Now is an ideal time to reflect and set intentions for the new year. If you’re ready to start 2022 on the right note, one creative way to set yourself up for success is by making a vision board, AKA a visual representation of what you hope to accomplish in the future. Whether you’re ready to manifest a significant other, travel more, find your dream job, or devote more time to your health and wellness, a vision board is a fun tool that can remind you to take steps toward your goals.
There are many ways to create a vision board, and most versions will include a mix of images, words, and symbols that represent you and what you hope to achieve. For example, if your goal is to travel or spend more time outdoors in the new year, your vision board might include pictures of nature, airplanes, dream destinations, or inspirational quotes that remind you to get out and explore. You can make a vision board using magazine cutouts, stickers, scrapbook paper, and craft supplies, or you can create one digitally using Pinterest, Canva, or another online tool. The benefit to a vision board is that it’s uniquely tailored to you — so, you’re at liberty to choose the exact style, format, and creative medium that feels best.
Whether you’re preparing for the new year or you’re simply in the mood for goal-setting, here’s how to make a vision board to help you manifest all you desire.
What’s the first step for making a vision board?
According to Hüdanur Akkuzu, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and consultant, the first step to making a vision board is to identify what purpose it will serve for you — in other words, what is the main objective or feeling state that you want to achieve? “Think about your goals, dreams, and intentions,” Dr. Akkuzu tells Her Campus. Whether that’s starting a side hustle, building healthy habits, or boosting your confidence, there are no limits to what can be on this list. However, Dr. Akkuzu advises that you start with a few specific, attainable goals: “While preparing the list, be careful not to list too many goals or dreams that seem impossible — this might overwhelm you,” she says.
Dustin Hillis, a CEO, leadership consultant, and author of Redefining Possible suggests using the “Be-Do-Have” framework when you’re ready to make your vision board. “This is where you write 10 characteristics that detail the person you want to be,” he tells Her Campus. “Then, write 10 things you want to do, and finally, make a list of 10 things you want to have.” Hillis says this can be a helpful exercise to help you brainstorm, and that you shouldn’t shy away from what you really want. “Go wild on this step,” he says, “and when you think you’ve stretched your dreams as far as they can go, take them three steps further.”
Whether you’re hoping to make more money or to find a new friend group next semester, view the “goal-setting” stage as something fun, creative, and personalized to you. It’s up to you if you want to make your vision board about one specific intention or many. Once you’ve brainstormed a list of goals, dreams, and intentions, get ready to take the next step in the process: creating the actual vision board.
here’s what you’ll need
Making a hard copy collage of photos, magazine cutouts, and other materials is a great way to make a vision board. Again, the process, design, and medium are totally up to you — the main objective should be to have fun with it and show off your personality. Whether you opt for a physical or digital vision board, the imagery you use should reflect whatever you hope to manifest.
“Even in this digital day and age, I recommend making a vision board out of paper,” says Heidi McBain, LMFT, LPC, a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional counselor. “You can find your words and images online, then print and add them to a poster board or corkboard — or, you can cut them out of magazines.” For a sustainable option, use items you have laying around the house, whether it’s old copies of teen magazines you no longer read, odds and ends in your craft drawer, or material that would otherwise end up in the recycle bin. You can secure your vision board to a poster, piece of cardstock, or within the pages of a journal if you’d prefer to have your “vision” accessible in book form.
To make a physical vision board (we’ll get to digital soon!), here are some materials to get you started:
- Poster board
- Scrapbook paper
- Permanent markers
- Gel pens
- Glue stick
Then, add paper cutouts, Polaroid pictures, newspaper clippings, postcards, photos printed out from Instagram, or anything else you want to include — as long as the board inspires you to achieve your goal. While much of the fun involves finding materials that speak to you, you can also buy an all-in-one vision board kit like this one, which includes neat, foldable sleeves so you can avoid messy glue and tape altogether.
how to assemble your vision board
Now that your supplies are in order, turn on your favorite Spotify playlist, eliminate any potential distractions, and make your vision board. The key is to stay present during the process, visualize your goal clearly, and make your future “vision” come to life — on paper, or digitally. Try not to stress about making things look perfect. The important thing is to be mindful, focus on your future goal, and create an authentic representation of you; it’s less of a design challenge and more about remembering why you’re excited about your “vision” in the first place.
“Find your images and cut and paste them onto a board that you can keep on display,” Hillis tells Her Campus. “No fancy designer required!”
