New Years has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the celebrations and fireworks and I love a chance to have a fresh start and to create new resolutions for that year. This year however all of my goals went out the window by March when quarantine officially started here in the US. I felt a lot of guilt not being motivated enough or not having enough energy to focus on those resolutions which caused my quarantine to be more stressful than it should have been. However, I realize now that these feelings are not unique to 2020 alone. Every year I create a long list of resolutions and SMART goals for me to accomplish during that year but when time goes on, I lose motivation to accomplish them. That is why this year I am ditching the old tradition of resolutions and replacing it with something that tends to be more helpful in the long run, a classic vision board.
I know people who create vision boards for home renovations, but they can also be extremely helpful for planning what you want your future to look like. They are all about visualizing who you want to become rather than setting deadlines or resolutions. Olympic athletes, world class chess players, and even Muhammad Ali all use(d) visualizing as a tactic to improve their future. The reason this works is because “mental imagery” causes your brain to become more motivated, more attentive, and better at planning which in turn helps you become the person you want to become (Read this article for more). So where do vision boards come in? Well, vision boards can help you visualize everyday by creating a physical reminder of how you want your future to be. They are less confining than the classic resolution because they do not have to be finished by a specific time. They are creating the general picture of where you want to be in the next few years.
So where to begin? When making a vision board the most important part is to focus on feelings rather than set a list of goals. For example, I might put quotes from my favorite book that motivated and inspired me. I also might pick a picture from my trip to North Carolina because I want to have that same relaxed and spontaneous feeling that I had there more in my everyday life. If you focus on feelings rather than objectives to gain, you will leave everyday feeling more motivated and happier; this creates the space for you to then work toward those goals. The best part about a vision board is that what you put on it and what you want to focus on is completely up to you! If you want to focus on your education, put something that made you want to learn on your board. Health? Put a picture from the time when you felt the most healthy (and I mean truly healthy – not necessarily a certain size or weight). A vision board can help focus our efforts on feelings rather than to-do lists, allowing us to have less guilt when we have an off day! When you start to focus on feelings, you are more likely to make things happen in your everyday life because you are motivated by strong emotional connections to happy moments in your past.
I hope this helps you have a happier and more creative start to 2021! I’ll be sharing my own vision board on Instagram and I’d love to see your creations, so be sure to tag me @michela.wilson. I wish you all a very happy and hopeful 2021!