Remember Vision Boards? Here’s Why You Should Still Make One

vision-boards-mainAlmost exactly three years ago, I tucked my sweeties into bed, kissed my husband good night, and slipped out of the house for a girls' night — magazines and scissors and glitter in hand. I was getting together with my girlfriends to make a vision board.

That night, we sat shoulder-to-shoulder, surrounded by books and magazines. The light of the moon slipped in through the open window and soft — possibly 80s music —  played as we cut images and words that struck our fancy. Each scissor opening and closing a decision. This is important to me right now.

I sorted each puzzle piece at random–this scarf goes with that word. That background does, too.– until eventually, themes emerged. They weren't surprising, I had been telling their stories well: being fiscally savvy, or at the very least responsible; having a zenn-ish home; health; authentic relationships; focusing on my family as a whole; and Jason and my relationship as the heart. Writing — and publishing — a lot. 

But after I sorted and glued and titled and bedazzled each one, they became more than my conversation topics–they turned into my to-do lists.

It's this second layer, this urgent whisper, that vision boards are made for.

Today, almost three years later, I've reached every single one of the vision board goals that I set for myself that night at my friend's dining room table. Bedazzle it and it shall be? Sort of. 

The process of mindlessly flipping through magazines is at the heart of this process. What jumps out at you will be both superficial desires as well as what you desire at your very core. The predictable pieces — money, love, fitness — may look the same from board to board. But your raw wants are there, too, and these are the ones that we sometimes ignore. Society tells me to focus on my family and my body, but not necessarily to drop (salaried!) teaching and turn to (free, at first!) writing. But it's this second layer, this urgent whisper, that vision boards are made for. So how do you know what falls into this second category? Your body will tell you.

Oprah.com writer Martha Beck says, “Just page through a magazine (and walk through the world) noticing things that trigger physical reactions: a heart thump, a double take, a gasp. These ‘thoughts' register in your stomach, your heart, your lungs — anywhere but your head. You can't always know why your body reacts to an image. Wondering, then finding out, is one of the most delicious things about assembling a vision board.”

And the secret lies in this. Listening to your gut. And not being afraid of what you hear. Being open to new. Writing (and glittering!) it all down. Then, letting go and putting in the elbow grease as needed.

When I got home that night three years ago, I left my vision board on the kitchen table before crawling into bed. With three kids under the age of six, I needed my sleep more than I needed to put things away. In the morning, my girls stood in front of it oohing and aahing in the heart-filling way that only our own children can do. They stood with heads nestled close, running their still-tiny fingers across the glitter. This is pretty, mama, they said in their small, matching voices.

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Later that day, I hung the board on the inside of my closet door. For three years now, I've passed by it probably a dozen times a day and like anything else in our homes, it has become just there. I rarely think or wonder about it or even really notice it.

But the other day, my girls — now three years older and wiser and definitely more accomplished readers than they were that pajamaed, early morning — stood shoulder to shoulder looking at my vision board once again. Their fingers, now lime green and sparkle tipped, traced the letters I cut out one-by-one. You did it, they breathed.

And as I stood by their sides, trying to ignore just how high on my shoulders the tops of their heads now reach, I saw what they saw: that I have, indeed, done it. I reached those goals that just three years ago seemed so lofty, like such big risks to notice and choose and bedazzle.

Making the vision board won't change your life, but listening to your gut will. The board is just a glittery stepping stone on your way to your fabulous new “there.”

The secret lies in this: Listening to your gut and not being afraid of what you hear; being open to new; writing (and glittering!) it all down; then, letting go and putting in the elbow grease as needed.

Although I haven't looked — really looked — at my board in, literally, years, what I did is shift my thinking with every scissor cut and glue dab that I made, so when an opportunity that took my breath away came up, I took it. When something felt hard, but a path to tip-toeing my way in opened up, I took that, too, even when it was scary or unknown or seemed off of (my) beaten path.

So the real rub is this: making the vision board won't change your life, but listening to your gut will. The board is just a glittery stepping stone on your way to your fabulous new “there.”

So the real question is this. What are you waiting for? Get bedazzling.

What do you think?

Remember Vision Boards? Here’s Why You Should Still Make One

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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1 comment

  1. Andrea says:

    I love this. Sometimes we need to SEE our goals instead of just THINK about them to make them come true. They become part of us when we put them out there in real life.

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