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How to Manifest Your Most Beautiful Life: Use a Blank Notebook to Create a Vision Board Journal

by Jacki Andre 08 Jan 2019
How to Manifest Your Most Beautiful Life: Use a Blank Notebook to Create a Vision Board Journal
Hey friends!

How are your New Year’s resolutions going?

Yeah. I thought so.

And you know what? That’s just fine. Because here’s the thing: statistics show that by the second week of February, 80% of resolutions will bite the dust.  

But if you make resolutions at all, good on you. And keeping them up for six solid weeks? I’m seriously impressed. That’s not even sarcasm, I promise. You rock, you cool cat, you. Because you know what? I don’t even bother. I haven’t for years. I know I’m gonna fail. And I figure, why set myself up for failure?

First off, I’m not a Type A go-go-go achiever. In fact, let me just admit it: I’m a slacker. I’m a procrastinator. I’m a daydreamer. I am NOT a planner. And, second, because I segued from being a university student to being an employee at the same school, I’ve always had downtime around New Year’s. At the very beginning of January, I’m still luxuriating in my last few days off: sleeping in, staying in my pajamas until noon, and picking my way through various chocolate maps. I’m not diving into goals with gusto (unless it’s checking off another Netflix series). And lastly, I live in Saskatchewan, yo. It’s cold out there. Please don’t make me go outside to get to the gym or the pottery studio.

It didn’t take me long to recognize that I had zero motivation to work on any kind of traditional resolutions. And, I mean, I was fine with that. But at the same time, making resolutions is kind of a cultural expectation. So, I came up with a Plan B. For a few years running, I made the same resolution: I promised myself that I would seek more joy. I mean, it’s a goal, right? But I’ve been doing pretty well with joy these last few years, so somewhere along the way I even stopped making that one.

Even though I’m a big fat resolution failure myself, I do see why January is the perfect time to make them. I do see the promise in the beginning of a new year, a big chunk of time in which amazing things should be possible. And, I do see that it’s a terrific time to evaluate your path and consider if it’s in alignment with your values.

And, that’s where the light bulb flickered on. Why not move from goals to intentions? Why not still harness the fresh start offered by a new year, but do it in a way where failure isn’t an option?

Goals vs Intentions

To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what an intention was before I started writing this piece. I’ve heard that phrase a lot, about setting your intentions. But is it the same as a goal? Turns out, not really.

A goal is something that you work towards and check off your list when it’s done. It has a measurable outcome and an end date, like losing 25 pounds by the summer. While goals can help us achieve things, they aren’t great for mindfulness or gratitude. They take us out of the moment and they come from a place of lack. They focus on what we don’t have.

As I poked around the internet, looking for a good explanation of intentions, I found Christie Inge’s blog. I like Christie’s description, which is that intentions “are guideposts for who you want to ‘be’ and how you want to show up, instead of what you want to ‘do’ or accomplish.” Intentions are a practice, a way of living. There is nothing to work towards or check off. They are rooted in mindfulness, in the moment.

Intentions can reflect who you already are or who you want to be. But what if you’re not sure what your core values are or how to get in touch with them to live your best life? Well, that’s where vision boards come into play.

The Magic of Vision Boards

A vision board gives you a place to visualize those things that you’re seeking in life. Even if you’re envisioning something that seems like a goal (like owning a house), a vision board is about creating vibrations rather than a plan of action.

The Law of Attraction

As the Law of Attraction website points out, the graphics on your vision board provide a starting point for imagining all the “sights, sounds, smells and sensations of your desired future.” And it’s that creative visualization that makes vision boards work. Kristen Hess at Goddess Provisions sums it up this way: Believing that what you see on your vision board is true, and tapping into how that makes you feel, is the key to manifesting.

But, as Thass and Kirsty discuss over at Diary of a Journal Planner, you will need to do a little work once your vision board is done. Wishing and dreaming is not enough. Vision boards are meant to "be a source of inspiration, motivation and manifestation to help you attain your goals with the law of attraction."

What if you don't know what your intentions are?

Vision boards have another kind of magic too. They can help you dig deep to figure out what you REALLY want in life. In a great piece over at Career ContessaSimran Takhar explains that, when creating a vision board, it’s best to let go of the goals you think you want. Instead, just focus on collecting graphics that speak to you. When you create your vision board that way, “you’ll see that the images you’ve collected are an honest representation of the kind of life you want to live.” And in this way, a vision board can help you set your intentions.

Collecting Graphics for your Vision Board

I’m pretty sure you already know that vision boards are a collection of graphics pasted onto some kind of base, whether it’s poster board, cork board, or a journal. Those graphics can be any kind of ephemera, such as photos, text/words, quotations, affirmations, ticket stubs, maps, and even excerpts from articles. While graphics are often mined from magazines, don’t be shy about printing images found online, handwriting your own text, or including sketches or watercolors.

But before you start looking for graphics, it’s best to get quiet and tune into your dreams. Christine Kane suggests starting with a ritual:

Sit quietly and set the intent. With lots of kindness and openness, ask yourself what it is you want. Maybe one word will be the answer. Maybe images will come into your head. Just take a moment to be with that. This process makes it a deeper experience. It gives a chance for your ego to step aside just a little, so that you can more clearly create your vision.

Let go of your fears and give yourself permission to dream big.

