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Vision boards

Vision in Scrabble tiles

Written by Claire Ranit

Have you ever heard of a “vision board?” Vision boards, which have gained some notice over the past few years, is a tool to help focus and clarify a person’s life goals. It sounds a little hokey but stay with me for a few minutes on this one and I’ll give both sides of the argument.

Vision boards pop up in self-help books and the idea reminds me a bit of the collages I made out of magazines and newspapers in elementary school. The thought behind vision boards centers around the idea of the law of attraction which is that the energy you put into the world is the energy you get out of the world. So, if you list all your life goals, focus on them every day, and put positive energy into the world then you will achieve what you desire. Now, whether or not that’s something a person believes is up to them – I’m not sure where I stand on the idea. For two very different opinions on the benefit, or lack thereof, of vision boards check out this article from the Huffington Post and then this one from Psychology Today.

While I’m not sure where I stand on the idea behind the law of attraction, I have gone through the practice of making a vision board and found it beneficial in a few different ways:

  • It provides a space for me to put a lot of different ideas into – what I hope for in my professional life, what I hope for in my personal life, the kind of impact I hope to have on the world, etc. And then I can start to see how these goals might intersect.
  • Vision boards can be a beautifully creative space. This isn’t to say that my vision board is a masterpiece, but it felt wonderful to just sit down and create, not having to worry about what the end result looked like because I was the only person that would see it. It’s a kind of freedom we don’t often have in our lives as much of our work is seen or felt by others.
  • When I get stuck in the mire of day-to-day stressors, it helps me pull back and take perspective.
  • Having laid out my goals and hopes I can begin to see tangible action steps to take, small movements that will take me in the direction I want to go.
  • I can always change and adapt my vision board as life changes and as I change as a person. It’s not a static creation.

What does this all have to do with self-care? Well, a lot actually. Think back to all those benefits I found having done a vision board – creativity, self-reflection, identifying my hopes and desires, and figuring out the person I am among other things. Depending on how you approach this activity it could tap into any of the six different areas of self-care.

I also found this to be a resilience building activity as it provided a space for perspective taking, figuring out my strengths and skills, being able to identify tangible action steps to move towards my goals, and knowing that everything I had created was adaptable as my life changes.

So, I still don’t know where I stand on the law of attraction, but I do know that I like creating vision boards within a focus of action and adaptability. Maybe you’ll find it a helpful activity as well.