What Is a Vision Board and Why Make One?
Need a more creative way to think through your goals? Vision boards may help.
Posted March 1, 2021 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan
What Is a Vision Board?
A vision board is usually a collage of images that represent goals and dreams. It can include cut-out pictures from magazines and words that help inspire you to manifest your dreams and get where you want to go (here is a complete guide on how to manifest something).
Although vision boarding is a commonly used tool, there is not a lot of research on its effectiveness. Initial research suggests it can help us more easily reach our goals. This may be due to how vision boards help us gain self-awareness and self-reflect on what is important to us.
Vision boards may also help us imagine what a positive future could look like for us. Imagining a positive future is a helpful way to increase positive emotions and optimism. And positive emotions often create opportunities and increase the chances of success.
Even though this research doesn't directly assess the benefits of making a vision board, it suggests that many of the components of vision boarding have potential benefits for our well-being and success. It's just key to remember that vision boards are not magic. Rather, they can help you better understand what it is you'd like to manifest.
Here are some tips to help you make a vision board.
How to Make a Vision Board
Start by exploring your values. If your goals are not aligned with your personal values, achieving these goals won't provide the sense of satisfaction and well-being that you're seeking. Ask yourself, what really matters to you? What gives you meaning? Who do you want to be? Who do you want to help? And how do you want to spend your time? When making a vision board and thinking through your goals, keep these values-focused questions in mind.
Think about what motivates you. If you pursue goals that you find motivating, you'll have an easier time reaching them. So ask yourself, what do you want and why do you want it? Does it have anything to do with your childhood or past experiences? Does it have to do with your personality?
Try to better understand why the goals you've set are so important to you. Or revise them if you discover they are not as important as you once thought.
Set priorities. Sometimes vision boards can end up being a collection of all the goals we aspire to—being rich, beautiful, and successful. If we really want to achieve these goals, we need to be more realistic with them. What can we reasonably accomplish in a year or five years? You can visualize your priorities by focusing a vision board on your most important life goals or by placing them above, in the center, or over a greater majority of the board.
Potential Problems With Vision Boards
Vision boarding is somewhat controversial in the scientific community. Because vision boards are often associated with the "law of attraction," which doesn't have scientific support behind it, many assume vision boards are not a useful tool.
It's true that we don't fully understand the precise benefits of vision boards, but the truth is we don't understand the precise benefits of many tools that are used in coaching, counseling, and psychotherapy. That's because testing each one of these tools without the others is quite burdensome research. Anyway, given we know that the very act of setting goals is better than not setting goals, vision boards are indeed likely to be a useful tool, at least for some people.
Vision Board Ideas
Here are some types of goals that you may want to include in a vision board.
- Social Goals
You can include all of these or make a vision board for each goal, focusing on the details of each. It's up to you. Now it's time to get creative.
Created with content from The Berkeley Well-Being Institute.
Quoidbach, J., Mikolajczak, M., & Gross, J. J. (2015). Positive interventions: An emotion regulation perspective. Psychological bulletin, 141(3), 655.
Burton, L., & Lent, J. (2016). The use of vision boards as a therapeutic intervention. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 11(1), 52-65.
Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success?. Psychological bulletin, 131(6), 803.