I’m excited to share this post. Partly because I love talking about manifesting dreams and making goals become realities. But, also because I just finished my own digital vision board for the new year (and the new decade) a few days ago. It’s got me feeling extra inspired and creative, and I’m thrilled to share that inspiration with you!
Usually, I don’t do the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. I used to, years ago. I would rev myself up with a big goal every January, feeling really good about my intentions to drop a bad habit or add a healthy one. The problem is, it never seemed to stick once the euphoria of the new year faded. So, I ended up just giving up on the tradition.
I didn’t give up on setting goals all together. I just stopped tying them arbitrarily to the new year. Instead, I started focusing on staying connected to my needs and my goals all throughout the year. I set intentions for my life as they arose naturally. And that served me pretty well for a long time.
But this year, something’s different. This year, I’ve got a really big goal I’m working on – the writing and publishing of my book, Plant Your Root. Unlike many of my other life accomplishments, this one feels less structured. The path forward doesn’t seem as clear-cut as most of my goals have been in the past. It feels a bit meandering, with a lot of working parts. Like I could veer off-track more easily. And, perhaps even more concerning, this project feels INTIMIDATING. Like I could fall into the trap of self-doubt and self-sabotage if I’m not careful.
Stepping-Up the New Year’s Resolution with a Digital Vision Board
So, this year I decided to give the old New Year’s Resolution another go. Only this time, I’ve kicked it up several notches. I made a digital vision board. Not only was it fun, uplifting, and motivating, but it gave me a lot of clarity around what exactly I want my life to look like in the coming year. It’s the evolved, supercharged version of a New Year’s Resolution, and I wish I had given myself this gift years ago.
Here’s what makes a digital vision board better than an ordinary New Year’s Resolution.
- It gives you a visual reminder of your goal(s) to help inspire and motivate you.
- The process of creating it requires you to deeply evaluate what you want your life to look like. That means the goals you set are truly aligned with your authentic self.
- The visual component brings that mental idea into the physical world, making it feel more tangible, real, and accessible today.
- It encompasses more than one goal and more than one area of your life. Paying attention to the different facets of your life is important, because they’re all intertwined. They all contribute to your life outcomes.
- If you want, it can function as a road map for how you plan to reach your goal.
- It can act as your personal cheerleader as the days go by, reconnecting you to the full vision you’ve set for your life in those moments when enthusiasm or commitment might be waning.
What is a Digital Vision Board?
Many of you have probably heard of a vision board before. Sometimes people call it a dream board, a wish board, or a goal board. Personally, I like the word vision because it brings to mind the concept of seeing. Seeing what my life can look like. Seeing my potential as a reality, as opposed to just wishing for it. Or, it existing in the land of my dreams. But it doesn’t matter what you call it. All that matters is that your board helps you crystallize your aspirations into a clear, physical representation of where you want to go in life.
A vision board uses images and words placed together in an intentional way to build a picture of the life you’re trying to create for yourself. The end product looks like a collage. It engages both the left and right hemispheres of your brain as you take the logical concepts of your goals and find a way to represent them that’s aesthetically pleasing and inspiring to you. And this is important. It’s one of the key ways a vision board trumps a resolution.
Vision Boards Use Both the Left & Right Sides of the Brain
A resolution is a statement about a change you want to make. It’s a goal that’s backed by determination, valid reasons for wanting to change, and hopefully, a rational plan for how to accomplish it. It’s mainly a left-brain endeavor. However, our left-brain, or analytical mind, can limit what we envision for ourselves. It’s most comfortable working with logic, evidence, cause & effect, and linear thinking.
Over time, this loyalty to logic can lead it to thinking about all the reasons why your dream may or may not be realistic. It can dwell too long on the obstacles that currently stand, or could stand, in your way. It can give you reasons to shoot for less or to give up and go back to what’s established and comfortable. In short, it can dampen or even kill your goals before you achieve them. Or worse, before you even get started, by planting seeds of doubt.
