I love that vision boarding is becoming very mainstream. It forces people to think about how they want their preferred future to look. That is good!
For the non-indoctrinated, vision boards or dream boards are typically collage-style posters upon which people cut and paste images that represent the things they want in life. It’s something that’s been done using magazines, scissors & glue and now is also being done digitally.
The idea behind this is simple. Vision boards show the things you want in life – houses, cars, boats, money… even relationship and other status items – on one poster. Upon completing the board, you hang it up so that you can constantly see the things you want, which will help you manifest it into reality.
Simple and straightforward enough.
Yet, use with caution!
There’s 2 inherent problems with vision boarding if you want it to help you acquire the things on the board.
Dr. Emily Balcetis from New York University concentrates her research around how vision affects our goals & goal achievement. Her studies show that vision boards can be ineffective, if not harmful in helping you actually achieve those pictures. Her findings highlight these two potential problems:
Dr. Balcetis says that doing the vision boards can kill your motivation and desire to achieve those things. She’s found that our mind will respond with the same emotions and chemical releases from us visualizing having those items just as it would if we actually earned them in real life.
In short, you get the same mental & emotional satisfaction, joy, etc. in visualizing as you would in the achievement. Dr. Balcetis then says that our minds will perform as if those things were reality, thus not providing the requisite motivation to do the action to achieve it.
It’s like you do the vision board and your mind goes “Oh, yeah, this feels nice. Great work.” It acts – releasing chemicals and creating the emotions – as if you actually had that multi-million dollar house or the jet and turning off the motivating chemicals & emotions to actually earn it.
There’s two common directives in the vision board process. The first is to create the vision board. The second is to display it so that you constantly see it. The purpose of the display is that the poster will be a visual reminder of what you want and therefore, increase motivation to get it.
The first problem above talks about the pitfalls of using the board for motivation, yet let’s assume that it does motivate you (which it can… continue reading). The 2nd problem Dr. Balcetis points out that overtime the vision board on display fades into the background, it no longer catches our attention and therefore, doesn’t induce motivation.
We know this to be true. When was the last time you really noticed & appreciated the pictures on your walls? Problem has been a minute unless something drew your attention to it. Same can happen to our vision boards.
Here’s what to do
Confession: I do vision boards and advocate for them. Why? They can be quite effective when you use them with the techniques below.
Remember problem #1: when your mind thinks you’ve achieved it, you don’t have the motivation to actually go get it. That’s true. Yet, what is powerful is creating the belief that you actually CAN achieve it.
#1. Create the vision board and truly visualize what it will look like when you have it. Close your eyes and create a full immersive experience imagining that you’re in this vision. This will trick your mind that you have it.
#2. Then, shift that vision from looking at it from your own eyes to seeing yourself in the image. You’re technically disassociating yourself from the achievement. That disassociation tricks your mind once again that you haven’t achieved it yet. Though, because you can see yourself with it, you become even more motivated to go out and make it happen.
#3. From there, display the board in your home or office. Don’t allow it to become wallpaper. Make time weekly or more, to notice and reconnect with seeing the image of you having it to remind yourself that not only is it possible, you’re actually on the way to achieving it.
Have fun with the vision boards this year. Be sure to use them to effectively manifest those collages into real life. Happy art & crafting!