolutes” go through your “maybe” pile. Is there anything in there you feel like you’re missing? If so, add it in! If not, put it to the side, you’re not letting anyone down by doing so. Once you’re done, take a step back and admire your work. If you feel like rearranging go ahead. Otherwise, it’s time to glue (or pin)!

5). Glue or Pin

You’ve done the hard work of getting your board to look just the way you want it to. Now it’s time to lock it all down. If you’re pinning that’s pretty simple – just stick a pin in each & you’re done. If you’re gluing, this will take a bit more time. I suggest starting at one end and working your way to the other. Your items will likely shift a bit as you glue if you’re not careful but that’s ok.

6). Put It Up

Once your glue has dried (if you’re using glue) and all the ends are stuck down it’s time to hang up your vision board! Hang your vision board somewhere you will see it each day so that you have a visual reminder of everything you want to achieve.

Next Steps

Congrats you’re done making your board! As important as finding a great place to hang your vision board is, it’s more important to take the time to look at it every day. I recommend taking a few minutes to look at it when you first wake up, before you go to sleep, or maybe when you’re eating breakfast. Your vision board is complete and now it’s up to you to take action towards your goals. Find out more about visualization & using your vision board here! 

Share this: Let us know if you have any questions in the comments and be sure to share the stories of your adventures with us on Facebook and Instagram (tag @LifeIsMeantForExploring we will see it). 

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