The left brain, of course, is essential. It helps us develop logical steps we can take to accomplish our goals and helps us problem-solve when hurdles do appear. However, our right-brain, or creative and intuitive mindset, helps us see and believe in what’s possible. Even when there’s no definitive evidence in front of us to back it up. It helps us not only imagine what can be, but it also discovers out-of-the-box solutions. When we draw the right-brain into our goal-setting process, we’re inviting it to support us all along the way. To help us keep on believing and to give us creative, intuitive solutions when we need them.
To achieve big dreams and goals, we want to bring the power of both parts of our brain to the process. A digital vision board does that.
Your Own Heroic Journey
Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living…If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.Joseph Campbell
I love this quote from Joseph Campbell. In his book, The Power of Myth, he explores the evolution of myths that have occurred in cultures from all over the world. There are several key myths that seem to arise in all cultures. And, all of them illustrate universal truths, or concepts we all encounter and hold dear as part of our shared human experience. He calls them archetypes. The main one is the hero’s journey.
According to him, we each are walking our own personal heroic journey. It doesn’t look exactly the same for any of us, but we are all asked to rise to the unique challenge of our own heroic story. That challenge is our personal call to adventure, our life’s highest purpose. When we align with this purpose, we find of our bliss.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. By accepting our challenge, we’re bound to be faced with struggles and obstacles. But, if we persevere with courage and faith, we triumph. Because we’re living in alignment with our bliss.
So What’s All This Got To Do With Your Digital Vision Board?
I bring up Joseph Campbell and the universal myths now because the hero’s journey archetype dwells in our unconscious. It’s part of our psyche’s DNA, if you will. When we invite our creative right-brain into the process of our goal-setting, we’re better able to access this powerful unconscious motif. We’re setting aside our logical thinking long enough to allow us to get in touch with our bliss. The part of us that believes doors will open, as he says, when we need them to.
Whether you’re trying to make a lifelong dream become a reality, like me, or you’re wanting to shift your daily life circumstances in a powerful way to support your well-being, you’ve been called to an adventure. YOUR adventure for this stage in your life. If it’s important enough for you to consider making a digital vision board for it, it’s a big deal.
As Joseph Campbell says, you’re the hero of your own story. What you envision as possible is the only version of your life that stands a chance of being possible. I’m encouraging you to be bold and creative. To let your imagination set your limits, not your logic. And the process of creating a digital vision board can help you do that. As you artistically select and arrange images to represent your life’s dreams, you’re engaging your imagination. You’re opening up space for your dreams to be expressed and heard before they’re silenced by your doubts and rationalizations.
It’s a freeing and eye-opening experience.
Why a Digital Vision Board?
One last why before we dive into the how. You can make a vision board using cut-outs from magazines and books, stickers, markers, and just about any art supply. That’s the way it’s been done for many years, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I chose to do a digital vision board for several reasons, though.
First, I don’t have a lot of magazines and art supplies. (I love books too much to cut them up!) And even if I did have a bunch of magazines, I still would have had a limited selection of photos to choose from. By making a digital vision board, I was able to access the plethora of digital images available online. This opened up the possibilities for how I could represent the concepts I wanted to include immensely. I also had greater freedom of choice for colors and fonts.
Second, I wanted to be able to revise it easily along the way. With a digital file, I can easily go in and add to my board, or change an image out for another, if I come across something that feels inspiring. Or, if I realize somewhere along the way there’s something else I want to be focusing on, I can add it in. It just feels like a digital vision board can grow with me as I move forward on my journey better than a traditional one can.
Lastly, I wanted to be able to see it clearly on a regular basis. My digital vision board is now my wallpaper on my phone and my computer. Every time I use either device, it greets me. I can look it over and reconnect with my vision and/or give myself a boost of encouragement. While you can take a picture of a traditional vision board to use in a similar way, I preferred to have the clarity of the original image.