Once you have your intention set, start browsing through graphics. If you find one that speaks to you or brings you joy, tear it out or print it. The images that appeal to you do NOT have to be related to your intention. Don’t question things yet. Just make a big pile of images. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in magazines, go online or create your own.

Once you feel like you have a good collection of images, you’re ready to start creating your vision board journal.

Of course I’m pitching a vision board journal. I blog for a writing journal company, after all.

Why Create a Vision Board Journal?

As I explained in a past blog, I’ve kept a vision board journal for a few years. (I just haven’t focused on updating it at specific times--like the start of a new year or my birthday.)

There are a bunch of reasons why I love using a blank notebook for my vision boards:

  1. It’s easy to create space for different dreams and goals. You can dedicate a page or a spread for themes like love/family, health, career, finances, travel, and bucket list items.
  2. And, if you’re working with themes, it’s easier to start small and focus on a section or two to start. That way, you don’t need to feel overwhelmed about defining all your intentions and goals at once.
  3. Vision boards are often extremely personal. You’ll be more apt to be honest with your dreams and intentions if it’s easy to protect your privacy. A writing journal is easier to stow than a large cork board when company (or the plumber) comes over.
  4. It’s easier to add images to a vision board journal than to a completed wall board. This means parts of your vision board (or the whole thing!) can grow and change with you.
  5. When you use and update a writing journal for your vision board, you’ll have a neat and easily accessible archive of your past boards. It can be empowering to see how far you’ve come or how much you’ve changed.
  6. Vision board journals are portable. You may want to work on your career spread at work or you may wish to take your whole journal with you on a retreat. Or, you may find it easier to do your creative visualization with your journal open on your lap, rather than having to stare up at a board on a wall.
  7. Combining a writing journal with a vision board can open up a whole new dimension of personal understanding. On her Joyful by Design blog, Sarah Marchessault tells how, over the course of several months and different projects, she kept being drawn to images of women leaping in the air. It wasn’t until she started using those images as writing prompts that she understood how the concept of leaping applied to her life. As Sarah explains: “When I added writing about the images, I gained depth and eventually clarity into why I chose that image in the first place.”
  8. You get to unleash your creativity by creating collages in what is actually an art journal. You will end up with a really beautiful journal.  

Choosing a Journal for Your Vision Board Project

Spiral-ring binder vs blank notebook

I've tried two different types of books for my own vision board journals. First, I used a spiral-ring binder. I liked the idea of being able to easily add and remove pages. I used card stock as the pages. That worked great because card stock is sturdy and doesn't warp from the excessive amount of glue needed on each page. But! I found that I didn't use the journal to work on manifesting my intentions. It was too large to easily tote around. 

Next, I used a cheap blank notebook from the dollar store. The pages warped a little from the glue, which wasn't a big deal in itself. But numerous warped pages ended up warping the entire spine. That's too bad because the size is perfect. I often carry it back and forth from my bedroom (where it's become a ritual to review my vision board pages before bed) and my writing/crafting desk in the living room.

Size and quality are important!

I've learned two lessons the hard way and that will hopefully save YOU some grief. First: size is important! Make sure it's a comfortable size to work in and to carry around. This is especially important if you might be working in your vision board journal in other places. Perhaps you'll work on it while you wait for your child to finish hockey or ballet practice. Or perhaps you'll establish regular vision board journal nights with a group of friends.

Second, quality is important! Choose a blank notebook with high-quality heavy paper that will handle glue well.

If you're shopping for a new journal for this purpose, look for one with an inspirational quote or graphic. Personally, I'm drawn to SohoSpark's leather sunrise journal. One of my mottoes in life is to chase the sun, which is what vision boards are all about. Amirite?


Using your Vision Board Journal to Manifest your Intentions

Creating your vision board journal is just the first step in manifesting your intentions. If you tuck your journal away, only pulling it out to update it, it will lack power. You need to focus on your intentions daily, in order for the universe to hear them. 

How do you manifest intentions?

The best way to manifest your intentions is by meditating. Julian at Relax Like a Boss shares some terrific tips on manifestation meditation, including:

  1. Relax by doing a body scan. Start at the top of your head and, piece by small piece, relax the different parts of your body. Start with the top of your head and work your way down: forehead, back of head, eyes, nose, mouth, and so on down.
  2. Be present in the moment by focusing on your breathing. Breathe in and breathe out, counting each in-and-out as one breath. Count up to 10 breaths; then reset and start over again at 1. Do this for five minutes. 
  3. Meditation has the best results when done first thing in the morning, before the day's distractions kick in.
  4. Open your heart by repeating a mantra. Julian suggests, "My heart is open, I open my heart. I am good, I do good, and I am loved." But the important thing is to find a mantra that feels right for you.
  5. When you begin manifestation meditation, focus on the one intention that you really want to achieve. Once you become comfortable with this practice you can add in other intentions as well.
  6. Using your vision board journal for inspiration, visualize the reality of your intention. If it's your intention to work in a career that fulfills you, visualize your entire day at that job. What do you wear to work? What does your workplace look like? Do you work inside or outside? Who are your coworkers? How do you spend your day? How do you feel as your day progresses? How do you feel when you leave work for the day?

With these tips you should be on your way to manifesting your deepest desires.

To be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve updated my own vision board journal. I’m itching to get to it now. How about you? Are you ready to set your intentions, manifest your dreams, and, hey, break out a blank notebook and a glue stick? If so, tell me about your own vision board (journal) below. I’d love to hear from you.

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