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Bringing Your Vision Into Focus

| Aimee O'Grady

Sometimes a goal looms on the horizon. From a distance, it may not have perfectly delineated lines, but it is still discernible. It could be a painting, a poem, a quilt block, or a personal goal. When inspiration feels just out of reach, it can become attainable through the use of a vision board.

Although online boards such as Pinterest have replaced vision boards in some ways, the almost meditative process of creating a vision board cannot be replaced with technology. Setting time aside to become part of the vision board creation process, surrounded by images and words that inspire and enhance your idea can move you to see that image, just out of reach from afar, as a finished product. Once finished, the vision board, placed where you are most likely to see it daily, allows you to re-experience the motivation felt when creating the board and encourages you to succeed.

Beth Howser, mother of two, senior project manager, and endurance runner, had her eyes set on a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. She took a pile of Runners World magazines and sat down to comb through them, cutting out the images and words that moved her the most. She carefully arranged the cut-outs in a way that inspired her. Concentrating on the purpose of the board. She made sure to include the finishing time she would need to qualify for Boston. running vision boardShe mounted the completed board in her office where she would see it each day. Where the words and images would resonate, and inspire her to reach her true potential. She used the images to imagine herself crossing the finish line in the time she needed. The board Howser created was intended to get her moving and moving fast. Encouraging her to perform well during her training runs and workouts. To not let one bad performance derail her from her ultimate goal. Howser had an amazing training year. She put her best foot forward each time she set out to train. In the end, she did not qualify for Boston that year, despite putting herself in the right frame of mind.

Since creating her vision board, Howser has created many others. Sometimes she creates one at the beginning of the year for the entire year, sometimes they are specific to one particular goal. Two years after creating her Boston Marathon Vision Board, she did qualify for Boston, “it did happen, it just took longer than I was expecting,” says Howser.

Creating a vision board trains your mind to imagine what you are trying to accomplish. Whether it is a quantifiable outcome like qualifying for Boston or personal one such as having an improved relationship, envisioning your goal puts you one step closer to achieving it. Putting the vision on a board by selecting meaningful images helps to solidify the image.

The elements of a vision board are simple. You can head to a craft store to buy a ready-made canvas, or look around the house and use something you already have, like a cardboard box slated for recycling or a poster board, a stack of magazines, scissors and glue. Embellishments can be added after the primary images are placed on the board. Rather than getting caught up on the trimmings of your vision board, it is important to focus on the expressive elements at the beginning. Your vision board should evoke an emotion from you. Only you will know when the board is complete. When the final motivational word and image have been added.

Find a well-lit space that you frequent often to mount the board. Take time each day to renew your vow to reach the vision that is made up of the words and pictures. Recommit yourself to your goal. Move through the words and images glued to the board and envision the completed work or competitive time.

Involve your children. Ask them to set goals for themselves. Bring them into the process. Together work to create your boards and then together work to achieve them. Andrea Schneider encourages her 14-year-old to make vision boards, “she’s at a loss as to what she wants to be when she grows up, when it seems all her friends have some sort of goal.” Schneider uses the vision board process to pull her away from her phone, “I want her to envision a future for herself rather than be stuck in one moment of time.”

Over time, when you are confident in the meditative process of creating a vision board you can host groups and share the experience with others. Inspire them to reach their potential and attain something that sits in the distance on their personal horizon, just out of focus. Help others delineate the lines of their vision.