My husband likes to poke fun at me that I don’t like setting goals. It’s true, I don’t, which is strange because I am a very high achiever and love a good checklist to mark off all my accomplishments!
There’s something about setting a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic goal to reach within a specific timeframe (SMART goals) that scares the crud out of me!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s something I do, and ask my clients to do – but no one said I had to like it!
When I was a teenager, every year around New Year’s Eve I would begin to daydream about how the coming year would make all my wishes come true! My crush would finally notice me, my skin would clear up, money wouldn’t be a concern, I wouldn’t be fearful to speak up. It was always different and very unrealistic. I would approach the coming year with much anticipation and hope, only to realize that not much was suddenly going to change overnight. I similarly thought that once I reached a certain age in adulthood, life would stop being so “lifey” with its ups, and downs and I would reach this magical plateau of coasting joyously along! (Boy, was I wrong!).
The truth is life is life, and without taking away any joy of childhood, the sooner we can teach our children coping skills, the better their life can be.
My own vision boards are something that have helped me envision what my future life and self could be. Think about the billboards, photos and online videos that capture our attention. We humans love a good visual!
Much like my unrealistic New Year dreaming, resolutions hardly ever lead to actual change. We need a simple powerful reminder to guide our daily intentions, not a firm overreaching decision. Now, each year I think of one word or phrase to guide my intention for that year, past examples are “Faith over Fear”, “Balance”, and this year it’s “Celebrate”. A first step to a simple vision board could be themed around that one word or good idea.
It is a powerful tool that we can teach our kids to utilize in goal setting. It doesn’t only have to be for the new year, it can be used for any small or big goal, in a specific area of your life, changing a bad habit, or getting healthy. The simple task of getting something out of your head and onto paper (or device) has also proven to reduce stress, as well as giving you a visual representation of what direction you’d like your life to flow. It utilizes the Law of Attraction, which is your ability to attract things into your life, is determined by what you focus on.
It’s never too early to start a vision board, even a toddler who’s working toward being potty trained or a child entering kindergarten can draw or color a picture and visualize their future success.
Middle school is when children really start to compare themselves to their peers, often resulting in less creative outlets (for fear of judgement) and negative self-image.
TEENS, MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE, COULD USE A CREATIVE OUTLET, REDUCTION IN STRESS & ANXIETY, AND A HELPFUL TOOL TO PLAN FOR THEIR FUTURE.
Today’s teens face increasing pressure to perform. I know because my 8th grader is having to start thinking about what career he wants, so he can choose a college, so he can select the right courses in 9th grade, so that in four years at high school graduation, the options are still open to him. He’s 14.
The nation’s teen mental health crisis could be attributed to that thought alone, add to that, the information overload that our brains receive every day, the lack of more in-person interaction, and the misperception of online communication, body image issues, suicide rates, and bullying all exasperated by social media and online socialization. There is far too much time being spent in our own head, and on a device!
Social media algorithms are designed to feed us more of what we viewed and can often lead to a negative cycle preying on vulnerabilities and dark thoughts. A vision board activity could be the start of healthy living and counteract the negative images online.
How amazing would it be if we could give our children a tool to get out of their subconscious mind and manifest the life of their dreams?!
The steps to create a good vision board, are good practice for anyone, whether you’re making a board or not.
- Awareness of your current reality. An honest look at what’s working and what’s not. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Are you generally happy? Are you living your best life? What does that look like?
- Are there different areas of life where you could improve?
- Is there room for personal growth? (Always!)
- What do you feel sad or guilty or angry about? Feelings are a great tool to indicate where work can be done.
- What long-term goals do you have?
- Identify what the most important thing is to you. Something within your control.
- Visualize your life once you’ve accomplished these new things. Think about what next steps are needed to get you there.
- Use your creative energy to think of any relevant motivational quotes, a collection of images, important concepts and best way to combine them into your goal board.
- Have fun creating the life you’ve dreamed of!
- Put it on display!
Here are some great vision board ideas:
- Accomplishing a specific goal – Attend college, finding that dream job, decluttering your house, or going on a dream vacation.
- Specific area of your life – make more friends, less fear speaking in groups, less screen time.
- Develop good habits – create balance, eat healthy, exercise more, self-love, or be open to positive things to flow toward you.
Some added benefits of creating a vision board.
1. It’s a fun way for the family to connect. You could even have a vision board party!
2. Provides visuals as a common language to aid in communication.
3. Can aid in getting everyone on the same page for big decisions or boundary setting at home.
4. Creativity and imagination are wonderful tools to destress, relax and bring out your inner child.
5. It allows blank space for reflection and introspection, the process itself helps your mind.
6. A sense of accomplishment and maybe even purpose?
7. It gets you or your teen off a device, or at least using it with intention if creating a digital vision board.
8. The power of positivity
Here are some different ways to create your vision board.
- A physical vision board.
- Poster board, glue stick, and magazine clippings. (My favorite! There’s something calming about scrolling through old magazines, smelling the paper, and cutting out pictures and words that takes me back to my childhood)
- Write words, draw, or use stickers on a piece of paper or on the cover of a notebook.
- Creative a vision flip book.
- Find a creative way to incorporate physical objects to inspire your dream life or personal goals. Set them out where you can see them or pinned to a cork board.
- A Digital vision board. My kids prefer this and the opportunities are endless!
- It can be as simple as a collage of words or quotes, maybe in different fonts.
- There are programs like Adobe Express or even Canva where you can make picture & word collages.
- My friend’s daughter created a video for her Christmas wish list. A different kind of manifestation, but powerful, nonetheless.
- A song playlist can also be a creative way of reminding yourself of the bigger picture when you’re moving around a lot or away from home.
What I love about the digital options is that they can easily be taken with you wherever you go. You can even have it as your cell phone lock screen. They can also be more fluid as you reach a goal or change directions, it’s a lot more difficult to undo that glue and poster board!
Past vision boards can serve as a reflection of where you’ve been and how much you’ve accomplished!
When I look back at my first intentional vision board, I’m reminded of how many things have come into my life since then. There are also some things I’m still working toward. There are no rules when it comes to your vision board. Much like meditation and prayer (which are also valuable skills in manifesting your dreams), it looks different for everyone. It’s your vision, it’s your life. With all the love we pour into our teens, shouldn’t we give them the tool of visualization as well?
As Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Seeing is believing! I’d like to believe that with this simple tool we can see our youth live healthier, more fulfilled lives!