Manifest your Best Life: How to Create a Vision Board Journal

by Jacki Andre January 08, 2019

Manifest your Best Life: How to Create a Vision Board Journal

Hey Sparkly Unicorns!

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, my sparkly unicorns. 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, cool cats, 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.

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.

Vision boards have another kind of magic though. 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

Sparkly unicorn friends, 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, cool cats. I blog for Sohospark 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 personal journal 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 personal 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 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.”

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, sparkly unicorn friends? Are you ready to set your intentions, manifest your dreams, and, hey, get artsy, crafty, and extra sparkly? If so, tell me about your own vision board (journal) below. I’d love to hear from you.

Author's own photo

Jacki Andre
Jacki Andre

Jacki Andre has been journaling for over 30 years and still has her jam-packed Judy Blume Diary to prove it. Somewhere along the way, she started writing for reals, and is now a published author and Huffington Post blogger. In her spare time, Jacki supports dog rescue, advocates for disability rights, and educates other drivers via hand gestures about the importance of using turn signals. She keeps in shape by chasing joy (and her ‘80s teen idols) in earnest.

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