setting goals, arts-and-crafts style

how to set goals
Create your own future. Put pen to paper and write down your goals!

My favourite part of goal setting is envisioning my life in 10 years. After my first goal-coaching session, I sat down with my notes and wrote out a paragraph about what my life looked like in 10 years. WHOA! Right away, I realized that this vision of Future Desirae's life was the missing ingredient in my previous attempts at goal setting. Having a personal, present tense paragraph about my life in 10 years at the top of my goal sheet was the extra spark of inspiration and motivation that got me hooked on goal setting.

vision board - personal goal setting
Desirae's most recent vision board, as seen hanging on her bedroom wall! Can you spot two yoga poses and her favourite breakfast food?

Now, don't get me wrong -- I love that paragraph as much as I did the first time I sat down to write it, but I've been introduced to another visualization technique that has taken my goal setting (and my bedroom wall!) to the next level: vision boards! I've also heard them called dream maps or just plain old collages, but no matter what you call them, I'm hooked. The concept behind a vision board is the same as a paragraph about your life in one, five or 10 years, but instead of words, you're working with images, which is perfect for a visual learner like me!

how to create a vision board:

1. Find pictures of things, people, places and activities you want in your life. I like to sit down with a stack of magazines (Yoga Journal, O Magazine andW omen's Health always make the cut), some scissors and an afternoon off.

2. Tear out any pictures that resonate with you - some of my favourites include pictures of healthy food, challenging yoga poses, beaches, smiles and books. Once you've created a really big, inspiring mess, it's time for scissors and tape!

3. Grab a bristol board and start arranging all of your photos into a collage.

The end result should be a mish-mash of all of the amazing things you see for yourself in the near or distant future.

As a finishing touch, I like to tie my vision board back to the goals I've set for myself, so I toss some of them on there for good measure. All you need for this last step is a sheet of white paper and something to write with. Just jot down some of your goals, cut them out and add them to the collage! At this point, you not only have an exciting visual representation of your future life, you also have a pretty amazing piece of art to hang on your wall.

And let's be serious, who doesn't love a good arts and crafts session?

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i love this desirae! i’ve been meaning to do a vision board for quite some time now… but i haven’t seemed to find the time. i am inspired and will start gathering my magazines this weekend!

Comment by Marisa — December 18, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

Desirae, I love it! What a good idea! It is sometimes hard to put into words just what you envision your future to be…and we all respond to images. I think I’ll give it a try myself.

Comment by Sarah — December 18, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

Des – great idea to take the act of visualization a step further. I’m a big fan of vision boards too as they are a constant reminder of what you are working towards.

Comment by Lara — December 18, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

It’s so cool to use your right brain this way! Way to go Desirae!

Comment by Kim — December 18, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

I LOVE vison boards!!! I like to laminate mine so that its like an extra commitment to some of those BHAGs that look kinda scary as their by when approaches.

Comment by Brian — December 19, 2009 @ 3:47 am

LOVE this! The best part about a vision board is it’s the first thing I see before bed, and the first thing I see when I wake up. It also allows people to tap into creativity and ideas they have probably never thought of! Greatness Des :)

Comment by Jodie — December 19, 2009 @ 9:39 am

I also love vision boards. This post has inspired me to take another and fresh stab at mine – and to work at ensuring that my goals are baked right in there.

My current vision board is actually text only – and that works for me too write now. I write down all of the “words” that I see associated with my life 1, 5 and 10 years down the road. Nothing is too small or insignificant to write down. It’s a fun exercise to see where you life is heading, and ensure that your goals really truly lead you to the life you want!

Comment by Carolyn — December 19, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

Des I am so proud of you! Very quirky piece, I loved it! xox

Comment by Genevieve — December 19, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

Awesome idea… I have done them before, but haven’t thought about it for awhile!!

Thank you for the reminder!

Comment by Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty — December 20, 2009 @ 10:31 am

Really inspiring piece! I love goal-setting, but had never thought about adding a vision board! Now I’m ready to take scissors to my O magazine. :)

Comment by Stephanie B — December 20, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

good idea and very nice to do!

Comment by clo — December 21, 2009 @ 3:09 am

great idea!

Comment by clo — December 21, 2009 @ 3:09 am

I love it!
Thank you!

Comment by Romina — December 21, 2009 @ 9:13 am

I wish I could add pictures to my comments! You could all see the stick figure drawings I’ve made of the children I would like to raise. :) My “Watts Tots” are very precious to me. Yes. I am officially a dork.

Comment by Elissa Joy — December 21, 2009 @ 10:00 am

Vision boards are a great tool that you can use to achieve success. They are also really fun to create. I highly recommend everyone has their own vision board.

Comment by David Maslow — September 25, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

With 2011 just around the corner, I was revisiting some of your goal-setting posts when I stumbled upon this post. I meant to put a vision board together for 2010 but I never got around to it and you’ve inspired me to do so.

In as quickly as 30 minutes I wrote down all the words I see associated with my life in 1, 5, and 10 years from now and it was really eye-opening. With these words and my goals in mind I’m going to create a kick-ass vision board while I’m on vacation.

Glad I ran into this post again. :)

Comment by Aleksandra S — December 30, 2010 @ 11:38 am

Wonderful to hear Aleksandra! So glad you are putting together an amazing vision board for the new year. We’d love to see it, so be sure to send us a twitpic once it’s done.


Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — December 30, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

This is a great post. I have been trying to do some goal setting lately, but haven’t quite been able to get that “spark” you mention. I will definitely sit down this weekend to try again, using the ideas you posted.
I just stumbled across this website today, and love your well rounded approach to well-being and fitness.

Comment by Michelle M — August 25, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

My life has gone from amazing to toilet bowl in the last two years. I was struggling. Writing out my goals and creating a vision board has me bouncing out of bed in the morning again for the first time in who knows how long, and with a huge smile on my face. Thank you everyone for all the inspiration. Right now my top three Goals: 1 Journal everyday for my daughter until 4/18/12 (her1stbday) 2 Choose a book over TV 4/7 nights to help fall asleep 3 run a 5’45″mile on 11/11/11 :)

Comment by MAX — September 3, 2011 @ 10:24 am

[...] been collecting magazines and organizing pictures for my cool vision-board [...]

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