If you ever look into goal setting or manifestation, you often come across vision boards. I’ve always loved the idea of them. They inspire us to be better versions of ourselves, and if you believe in the law of attraction, they can help with manifesting the life you want. But I have a 5 problems with vision boards.
- We're already surrounded by so many visuals and thoughts from the internet and social media. We’re surrounded by images of lives that look better than ours. And to create a vision board, most people use photos from social media. It means we’re using the noise around us to decide what we want and surrounding ourselves with it constantly.
- Most vision boards have photos of other people. This is probably the main thing I don't like about dream boards. It's really awkward to have other people plastered all over your wall when your friends come over and if you live with your partner, they might not want your vision board in the bedroom. But aside from that, when we have photos of other people, It means we’re obsessing over someone else's life instead of our own. We’re looking at them, not ourselves.
- If your vision board doesn’t have any resemblance to your own life, you end up focusing on what you don’t have. Vision boards focus on just that- visions and dreams. But isn’t your current life more important that the life that hasn’t arrived yet?
- Vision boards give us tunnel vision. I have a friend who had an image of what her partner would look like and what criteria he would fit - she basically wanted this IG worthy relationship. And now, she’s in her 30s, single, and she regrets that she wasn’t more open minded.
- Vision boards places an emphasis on how things look instead of how things feel.
I love the concept of a vision board because I'm a super visual person. But I think there’s something better than a vision board: being obsessed with you and your life instead of someone else's. Here’s how I do that:
Capture the moments
I take a lot of photos and most of them are of the smaller moments. We’ll be having a family dinner and I’ll take a photo of everyone sitting at the table. Our dog will curl up right next to me and I’ll take a photo. Sometimes I notice the way the clouds part to reveal the moon and I’ll take a photo. I try to stay in the moment as much as I can but in a world where we’re surrounded by the images of other people, I think it’s so much better to have images of our own life to look back on. When I have a home I definitely plan on having photos of my family and friends everywhere.
I also journal a lot and write down little moments. I print out my photos using my INSTAX printer and stick them in my journal. It’s become a way of finding gratitude in my life.
I also know people who use the notes app on their phone. They add little moments or memories with the date, so at the end of the year, they’ve got something to look back on.
At the start of the year, most people think “new year, new me”. They go on to set goals and new year resolutions. But when we think of goals, we often use someone else's path for inspiration. It leaves no room for not knowing what you want to do, changing your mind, and embracing serendipity
Goals give us an end point but they don’t always give us direction.
My life started to look more like mine when I stopped focusing on goals and focused on values.
Values cut through the noise of social media, they’re not aesthetic images that make us feel good, or a pretty quote we can share on Instagram, they’re our very core. They can make us more decisive, authentic and confident.
I have a few values but my overarching values are joy and authenticity. That’s what I always lean into. When I was navigating a career change, I had no idea what I was doing or what my goal was, but it was joy that guided me. When I was scared to put myself out there on YouTube, it was authenticity that helped me to show up.
Those 2 values have helped me to experience the life that would have been on my dreamboard without attaching any goals to it. I'd recommend you find your core values.
Consume with you in mind
I think it’s so easy to go on Instagram or Twitter and be influenced. You end up wanting so many things and you feel behind.
So now I consume with myself in mind.
I only consume if it's related to my priorities in life. I’m not going to read a book on leadership, or follow a make up account, or read a Twitter thread on how to start a company. Those things aren’t important to me. Instead, I consume things about slowing down, how to develop meaningful relationships, and how to be more authentic.
I’ve also started taking notes on what I consume to make them applicable to me and my daily life. And I link this back to my values so everything is really intentional.
Get out into the real world
Having a vision board with images of happy relationships won’t help you to find someone if you’re not putting yourself out there. Images focus on the end goal. They make the transformation from where you are now to what you want seem so simple. But to be honest, it takes work to change your life. And that doesn’t have to be a huge thing, but small little things that you can add to your day.
I wanted to work from home but my life as a dentist felt so far off that and seeing images of people working from home just made me feel more behind. But then I started doing things outside of work, like YouTube and illustrating. I was essentially working from home even though my main job was in a dental practice. And by doing that, I felt like I was already doing what I wanted. I didnt have to wait for my vision board to come true.
Know and love yourself
I know it’s a bit corny, but once you embrace yourself and who you are, your life becomes your dream life. My entire life changed when I started to look inwards instead of constantly trying to change myself. I started to admire things about myself and I became more confident to put myself out there in the real world.
Vision boards look great. But once you step away from vision board and into your real life, you realise it’s a canvas for so much possibility.