Vision Boards: Dream Big, Play with Pictures, and Watch your Life Change

by Nora Dunn on 17 February 2008 10 comments
Photo: Dreamnbig

As referenced to in a few previous articles here and here, you have the ability to change your life in amazing ways by opening up your creative juices and dreaming on a grand scale.

A fun way to do this exercise (and something that the whole family can do) is to create a vision board. Here's how:

  1. Get a large piece of cardboard (the bigger the better, but try to make it at least three times bigger than a letter-sized piece of paper) - one for each family member doing this exercise.
  2. Collect all the old magazines you can find. Ask friends for magazines they no longer want, ask the doctor's office for their old ones, and stockpile your own subscriptions. If you can, try to amass a variety of different magazines, and the more pictures they have, the better.
  3. Go through the magazines and cut out pictures of places you want to go to, things you want to have, and images you want to make reality. You can also cut out words that are inspirational, or that represent further things you want to do or be in life. Just cut out anything that speaks to you on any level, even if you can't define it.
  4. Start pasting it all together! Create a collage on the cardboard of your pictures and inspirations. If you can't find pictures but know what you want, then draw it. Be as creative as you like…it isn't homework that the teacher is going to grade you on.
  5. Once complete, leave your vision board in a prominent place where you can look at it. Maybe you want it above your bathroom mirror to admire while you're getting ready in the morning. Maybe beside your bed so you can wake up and go to sleep with those visions in your mind. Maybe the fridge is the perfect place to remind yourself of your goals and dreams.

I did this a few years ago myself, and not only was it just plain fun to do, but I've had a few startling realizations since then. When I created the board, I lived a very urban rich lifestyle. Interestingly none of my pictures were particularly material in nature; I didn't have a big house, fast car, or dollar bills in my vision board. I had a tent on the side of a remote waterfall in the mountains, a fit woman running through a lava field (a North Face running shoe ad), and a pen and paper as three of my prominent images.

lavacrescent falls

Amazingly, the tent image became a reality when I sold everything and moved to the Rocky Mountains last year. The lava field image materialized when I found myself unexpectedly living in Hawaii for six months (where I currently am). And to complete that picture, I have lost weight and become considerably more fit since creating the vision board, and I even have the North Face running shoes (they were a gift). As for the pen and paper, they actually materialized for me as a laptop computer instead, as I travel the world and write for a living.

All this was "dreamed up" while I lived a very different life in a very different place. I had no expectations of that vision board ever becoming a reality; it was really just something fun to do.

But in ways I could never have imagined, envisioning my future with pictures was actually an exercise in creating it.

Additional photo credits: Nora Dunn, Nora Dunn
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Guest's picture

Yes, yes! I have been playing the Prosperity Game (http://www/choosingprosperity.com/game) for about a week now and, while the game is stretching me in many ways and opening up possibilities, I've sensed something missing. Instead of just words, your idea attaches images that go straight to the emotional brain. I'm sure this can be very powerful.
I'm headed to the cellar right now to dig out an old bulletin board that's been knocking around down there. My modification to this project is to use a bulletin board and push-pins--partly because I'm too lazy to paste everything down--and partly because I expect the vision to change wildly as I begin to bring it into form. I'll be moving things back and forth on that board until the image "clicks."
First thing up--a picture of my house--the one I live in now, on thirteen acres in the country in Vermont. It is a dream that has already come true and an inspiration for all kinds of dreaming. "Want what you have" can be the greatest starting point--not that I intend to limit myself to what I can already see!
Thank you for this post, a great start on a grey and icy February morning.

Myscha Theriault's picture

I've done this with and as an individual, but never with a family and usually to see what might be bothering me that I can't identify.

You've used the same activity to figure out a life path. LOVE it!

We've been feeling for a while now that while we love it up here, we really need to be somewhere warm for part of the year, and that there is another level of extreme downsizing / simplification we have to do when we finally get our things out of storage.

Maybe we need to find some old magazines so we can get an even clearer picture.

BTW, I'm really digging these awareness activities you've been posting about.

Guest's picture
Amy

I am working on this project myself and plan to add this to my office space. Thank you for the inspiration!!

Guest's picture

Hey Nora,

Have only been subscribing to WB for like a month, so this may be a stupid reference, but the vision board concept is one of the techniques used by John Assaraf from 'The Secret'. In his case it worked to perfection, in your case it seems to be pretty accurate as well.

I guess I'm going to have to create my own, I already see the images.. now its time to manifest everything.

Nora Dunn's picture

I'm glad you all enjoy the idea! It was featured in the Secret yes, but I actually put together vision boards before I ever discovered The Secret. (Not that it was my idea or anything!)

I approached it less as a way to change my life and more as just a fun thing to do, but the ways in which the vision board became a reality truly surprised me.

And Amy: it's great for the office - what a way to infuse some color and inspiration into your workspace!

Thanks for the comments.  

Guest's picture
Jenny

A friend of mine hosted a party to do this...about 8 girls got together with piles and piles of magazines, then we went around and shared the images. It was great fun, and yes, I learned a lot about myself, too.

Guest's picture
Rabbit

I've heard of this some time ago on another blog and I decided to use my image editing software to make wallpaper for my desktop instead. It saves trees by not needing cardboard or magazines so it's also environmentally friendly as well as being in a place that I will definitely see it every day. Good blog, thanks for posting about this.

Guest's picture
Cass

I loved this post. I just broke out my vision board again about a week ago - I'm still in the process of adding things - but I feel it working, things have come into my life.

Guest's picture

Great reminder to use visual aids in our quest to manifest our goals. I've been using this technique with varying amounts of success for a number of years and have just started to go back to using it on a regular basis. I have been collecting magazines for about two weeks to make up some new boards to post in my home and I like the idea of using the computer to get images as well.

BB

Guest's picture
fleeduggewwip

Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
God will appreciate it.