Forget making a list of all the things you need to give up- a vision board is the most positive way to kickstart the new year. Here’s why, and how, a vision board could be a new year gamechanger…

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New Year’s resolutions may mean well, but there’s something about writing down a list of all the things you need to stop, improve, start doing or temporarily give up that feels more than a little ‘fun sponge’, and I know that almost immediately after I’ve written such a list, I’m tempted to rebel against it, just because. In short, new year’s resolutions rarely provide the motivation or positivity required to really spark change and make you feel excited for the months to come. How about if, instead, we put our hopes and goals out there in a more intuitive, creative and galvanizing way? Enter the vision board.

What is a vision board?

Essentially it’s whatever you want it to be (vague I know), but the basic concept involves making an image and text ‘collage’ for the year ahead. The idea is to combine imagery and writing that both captures your imagination and represents how you want to feel, where you want to go and what you’d like to achieve in the coming year. Clinical Hypnotherapist and Master Life Coach Jacqueline Hurst  has a few tips on getting started:

“Grab a pile of magazines, personal photos or any pictures that appeal to you and represent what you want to attract, and start working on your board organically. Don’t overplan or overthink it, just let the ideas come to you as you go. If you see something and are inspired by it, put it down! Tear things out, don’t censor yourself and really go for it.”

Why should I make one?

Before you write off the vision board as a teenage art project, it might be worth considering that the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and many an Olympic athlete use vision boards to mentally map out their aims and ambitions, not to mention get to the bottom of what it is they actually want (a list of resolutions can be remarkably impersonal; a patchwork of imagery and curated text can be much more revealing). Jacqueline makes the case for getting busy with the Pritt Stick:

“A vision board is a manifestation of your real intentions and desires. I truly believe that if you’re putting it out there into the universe with passion, it’ll come back to you. A vision board is a tangible reflection of what you want in your life, and the more you meditate on this, the more you’ll believe in yourself and your purpose, and the more you’ll achieve. A vision board can create a positive belief system that’s very powerful. Whenever you look at it you’ll be reminded of what you’re going for.”

What are the main advantages of making vision boards over New Year’s resolutions?

Jacqueline emphasises that it’s all about the energy:

“I think that a vision board is a totally different thing to a New Year’s resolution. By making a vision board you’re channelling positive energy and taking action towards getting towards your goals even in the process of making it.”

“I first came across tools such as vision boards during my training in Miami, and I’ve got to admit I was skeptical about the idea of expressing your aspirations in this way and getting something back, but I’ve seen it work so many times, with people’s lives aligning themselves with their vision boards and positive affirmations to such a degree that you really couldn’t make it up. I’ve seen it work in my own life, and if I have clients coming to me with their vision boards, or ideas for one, and I say go for it. It’s not necessarily something I discuss all the time or would ‘prescribe’, as it’s a very personal activity, but there’s no doubt that it works and can be so important for positive visualisation.”

“Take the case of injured athletes. A vision board channels positive energy; even if they’re out of action physically, they’re still playing the game in their mind, so their positive outlook means that they’re still winning when they return to their sport, despite the physical setback.”

Should I make a vision board for different aspects of my life?

It’s very much up to you, but Jacqueline recommends adding everything to the one board, as life can be difficult to ‘categorise’, and one element will almost always have an impact on another. Also don’t get too overwhelmed by very long-term goals- stick to a year to make your board as motivating as possible, plus you’ll be able to reflect on it more easily afterwards. Don’t worry about what your board looks like (no GCSE art teacher to burst your bubble here); as long as you ‘feel’ it, it’s doing what it needs to do.

Should I edit it throughout the year?

Jacqueline thinks that there’s power in leaving your vision board once it’s complete; you’ve put it out there and can mull over what’s on there as the year goes by. Display it somewhere you’ll see it regularly and it’ll inspire you to take action to achieve your intentions throughout the day, week, month and year. You’ll find that you move towards your goals more subconsciously than if you’d jotted down a strict list, which is freeing and exhilarating.

I like the idea of a vision board, but I’m not sure I’ve got the time to make one…

First off, Jacqueline highlights that compiling a vision board is a really fun experience:

“I made one last year, and it was a really enjoyable afternoon. I got a load of different types of magazines, took some time for myself, sat down and thought about it and put it together as I wanted it. I’ve just looked back on it and it’s almost spooky how much of it I actually made happen. It’s such a compelling tool, but don’t forget that it’s a lot of fun too.”

“If sitting down and cutting and pasting isn’t an option, I don’t see why you can’t create a vision board on Pinterest too, as long as you’re looking at it regularly. If you’re an avid Pinterest user, go for it. Wherever you’ll take it in and source inspiration from it, do it there.”

I want a million pounds by next year. Can a vision board make it happen?

Well, yes, but in a way you need to show your ‘working out’. A vision board isn’t a wish list, but a positive catalyst for action. It doesn’t need to be logical or ‘sensible’, but it does need to impel you to work towards what it is you’re aiming for in different areas of your life. Add what genuinely excites you, rather than what you think you ‘ought’ to be aiming for or stereotypical ‘milestones’. Having an image in your mind helps you picture vividly where you’d like to be in a way that rule-like resolutions might not, and no two vision boards will ever be the same, which takes the competitive element or prospect of failure out of the equation. A vision board is all about adding colour and energy to your life, and in the end concrete achievement is a bonus.

Will you be creating a vision board? Let us know your ideas by tweeting  @GetTheGloss

Follow Jacqueline on Instagram  @jacqueline_hurst_ and  find out more about her Life Class here

Follow Anna on Instagram  @annyhunter