Sunday, December 28, 2014

Five Keys to Creating a Vision Board

One of my favorite things to do around the New Year is update my vision board.

This year I had some new things that I wanted to add and some things that I was able to take off of my board because I have achieved them.                                                             

My previous board was on a huge poster board. A few things that I have accomplished that were on my board are: to go kayaking, have my own office and open a business.

This year, I decided to make a smaller board with fewer pictures. I wanted to make the board really focused and more specific.

I selected a few specific things that I want to achieve and work on this year. It definitely evokes a different feeling than the old board. To me, it says "action."

Some of the things on my board are: get published, see U2 on their 2015 tour, spend more time with my nieces and nephews, kayaking trips, grow my business and surround myself with positive people.

Vision boards are utilized by many successful and influential people.

The object of a vision board is to create a picture of your goals and desires. For those who consider themselves a "visual person," they can be a powerful tool. Visualization can help bring your dreams to life.

Aesthetically pleasing images and words can convey a personal message and energize and motivate you. Not only is the final product a motivating factor, but the discovery process along the way is a significant part of goal setting and creating the life that you want.       

To help you get started, here are five keys to making a vision board:

1. Create Something Meaningful for You

Anything that you choose to include on your board should speak to you. Use images that strike a chord inside of you.

A vision board is personal and individualized. The key is to create something meaningful and useful for you. You can create a board that has few pictures or many pictures.

It is important to ask yourself questions when thinking about what you want on your board. What does your ideal life look like? What's on your bucket list? What blessings do you have now that you want to see continue to blossom?

2. Take Your Time and Be Intentional

The most popular way to create a board is to gather a stack of magazines and flip through them to clip out any phrases or pictures that jump out at you. I encourage an alternative approach.

I find it much more useful to select my own images by gathering and printing them out. I encourage you to take some time gathering some photos that are relevant and meaningful to you. You can gather them from magazines over time, search for images online, or even use your own photographs.

It can take days or weeks to gather the pictures that you want to use for the project. I suggest creating a folder on your computer and taking time to gather images that you want to use for your board. The more thought you put into your board, the more useful it will be for you. 

Part of the power in creating a vision board is allowing yourself to think and evaluate your current self and who you want to become.

When you do gather your images, you can still pick and choose what images you would like to include in the final product. As you are putting it together, see which pictures convey the most meaning to you.

3. Incorporate Words                                                               

It can be useful to include words or quotations when creating your vision board. Words can be a beneficial tool to emphasize a principle or concept that's important to you.

Adjectives like, "success" and "gratitude" can be a clear and concise way to convey your purpose and desires. Words or phrases can help inspire you and evoke just as much emotion as a picture.

Quotations can also be great to include. Whether they are words of guidance that you live by, or quotations involving certain areas that you want to improve upon, think about what quotations might be a good to include on your board.

4. Just Do It

Quit talking about it and saying that you should create a vision board. Just create one. Take some time to let yourself dream. Think about what's important to you and what you want to achieve.

It can be an enlightening and grounding experience to create a vision board. Making one lets you tap into your artistic side. When is the last time that you have devoted your energy to dream and lay out a vision for yourself?

Making a vision board can be a lot of fun. Make the decision to try it and then just do it! Take charge of your life. Take the step to create a vision for your goals and manifest the life that you want.

5. Come Back to It Often

The purpose of a vision board is to use it as a reminder of your goals and dreams. A vision board can help be a reminder and ground you. For best results, keep your vision board where you will see it often.

Over time, you will find that there are goals that you accomplish and can take off the board. Or, there will be goals that you want to add. Then, there will be some things that will remain on your vision boards over the years.

It's good to do an assessment every so often and recreate the board when you are moved to. I find that it is beneficial to do every one to two years. Save your old boards if you can, or take photos of them. They will all tell a story of the person that you strive to be. It will feel great when you see how far you've come.

Happy visualizing!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

New Year's Resolutions: Why You Should Make One

The New Year is just around the corner. The days left in the year are quickly diminishing and so you may be starting to think about resolutions for the upcoming year and reflecting on the resolutions that you made last year. 

Maybe you planned to start a workout routine and eventually fit into your old jeans. Or, maybe you resolved to be more organized. Maybe you wanted to read a book every month, or read to your kids every night.

Whatever it was that you wanted to do or do better this year, you are probably at least somewhat disappointed in yourself that you didn’t fully follow through. 

You might have worked out five days a week for the first six weeks, but then you started slacking. You might have read five books this year, but you didn’t read one every month. You might have reorganized your house and bought more shelving for your storage room, but you still had a hard time keeping it organized.

It is discouraging to look back at the past year or years and feel that you have not accomplished as much as you wish you had. You may even feel like New Year’s resolutions are bound to fail and that it is just pointless to keep making them. 

New Year’s resolutions are commonly joked about and scoffed at by some. Those who set them often start out highly motivated and determined and then quickly lose steam and “fall off the wagon.” 

You might not want to make a resolution, because if you do, it is almost a guarantee that you won’t fully succeed.

If they are worthwhile, New Year’s resolutions are challenging to stick to for good reason. They are hard to stick to for the same reason that they have been hard to stick to before making them. They are personal and important to us, though we have not been able to fully put them into practice for some reason or another. They are significant enough to be our personal focus for an entire year.

Though you may have not fully followed through, there is probably some part of your New Year’s resolution from the past year or years that made you a better person. 

Maybe you did not work out five days a week, but tried yoga for the first time and began going to a class on a couple of days a week. Maybe you did not read to your kids every night, but you read to them more than you did the year before. 

Or, perhaps it was just an overall tone that was set for the whole year. Perhaps, you tried harder to think positive, or worked on not gossiping so much about others. 

Just because you did not fully accomplish your resolution this year, does not mean that you should give up on making one for next year.

If you desire to live a fulfilling life and continuously strive to be a better version of you, it is important to set goals for yourself. New Year’s resolutions give you focus and intent for the year ahead and call attention to what you would like to improve upon. 

A popular quote from Zig Ziglar states, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing- that’s why we recommend it daily.”

It can be easier to set smaller goals throughout the year rather than try to narrow in on one big resolution. A good resolution can be something simple like drinking more water or making your bed every morning. A resolution is considered “good” not if you follow through, but if it involves working on something that will improve your life or the lives of others around you.

Many critics will say that New Year’s resolutions are limiting, because you should be trying to better yourself all year and not just at the time of the New Year. But, the end of the year is a great time for reflection and evaluation of your goals and desires. It is a time to think about the big picture and to pinpoint what it really is that is important to you and where you could improve upon your life for the future. 

The New Year offers a fresh start, much like a Monday, or a new day. In a way, the New Year feels like a blank slate to begin again.

So, do yourself a favor and make a resolution. 

Take some time out of your busy schedule to assess the current state of your life and to envision where you want to see yourself in the future. 

Resolve not to give up on yourself and what is important to you. Resolve to work towards a better version of you. Resolve to take this opportunity to start fresh and make this coming year better than the last.

Wishing you a Happy New Year!