9 steps to make an effective vision board

Vision board ideas can help you create great results in your life. That is if you use the vision board and the vision board ideas correctly. Making your dream board can be of great inspiration to help you stay focused on your goals.Vision boards are used by almost all successful people because of the motivating and focusing power vision boards have. So, start using your vision board ideas today and read on for the tips:


Maybe you are asking right now what is a vision board, so let’s that answer first. A dream board is a collage of images, pictures, symbols and ideas that will inspire you to pursue your goals and dreams. Vision boards are also called dream boards because they give you the chance of dreaming of your future. But a vision board serves much more purposes than just dreaming about the future, as you will find out in this article.

As said, a vision board is an inspirational collage. The dream board you make will be a visual representation of your future. A tangible representation or idea of where you are going. Vision boards represent your ideal life, your dreams, and your goals. Making a dream board is a fun way to work on establishing a vision for your future. This vision may be about a particular event in your near future or a more general direction you want to take the next few years. A vision board will give you the clarity about where your life is heading to. Instead of living day by day you now have a point on the horizon which will be your beacon.

"Your brain is like a holographic projector. It’s your choice which slide you use to project your life into the world."
- Harry Heijligers

Click to Tweet

You know what they say about pictures, don’t you? A picture can say more than a thousand words. That’s why your brain loves pictures. In fact, pictures are the language of your unconscious mind. And your unconscious mind, if you like it or not, is steering your life. Did you know that most decisions are based on emotions rather than logic? So, if you can steer your unconscious mind in the right direction then you automatically will take decisions which will bring you nearer your goals.

Furthermore, you automatically will help all your unconscious powers to be aligned with the right direction. How often have you experienced that you said to work out more or eat healthier but then very quickly gave up? This inconsistent behavior is caused by the fact that a variety of your unconscious powers had other plans with you. All to protect you of course. But what if your unconscious mind will be set for 100% driving you towards your goals? That would make you extremely successful! Your vision board will help you. Creating a dream board and using your dream board consistently will program your unconscious mind in the right way.

Visualize your Vision Board

Most people use a vision board in a place where they will often see it.

A vision board consists mainly of pictures, but you can also add some keywords that represent your dreams and goals. By placing your dream board in a place where you will often see it, you will be able to start visualizing on it better and better. Frequently visualizing your goals and dreams is a requirement for your unconscious mind to be reprogrammed towards your goals.

A vision board is easy to share with the important people around you.

For every goal you have you need support. And the best way to organize and get that support is to involve your important people in your dreams, goals, and plans as early as possible.

Use your vision board for goal-setting

Vision Board and Goal setting

To be successful and achieve your goals you must at least have your goals top of mind. One way is to write your goals down at least once every day, but another way is to create a visual representation of your goals by making a vision board. This will inspire you to seek ways to get closer to your goals continuously. If you picture your ideal life on a dream board and hang your dream board on a prominent place in your house, then you will consciously and unconsciously see your ideal life a couple of times each day.

This is one of the ways you can use visualization to train your brain to get accustomed to your new situation. Visualization is the language of your unconscious mind so to activate your unconscious mind you have to visualize. It is not enough to say “I want to lose ten pounds.” That’s not something your unconscious mind can process. But if you see an image of yourself being ten pounds slimmer then your unconscious mind will understand the message. Your unconscious mind will let you see new opportunities you have never seen before, and it will ignore distractions which will withhold you from getting slimmer.

So, practice visualization each day. Make it a daily habit. You will become much more motivated to work on your goals. You will see that your vision board will fire up your internal motivation and notice that you will unexpectedly do something different than you are accustomed to. Suddenly you find yourself speaking out at meetings, taking more responsibility, taking more risks and experiencing bigger pay-offs.

Every goal has a multitude of factors which are important to understand and notice. But we as human beings have an insufficient thinking capacity. I don’t say that you are dumb, I only say that we can only focus on seven plus or minus two things at the same time. That’s why a dream board works perfectly for goal-setting because it gives you a chance to work on your goals and vision multiple times. Each time your vision will improve, and your goal-setting will improve.

