By Elizabeth Tripp
Recently, after a painful breakup, I decided to make my very first vision board. I wanted to turn my heartache into an opportunity to build a better, brighter future for myself. Visualization is a powerful mental exercise and has been proven to increase motivation and confidence. I was also looking for a fun distraction; blissfully, creating my vision board took up an entire afternoon.
It was a rewarding experience, and one I encourage all readers to try, especially as we start the new year. While I am still mourning the end of my relationship, I have a newfound appreciation for crafting. It is helping me envision the life I want and deserve. It is helping me heal.
Below is a step-by-step action plan that I created for myself. Feel free to make adjustments as needed.
- Create a productive work environment, whatever that means to you. I know I work best when I am near a window and have my water bottle at hand. I also find joy in playing feminist playlists, such as this one by the National Women’s Law Center.
- Write down a list of your personal and professional goals. I recommend shooting for between 5 to 10 goals in total. Be honest with yourself about what you can accomplish within the next year. At the same time, try not to overthink things. Here are some prompts to consider:
- For your personal goals: What is working and not working in your personal life? Are you surrounding yourself with people who lift you up? Are you taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally? Are you thinking of making any changes to your living space? Are your hobbies fulfilling? … These are my personal goals: Get a hedgehog; improve self-esteem; move to a new apartment; exercise more; start a television/film review blog; and take an online mixology course.
- For your professional goals: What is working and not working in your professional life? What skills do you want to hone? Is your job rewarding? Are you being challenged? Do you feel supported professionally? … These are my professional goals: Complete my thesis and get my master’s degree; secure a full-time job at a reproductive rights/justice organization; and take advantage of networking opportunities.
- Gather supplies. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Poster board
- Old magazines/newspapers
- Optional: stickers, post-its, stationary items, sentimental mementos
Consider how you can visually represent your goals. For example, I used a magazine cut-out of a film projector to signify my desire to start a television and movie review blog.
I am lucky that my mom enjoys crafting and thus had most of the essential materials at hand. If you don’t have access to crafting supplies, try drawing your goals yourself. You can also do a combination of cutting-and-pasting and drawing. (See below for my attempt at a hedgehog drawing.)
- Create a first draft. You’ll want to give yourself the flexibility to make changes, so don’t tape down anything just yet. Otherwise, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Honor whatever expectations and wishes that come up for you.
- Ask someone close to you for feedback. I Facetimed my sister, who knows me better than I know myself. Sharing my goals was somewhat nerve-wracking. It took vulnerability to share that my self-esteem had reached a low point. But the experience was also empowering as I demonstrated my belief in myself and my ability to achieve my dreams.
- Make your final edits before taping everything down. Take a moment to celebrate what you have created. Looking towards your future should be an exciting, hopeful time. Share this feeling with your friends and family by showing them your vision board.
Finally, give it a home. May it take up space in both your home and heart. May it give you the courage and motivation to create the life you want.
Elizabeth Tripp is a pop culture aficionado and a menstrual-activist-in-training. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College.