Getting Started With Your Digital Vision Board
The first step in this process involves self-reflection. Whether you use a journal, meditate, doodle, or just let your mind wander over a cup of coffee or tea, you’ll want to dedicate some time to clarifying your vision for your life. You may already have an idea for what it is you’re wanting to work toward. If so, that’s great! You’ll still need this step, but you’ve got a huge head start. For those of you who aren’t sure, you’ll want to spend some time identifying at least one goal you feel passionately about conquering.
Identifying Your Big Goal
If you’re not sure what big goal you want to focus on with your digital vision board, consider the following questions. See where the inquiry leads you.
- If you could do anything with your time, what would it be?
- What area of your life brings you the most joy? Or, conversely, the most stress?
- What dream have you always held for yourself?
- If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
- What advice would your younger self give you at this point in your life? Or, what advice do you think your older self (10 years or more) would give you right now?
Fleshing Out Your Big Goal
Once you have a goal you know you’re ready to move forward with, it’s important to start visualizing it. What would your life really look like if this dream were to become your reality? What would you feel like? Picture yourself living that life. What do you look like? Where are you? Who is with you? Are there specific markers you’ll hit?
Is there someone who’s inspired you? Or, maybe a place, book, or work of art that has special meaning to your dream?
These are just questions to get your creative juices flowing. The point is to start turning the mental concept of your goal into a visual world. One that feels tangible to you, that you can see yourself stepping into. This will help inspire the images you want to include on your digital vision board. The images that are going to keep you motivated, committed, and believing in your dream.
Expanding Your Big Goal
When you have a visual for what you’re creating for yourself, the next step is to expand it to include the different facets of your life that are touched by and/or contribute to it. This can include your physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, professional, social, home, and family spheres. Any area of your life that feels relevant for your goal.
You don’t need to include all of them. That would be overwhelming and probably make your digital vision board look like a jumbled mess. But, depending on your goal, there’s going to be at least a few pieces of your life that will be involved in creating your outcome and likely be changed in the process.
Including Spheres of Life on Your Digital Vision Board
For example, with my digital vision board, I want to finish and publish my book. My big dream is to make the bestseller’s list. I’ve had that dream from the time I was a young girl, avidly gobbling up the words of other best selling authors. But I know to get there, I’ll need to take care of my body. I can’t just sit in front of my computer all day and stay healthy and motivated. Being physically healthy supports not only my goal, but my overall happiness in life, which is just as important.
I also know I need the support and life balance that comes from healthy, positive relationships. The less drama I have in my relationships, the more I can stay focused on my aim. And again, the happier I’ll be in general. Because my goal is not only to sell books, but to help people with what I’m sharing in my book, I also need to tend to my spiritual health and stay connected to the bigger picture. I know I’m at my best in every way when I’m tending to my spiritual practices. Life is simply more blissful.
Therefore, I’ve included four sections on my digital vision board: physical health, healthy relationships, professional goals, and spiritual health. They’re all important pieces of the life I ultimately want to create for myself. And they all work together to help me reach my big goal.
Choose which spheres of life feel most connected to your vision for your life, and plan to include them on your board. What will each of these dimensions look like for you, along the way as well as once you’ve reached your goal?
Creating Your Digital Vision Board
Once you’ve gathered your thoughts, clarified and fleshed-out your vision, it’s time to actually construct your digital vision board. This is the really fun, creative part of the process. It’s for your use only, so don’t hold back. You can make it as organized or as whimsical as you want. All that matters is it has meaning for you, and it lifts you up when you look at it.
Where to Get Your Pictures
You can search online for pictures via the main search engines. Since you’re not publishing or distributing it, you don’t have to worry about copyrights. There are lots of stock photo libraries to choose from too. Just type in free stock photos into your browser, and you’ll find a whole list of sites.
