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Meet your goals through vision-boarding

Elise Stephens blogs about relationships, life, and inspiration at www.elisestephens.com. She received the Eugene Van Buren Prize for Fiction from the University of Washington in 2007. Her novel Moonlight and Oranges was a quarter-final...

How images sharpen your focus

Goals come to life when they have a visual component. Affirmations on a Post-it note next to your computer can serve as great reminders — I’ve definitely used them — but a collage of images that represents the life you dream of will boost your goals nearer to your heart and mind, making them much more effective.

Women Goals

The image hunt

If you already subscribe to magazines, this part might be easy. Gather a stack of magazines for your collage. Clothing catalogs are good for faces and depictions of relationships. Home and lifestyle magazines are good for pretty settings and decor. You can ask your doctors' offices if you can take their old magazines off their hands, or even tell your friends you're collecting them. In a pinch, you can even print off internet images, but I prefer magazines for their glossy paper. Do whatever you need to get your hands on these visual materials.

Write your road map

Once you have your images, write down your goals, aspirations, milestones, etc. A few examples are: "run a marathon" or "make five dollars more per hour at my job" or "find a mentor" or "eat vegetables twice a day." You can make as many of these as you want, but I suggest limiting it to 10 per vision board. Also, make sure these are tangible goals with indicators that you can measure (e.g. don't say "lose weight," say "lose five pounds"). Once you have your goals, write them on small bits of paper and spread them out in front of you. Read them several times before opening your magazines.

Scissors and imagination

Keeping in mind one or two goals at a time, scan your magazines for images that represent them to you. If your goal is to run a marathon, a photo of a woman sprinting down a road in her athletic shoes is probably a good fit. A picture of a delicious looking salad may inspire you toward a healthy eating goal. However, if your goal is to get a raise at work, this might be a more challenging image to find. For this kind of goal, I look for images that portray excitement, satisfaction or confidence. It can take a few hours of browsing before you find all the images you need to match your goals, but don't lose heart! This is worth it!

Paste and hang

There are multiple ways to hang your vision board. Once you've found your images, attach the strip of paper with your goal to its image with tape or glue. You can mount your images on a bulletin board or tape them all together and hang them with thumb tacks. I have a friend who keeps hers in her bedroom closet where she sees it each morning. Make sure your vision board hangs somewhere you'll see it regularly.

Each step of this process will enrich your goals. A completed vision board is a powerful, inspiring tool, and it will forge new paths of possibility that begin inside you, then branch into the wide world of opportunity. I wish you and your dreams the very best!

More on setting goals

Self-compassion helps you reach your goals
30 Day guide to reach your goals

Future forecast setting goals with your partner

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