This past winter solstice, which is of course the darkest day of the year, I started thinking about the weather, collective isolation, lockdowns, and how I was going to manage the long haul ahead. Interestingly, I learned that the winter solstice is also prime time for manifesting or channeling our energy to attract what we desire.
I believe that when the days are dark (speaking literally and figuratively), drawing on hope can be a life-changing tool to carry us through the despair and propel us into the life we wish to live. One way to do this is through a vision board – a poster-sized visual representation of your values, goals, and things you want to welcome into your life.
While some may be skeptical of this practice, there is scientific evidence demonstrating that visualization can help bring our goals to life. In some studies, mental practices like visualization increased motivation, confidence, and even motor performance, add weight to the saying, “Where your attention goes, grows.” Olympic athletes have used visualization for years to improve their performance while brain scans have demonstrated that the act of visualizing activates the same area of the brain responsible for the action itself.
If this sounds intriguing, here is how you can get started:
1. Think about what matters to you.
The purpose of your vision board is to bring your dreams to life. Reflect on what is important to you: relationships, home, career, finances, personal growth, health, and anything else that comes to mind. Because the motivation behind many of our desires is to feel something different, experts advise focusing on the feelings you desire.
Drawing on hope can be a life-changing tool to carry us through the despair and propel us into the life we wish to live.
As you think about your new reality, consider what you want more of, as well as what you are willing to release. For my vision board, I thought about what I am grateful for, what brings me comfort and joy, who matters most to me, what new activities I am interested in trying, and where my passions lie. Ultimately, your values will guide this self-exploration. The clearer and more specific you are with your visualization, the more powerful it becomes. You’ll know you’re getting close when this exercise gets you excited!
2. Awaken your creativity.
Now hunt through your magazines, newspapers, or perhaps search Pinterest and Instagram for things that represent what you want to attract into your life. Photos, quotes, sayings, images of places you want to go, reminders of events, places, or people, postcards from friends, and anything that will inspire you are all fair game. For example, if you’re hoping for a promotion, you might put pictures of a confident professional with empowering words like “success” or “confidence.” As much as possible, choose words that are short and images that are vivid and attractive to catch your eye.
While perusing your chosen medium, pay close attention to your thoughts and inner dialogue as you create your new future. How are you feeling about your dreams? What is your mind saying about these images and words? Notice any limiting beliefs you’re holding on to or any negativity that’s weighing you down. For me, this was the most interesting part of this exercise as I noted some limiting self-talk that I was previously unaware of. Thoughts I noticed were “That’s unattainable,” “That doesn’t exist around here,” and “It’s selfish of me to want more.” Building self-awareness around our own inner dialogue is key to changing these thoughts and becoming our own champions. As the saying goes, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Taking account of where we’re at and considering what we want to hold on to and what we’re ready to let go of is a powerful process.
3. Set the mood.
As you settle to assemble your board, turn off the TV and turn on some relaxing music; maybe light a candle and clear your space. I recommend setting aside at least one to two hours to assemble your board. Some extroverts may want to consider inviting friends over to make it into a party. It’s a great way to formulate your intentions and release them to the universe.
4. Place your vision board where you can see it.
Once you have assembled your board, place it somewhere where you will see it often and be reminded of your goals. For some this will be their nightstand, beside their TV, or near their desk. Smaller versions are also an option, including snapping a picture of your vision board and using it as your screensaver or phone’s home screen.
5. Be open.
Like life, your vision board is a living work of art. Feel free to rip things off, add things, or start from scratch if you feel so inclined. Adapt your board whenever it feels right. To accommodate for change, some people choose to leave a blank space so they can accept new things as they appear or rearrange when the moment is right.
What I loved about creating my board was how exciting it was to open my mind to the possibilities ahead, learn about myself, and, most of all, give a voice to my dreams. Taking account of where we’re at and considering what we want to hold on to and what we’re ready to let go of is a powerful process. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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