Dr. Akkuzu suggests adding “personal notes” to your board to really make it your own and says that you can always return to it later to add more when you feel inspired. “A vision board helps remind you of what kind of person you would like to be,” she says. “Add new goals or dreams anytime you want, and put your vision board somewhere you can see it every day.” You might even invite your friends over to create one with you — after all, community and accountability usually make goal-setting even better!
How to make a vision board online
While making a “hard copy” vision board is common, some people work better in an online medium — so if you want to create a “digital” vision board instead, go for it! There are many platforms to choose from, with Pinterest being a common one. You can search for pretty much anything on the site, from pins about fashion, beauty, wellness, travel, decor, and food, to more general creative inspiration for the new year. Return to your original “Be-Do-Have” list and search keywords that align with your intentions, like “nature scene” or “wellness routine.” Soon, you’ll have a plethora of images to choose from, and you can either print out the photos or simply create a curated Pinterest board in place of a physical one.
How to make a vision board on Canva
Another fun way to make your vision come to life is with Canva, which allows you to easily use templates, layouts, and drag-and-drop features to create a unique design. If you lack graphic design experience but want to make something that’s aesthetically pleasing and represents you, Canva is the perfect option. First, create a Canva account (there are multiple subscription levels) then browse their hundreds of templates — which include many styles, formats, and dimensions depending on your preference. Upload images into whatever template you’d like, then download the final design to your computer in one easy click. Similar to Pinterest, it’s easy to make an eye-catching vision board on Canva within minutes — use it as a screensaver or as wallpaper on your phone as a daily reminder of what you’re striving toward.
How to make a vision board for manifestation
Manifestation — the process of bringing something tangible into your life through attraction and belief — often happens when you see your goals represented visually. And apart from being a fun new year ritual, a vision board can be a powerful tool for manifestation. The key to this process is to be specific and mindful about your intentions, display your board in a place you’ll see it daily, and use it to motivate you to take action.
Heidi McBain, LMFT, LPC, a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional counselor, agrees that vision boards can be meaningful tools for manifestation. “Visually seeing your goals every day can help you make big and small choices that move you toward [each goal],” she says. “It’s often about the small steps we make day in and day out that make the biggest difference in the long run.”
McBain also suggests using specific language to attract exactly what you want. She tells Her Campus, “I recommend coming up with a ‘word of the year’ and putting it at the center of your vision board to keep you focused. Hopefully, your ‘word of the year’ is something that helps connect different areas of your life.” For example, do you want to embrace joy this new year? Your word of choice might be “joy” and your vision board might include bright colors, exciting visuals, and uplifting quotes. Or, maybe your word is “grounded,” and your board is filled with earth-toned colors, a picture of someone meditating, or general imagery that reminds you to stay present.
Once your vision board is complete and you’ve set a clear intention (i.e., “I’m ready to embrace joy”), return to your intention every day by looking at the board, stating a mantra, or reminding yourself what you’re striving toward. Visualize that your goals are about to happen in real-time, instead of something far off in the future. Then, use your board as a daily reminder, and return to it anytime you feel lost or discouraged.
Display your vision board publicly
According to Hillis, it’s crucial to keep your board displayed publicly as a clear representation of your goals — whether it’s near your desk, inside your planner, or taped to your bathroom mirror. “Once your vision board is complete, put it on display somewhere in your home or office where you will see it every day,” Hillis says. “It will help you focus, stay energized, and set boundaries between you and the things that can get in the way of reaching your goals.”
At first, you may feel excited and motivated to hang up your vision board. However, Hillis warns that you shouldn’t just make it and move on; achieving your desires requires more effort than simply stating them. “Be careful not to just hang your board up and call it a day,” he says. “To effectively reach your goals, you need to associate those goals with actions — actions you repeat until they become a habit. Over time, your vision board will become a trigger to motivate you into action. And it’s this action that leads you to reach your goals.”
Dr. Akkuzu agrees. “Vision boards can be helpful if you have difficulty making long-term plans or lack self-discipline,” she says. If you have trouble setting an intention and sticking to it, she recommends taking things slow and being patient with yourself. “Don’t let the vision board make you feel overwhelmed, hopeless, or have high expectations every day,” she says. “Practice self-care, self-compassion, and reward yourself for doing your best.”
Whether you’re determined to manifest a cute partner or start caring for your mental health, a vision board can help you get there. First, identify what you’re ready to make a reality. Then, harness your artsy side, create a board that’s unique to you, and follow the above expert-approved tips to keep you on track toward your goals. Happy crafting, and good luck — chances are, your goals are a lot closer than you think.