We aim to do a vision board every year around the end of January. Usually it is on my radar and I wait until I can feel that winter lethargy has started to let go and a bit of spring energy starts creeping back in. Every year I am amazed at how the act of creating a vision board fills me with energy and pushes forward a renewed sense of purpose. It is also always an easier and more fulfilling exercise than I imagine it will be.
Before getting into the details of creating a vision board, here is a picture of our board from last year. Every year I am amazed - and some years astonished, at how relevant, and how closely what is described on the board translates into our life. Last year's board is no exception. In fact, when I see "health, love, and safety" right in the centre and I think of everything 2020 brought (this board was completed in Jan 2020 pre-pandemic), I am struck by how completely relevant our wishes remained throughout the year. Also, how absolutely grateful we are that it aligned with the year's outcome.
A vision board can be a very private activity. It is usually close to the heart and truthful regarding personal hopes and aspirations for the upcoming year. Regarding our vision board, I am happy to share, because I feel it so closely illustrates the power of creation and keeping a vision close in heart and mind throughout the year. It also articulates our values and is at the heart of Nurturing Through Nature as we believe and strive to live.
Our Vision Board 2020:
Three key things stand out when looking at this photo:
How relevant the "Core Values" became and remained throughout the year
How everything listed remained accessible, and more importantly, critical to maintaining health - both mentally and physically, both despite and because of imposed pandemic restrictions
How absolutely 100% aligned our year turned out in terms of the priorities, activities, and experiences
Note: Can you tell this one was posted beside the shower in the bathroom?!?
Specific examples of how this actualized in our lives last year:
We planned and started a garden and outdoor play space where we shared many evenings outside with family and friends enjoying organic, local, nourishing food - some of which we grew
We became deeply engaged in the community and made many close friends through both activities at our community centre, as well as through intentionally getting to know and engage with our neighbours
We spent many hours outdoors discovering and exploring the absolute wealth of parks and natural land within short driving distance of our home
We were active in fundraising for the community through the Run for Women and walked over 100km outdoors, raising over $3,500 in support of women's mental health
Creating memories and intentionally reaching out in whatever way possible to family and friends became and remained our top priority along with our core values of health, safety, and love throughout the year - and were never more resonant
Inspiring, educating, and creating were things that space and time opened and gave room for - a theme we hope to build on and grow this coming year
The outcome of very close (if not completely aligned) vision boards with reality is not a new experience. Looking back through previous boards, it is sometimes eerie how closely they align by the end of the year. The year my husband and I were married, he saw my board after moving in together and remarked that he "never had a chance - it was all planned out to begin with!" I couldn't argue (even though I had created the board before we met that year)!
This year, we did something a bit different and both kids (3 years and 15 months) created a board at the same time as our family board. In previous years, my son has done some art at the same time as well, but this year he was able to understand more and included his intention. After a creative morning, this is where we landed:
In years past, my and our boards have been composed of words, magazine clippings, drawings, and colours. Every year is different and every year, I start with what feels right to put on paper and build from there. This year includes more visual representation and some words. It also includes colours and input from both kids. It is my favourite board yet - vibrant, busy, nature-themed, and full of love - exactly what we hope 2021 will bring!
If you are interested in creating a vision board and not sure where to start, please see our overview below. This will be available on the site for download if you want to keep it as a prompt for future years.
Wishing you and your family many wonders and goodness in 2021!
Vision Boarding Exercise
There are four key elements to achieving positive change through vision boarding:
Determine areas of focus
Outline a compelling vision of success for each area
Set clear and realistic goals to achieve success
Keep the vision and goals in sight (literally keep the vision board where it is seen daily throughout the year)
1. Determine Areas of Focus:
Clearly defined areas of focus help to direct daily energy into activities aligned with priority values. The powerful element of this, is that energy is aligned both consciously and unconsciously towards making a vision reality once a vision is created (you don’t have to always work at it!). Therefore, the first step in vision planning is to clearly define areas of focus for the year. Focus areas may include those that currently have low satisfaction and could improve, or those that are currently strong that you want to remain a high priority.
Some examples of focus areas:
Specific relationships (e.g., marriage, parenting)
2. Outline a compelling vision of success for each area
Create space on the vision board for each area of focus. The clearer the vision (i.e., what do you see, hear, smell, feel, think, and do in the successful vision for each area), the stronger the alignment of daily energy and therefore realization. Use colours, words, and/or images that bring the vision of success to life in each area. For example, for the chosen focus area “family”, the related vision board section might have “Family” written out in colourful letters surrounded by pictures showing scenes you would like your family to participate in (e.g., eating dinner together), or words that resonate with what you would like your family state of “being” to achieve (e.g., “close bond” or “support each other”). Take time to feel what success in each area is like and create the vision in as much detail as possible.
3. Set clear and realistic goals to achieve success
Once the vision for success is outlined, the next step is creating a path to get there. This helps provide tangible action steps that give a feeling of purpose and accomplishment towards realizing the vision. Using the SMART goal acronym (Sustainable, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Frame), write out goals on smaller sticky paper (or directly on the board) in another colour to help them stand out.
Note: Our goals are created throughout the year (no specific examples in the 2021 board above yet). Sometimes I will create a goal, write it on a sticky note, and post it up on the board. This is an easy way to add new goals as you go.
Vision focus area: Family
Vision Graphics: Picture of family eating dinner together, words “sharing”, “support”
SMART Goal: Prepare dinner and sit down to eat with all family members present 4 week nights per week from March through December
4. Keep the vision and goals in sight (literally keep the vision board where it is seen daily throughout the year)
Place the completed vision board in an area where you will see it daily. A good place is somewhere semi-private and quiet that allows for reflection (e.g., on a closet door or bedroom wall). Most important however, is that the vision board is in plain sight every day. Each day spend time (whether this means active reflection, or just a glance) with the vision board. It is helpful, as many days as possible, to reflect on goals and assess progress. However, just seeing the vision board daily (even without focusing on it) will allow both the conscious and unconscious mind to direct energy towards creating the successful vision throughout the year. The more that each focus area comes alive on the board and triggers feelings when viewed, the more strongly it will focus the energy of the unconscious mind even with a glance. Many times, a successful vision is created throughout the year by means that are unexpected / unplanned. Therefore, do not worry if a vision seems difficult to achieve or if it does not happen quickly. Instead of feeling discouraged, spend more time daily focusing on the vision and bringing it to life in the mind through envisioning what success feels, looks, sounds, tastes, and smells like. At the end of the year, take time to reflect on success and build forward into the next year.