Furthermore, a vision board will give you the chance to get feedback from people around you which often will lead to new insights with which you can refine your vision and goal-setting.

How to make a vision board that is compelling and motivating?

How to make a vision board

One of the big questions you should ask yourself is how you want to feel. If you had a magic wand and you could choose everything, answer this question:

How do I want to feel in my ideal life?

Now find pictures, images, symbols that represent that feeling. Of course, this might also be multiple feelings. When working on your vision board, you will soon find out that it is impossible to represent “I want not to feel anxious anymore” with an image. This is important to understand. Your unconscious mind cannot process negatives. So, as soon as you start to think about not being anxious then your unconscious mind will immediately create an image of anxiety.

You don’t want this!

So, focus only on positive feelings that you really want! And then find similar pictures, photos, images, symbols and colors for your dream board. To fill your vision board you can use images from magazines or print pictures you find online, or you can draw pictures yourself. It is up to you! There is no right or wrong in making a dream board. As long as it represents your vision of your future, then it doesn’t matter how you do it.

A vision board is an excellent way to work together with multiple people in forming a joint vision of a project for the near future. This might be with your family to plan your next big holiday. Or you can make a vision board together with your colleagues at work to develop a joint vision of where the department should evolve to the next year.

Types of Vision Boards

Vision Boards

Now here is something important. Let’s say that you make a vision board with your spouse and kids to visualize your next holiday trip. You all have done a great job, and the result is astonishing! A very compelling dream board has been created! But hey, what do I see? On the vision board are two images with regards to your ideal career. Also compelling but out of context. What does this do with the overall power of your holiday vision board you think? Exactly! The power of your dream board diminishes when it gets mixed with other not relevant images.

So, decide before you start what the context of your vision board will be.

What type of vision board are you going to make?

  • A Project Vision Board for a well-defined project like your next holiday or a professional project you are working on?
  • A Long-term Life Design Vision Board picturing your ideal future life in 5-10 years time?
  • A Life-area Vision Board picturing your ideal life in a particular area like your health or your education?

A picture may say more than a thousand words, but only if it is the right image.

So, when selecting the images for your dream board, first define as concrete as possible how you want to feel. Then start looking for similar pictures. After having selected twenty or thirty pictures, ask yourself which best represent your ideal feeling. Then only select a few pictures. Fewer is better in this case especially when you selected the best pictures.

Vision Board recipe (9 steps) for an exciting life

Vision Board 9 step recipe

Here is my recipe for making a vision board that will empower and motivate you. Nine steps in three phases:

  • Preparation phase
  • Creation phase
  • Manifestation phase

Vision Board preparation phase

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Step 1: Select a category or context for which you want to create your vision board.

Choose one of the following categories:

  • Love & Romance
  • Wealth & Prosperity
  • Career & Life Path
  • Health & Wellness
  • Mind & Soul
  • Family & community
  • Travel & Adventure
  • Creativity & hobbies
  • Reputation

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Step 2: Define within the chosen category your primary goal you want to achieve next year.

You cannot visualize your goals if you don’t know them, so this is a significant step. If you have chosen your goal you want to make a vision board for, describe it first in concrete terms. This will make it easier to select corresponding pictures in the next step.

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Step 3: Collect a bundle of magazines with beautiful pictures.

This must be a magazine you can use to cut out pictures. Personally, I also cut out pictures from books I own if I find the picture compelling enough, but ok, that’s just me. Another source is the internet. Just search on Google for a term describing your goal. See step 2 for words in your goal description you can use. Then click search and go to the tab Images. Here you find a wealth of images you can choose from for your vision board. Download the image, print it out in full color and put it on your dream board.

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Step 4: Select the images that represent your goals.

Take some time to go through all the magazines you have and search the internet. Make the first selection of 20 to 30 images. Look for the images which immediately inspire and excite you. Remember that the images must resemble your most optimal feeling.

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Step 5: Wait a few days and then make the final selection of the images you want to use for your vision board.

Take the first selection of 20 to 30 images you created in step 4 and narrow them down the best 8 to 10. Go through the images one by one, and only select the images which give you the best feeling.