Here’s where making a digital vision board, instead of a traditional one, opens up the possibilities. For my board, I had some general concepts I wanted to convey, but I wasn’t sure exactly what image to use to represent them. Instead of typing in exactly what I wanted in the picture, I was able to just type in the concept. For example, something I want to create for myself is a spiritual community. I wasn’t sure what specific scene I wanted to see in the picture, so I just typed in those words. Pages upon pages of images related to this concept turned up, and I picked the one that spoke most powerfully to me.
I would never have thought to search for hands in the shape of a heart, but as it turns out, this image conveyed all the meaning I wanted to keep in sight.
Of course, you can use pictures you’ve taken yourself too.
How to Build Your Digital Vision Board
You’ll need a graphics program to create your board. I used Adobe Photoshop, but any program or app that works with pictures and allows you to add text is suitable. I’ve also used Canva to create graphics. It’s super easy to use and includes lots of fun fonts and easy-to-add design elements. The program you use doesn’t need to be fancy. All that matters is that you’re comfortable using it.
The first step to creating your digital vision board is to decide on a lay-out. Do you want it to be a collage with pictures and words scattered all around? Or, do you want it to be set-up in sections, one for each sphere of your life? (That’s how I did mine. It helps me see more clearly what I’m envisioning for each dimension.) This is really a matter of personal taste and artistic expression.
Next, just start adding your images. You can play around with their size, orientation, and placement. Clip them, layer them, draw on them…whatever you want.
Then add some words that either inspire you or give clarity to the visual representation of your goals. Some of my words are typed over colored shapes I added, so I can see them better. And I used different fonts and colors for them, to add extra intention and emotion.
And that’s it! Once you’re happy with your finished product, just save it. You can print it out and/or save it to your computer and phone as wallpaper like I did. Just make sure you keep it somewhere you can see it daily. The whole point is to look at it frequently, so you can stay connected to your big vision.
Keep in Mind, Your Digital Vision Board is Just the Beginning
As a side note, I’d like to add the obvious. Just in case it needs to be said. I know some people view vision boards as a manifestation tool, whether that be through a positive or negative lens. While bringing intention and clarity to our dreams can certainly help make them a reality, there’s no question it takes much more than visualization to get there.
A digital vision board is a motivational tool. Making it doesn’t take the place of doing the hard work that’s undoubtedly required to accomplish big things. Its value lies in keeping us focused on what we’re trying to create, and perhaps more importantly, inspired by our vision when we’re in the middle of doing what it takes to make it all happen.
I’ve accomplished a number of really big goals. Finishing college. Raising a child. Building a residential addiction treatment center from the ground up, to name a few. There’s no question it takes a LOT of work, day in and day out, to realize such goals. It’s also true that in the grind of that nitty-gritty daily work is where we often lose sight of what we’re working toward. The bigger picture. It’s where we can get sidetracked or sidelined by life’s hurdles and get discouraged or even give up.
A digital vision board can be that tool that keeps us resilient, positive, and undeterred from our dreams. Even if we take a break or adapt our vision to accommodate a significant change. As I mentioned before, I’ve had this dream of mine since I was a young girl. It’s taken me all these years to get focused on it in a way that’s making it become a reality. I don’t regret my life choices. But I can look back and see that if I’d devoted this sort of intention to my life’s dream years ago, I’d have found a way to make it happen sooner.
That’s the power of a digital vision board. Clarity. Commitment. Motivation. All with a splash of daring and adventurous spirit.
I hope this post has helped inspire you to bring focus and creative intention to your life’s goals and dreams. And that making your own vision board brings you the joy and belief in yourself that mine brought me. May your New Year, your new decade, find you following your bliss.
As an added support for your new year’s intentions, check out my Guided Meditation for Intentional Wellness. It’s a free download that helps you bring daily intention to what’s most supportive of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Just 12 minutes at the start of each day can create powerful shifts in your life.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Are you planning to make a vision board? What big dreams are you creating for your life?