Vision Board creation phase

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Step 6: Start making your vision board by adding picture by picture to your dream board.

Just buy a large piece of construction or poster paper. Then glue or tape your pictures to the paper. Choose an arrangement of the pictures that most pleases you. Write the creation date on your vision board. This gives you in future times when you look back some perspective on the journey you have already gone in life.

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Step 7: Add some motivational quotes or words that best describe your optimal feeling.

These words represent your core values of your future life. It will be words like powerful, successful, abundance, fearless, pleasure, strong, joy and so on. Think of your desired future with regards to your chosen goal and decide what your core values should be and write them on your vision board.

Vision Board manifestation phase

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Step 8: Now you have created your vision board, it is the time that you start to manifest your vision board.

Take a few moments to contemplate on your vision board every day. Place your vision board in a place where you will see it a couple of times every day. Make it a daily habit to consciously watch your dream board. Even better would be if you would watch your vision board twice a day: just after you’ve got up in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. When watching your vision board say a few positive affirmations to yourself which confirm your goals. And if you watch your vision board at the end of the day, evaluate the events of that day as a living proof of you manifesting your dream board.

A vision board helps you to remind you every day of what is important to you. A dream board will make it easier for you to take the right decisions. Better decisions will lead to better results. A vision board will also give you the chance to evaluate your decisions and actions on a day to day basis and learn from it.

Your vision board will also become your beacon in times that you have lost faith in yourself or your goals (or both).Looking and studying your vision board in your daily routine will then give you extra inspiration to push through tough times.Don’t give up on your goals and dreams! Instead, use your vision board to guide you through dark times.

Anacoluthon rhetorical devices steps

Step 9: After some time your vision board might need an update.

See it as a 2.0 or 3.0 version of your dream board. Dependent from situation to situation, this might be after a couple of months or maybe after a year. But somewhere in the future, you will find that your vision board is not as compelling as it was. Most of the time this is because you have already achieved on or more of the goals but it might also be that your life has evolved and took another turn and the goals on the vision board are maybe not fulfilled completely, but they are also not valid anymore. Then you know that it is time to either update your vision board or make a completely new dream board.

Vision Board examples

Vision Board Examples

To give you a feeling of how vision boards can look like I give you two vision board examples of my personal life.

You can use this as a template to create your inspiration board.

The first vision board example I made 15 years ago in what now seems like another life:

Vision Board Examples 2

As you can see, I collected pictures from magazines and some of my photographs.

Here is another example I made for a project I was working on, but this time I made the vision board on my computer and printed it out later:

Vision Board Examples 1


Vision Board Conclusion

As you have seen in this article vision boards are a powerful tool for you to gain focus and motivation to work on your short-term and long-term goals. Your vision board will help you stay focused and motivated even when distractions and setbacks arise on your way to your goal (which is a fact of life). You have learned the 9 steps for making a vision board that gives you the best results. So, start making your vision board right now and use it every day until you have achieved your goals!

How to use the anacoluthon to bypass the critical mind of your Stakeholders - Complete Guide

Get More Influence over your Stakeholders with this FREE Complete Guide on the Anacoluthon Rhetorical Device

Will you also benefit from making a vision board?

To conclude this article, I want to warn you that visualization alone is not a guarantee for success. Our Olympic skier can be the greatest expert in creative visualization techniques, but without any physical workout, he will never win a race of course. It is the combination of the right creative visualization techniques and the right amount of action and the right amount of focus and persistence that will guarantee your success. 

Create Aha moments by visualizing situations upfront, so that you are well prepared for when they will happen in real life!

Click to Tweet
Smart Leadership Hut Feedback
Over to you

Please share in the comments box below how you are using creative visualization techniques yourself, so that we could all benefit from your learnings!


Until we meet again: Happy Visualizing and ... Stay Focused!

Harry Heijligers handtekening

About Harry Heijligers.

Harry Heijligers has been a project manager for more than 25 years and a NLP trainer and mental coach for more than 17 years.

On his website SmartLeadershipHut.com he writes about personal transformation and becoming successful in whatever dream you pursue.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}