You may have heard how vision boards can help you reach your life and financial goals.
But you may be wondering what to put on a vision board.
After a couple of decades of researching, testing, and the effects of using visualization to reach goals, I’ll share what I’ve learned so you know just what to put on a vision board to improve the outcome.
Knowing why you’re creating a vision board and how it works will lead you to choose the best things to put on it so let’s start there.
Why Use a Vision Board?
Amazingly, visualizing what we want seems to work. We know this from the many studies that have been done to confirm this fact.
Here’s just one of many examples demonstrating the success of visualization. A computer specialist named Natan Sharansky spent 9 years in prison the USSR after being accused of spying for the U.S. Natan played chess in his mind during his solitary confinement.
Later, Sharansky beat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov in 1996.
There are many such studies involving athletes and even musicians. Many highly successful entrepreneurs claim to have used visualization.
While Natan obviously wasn’t in his prison cell cutting and pasting images onto a vision board, he was visualizing what he wanted in his mind.
How Visions Boards Work
My experience has been that, first of all, sometimes it’s hard to know what we want. And second, it can be hard to imagine what we want.
This is because we are taught at a very young age to be realistic, stop day dreaming, and get back to the math lesson we aren’t interested in anyway.
So, creating a vision board helps us move past this. It helps us define what we want, and how that will look. Then, it engages our visual and tactile senses to stimulate our brains in ways that can bring it to reality.
After you have created a vision board, you can even move into meditation about what you are going to create in your life, another reinforcing behavior, but first, you’ve got to get clear about what that is that you want, and how that looks and feels.
So, the purpose of vision boards is to help you be able to visualize your goals. Doing so helps remove limiting beliefs and stimulates the part of your brain that tells you, subconsciously, what to focus on (Reticular Activating System).
Visualization and Financial Goals
The RAS is particularly alert to survival needs. And since money provides food and shelter, visualization is perfect for reaching financial goals.
You’ll want to put images on your vision board, then, which stimulate your RAS. While it sounds complicated, it isn’t at all and it’s quite fun.
Just think of what you really want. Hopefully, you’ve already created life and financial goals, which are intertwined, so you’ll just proceed from there.
For many people, especially women, it feels wrong to think about what we want. It can feel selfish for invalid reasons. The core of this, for me, was unworthiness, as it is for many women.
So, first we have to allow ourselves to decide and feel deserving of what we want.
Because if we don’t feel worthy of what we want, those limiting beliefs will sabotage any good that may come from creating a vision board.
Now that you’ve addressed that, let’s get on to what to put in a vision board more specifically.
What to Put On Your Vision Board
Vision boards can be created digitally or crafted by hand. Let’s go with the old–fashioned way for now since tactile stimulation can enhance the vision board creation experience.
There are two major things to put on your vision board.
First, you’ll want stimulating images.
Second, you can create documents that represent your goals as you’ll see ahead.
Where to Get Images for a Vision Board
Magazines have become less common, but hopefully you still have a few around. If not, you can use catalogs. Also, most local libraries have old magazines for free.
Of course, you can also choose stocks photos from the millions available online.
How to Choose Images for Your Vision Board
Go through the images and choose the ones that represent your goals. You can be goal specific with your vision board but have images that represent your goals from a broader perspective, as you’ll see below.
Visions Boards Ideas for 3 Financial Goal Examples
At Financial Woman, we focus on financial goals while keeping in mind that life goals and financial goals are intertwined.
So, when deciding what to put on a vision board, you can think of how your life will be when you reach a specific goal.
Financial Goal 1 – Retire at 55 with $ 1,500,000
Let’s say, for example, that you have a goal to save enough money to retire at age 55.
And let’s say that you know the amount for you to retire comfortably is $ 1,000,000 in investments.
In this case, you could create a future spreadsheet or document that lists investments totaling $1,000,000.
You could use images of what your life will be like when you retire. For example, if you’re looking forward to visiting family in another city, you could use images of things you would do in that city.
Or you could put an image of you and your family on your vision board.
Or, like me, if you dream of backpacking in Europe, you can put images to reflect that on your vision board.
Financial Goal 2 – Living Off Investment Income
Maybe you envision investment income from $1,500,000 to cover lifestyle expenses without having to withdraw any savings, providing true financial independence. In this case, you could create a spreadsheet listing income generating assets and the monthly income they each provide.
This was our financial goal when we began our income stream adventure over 15 years ago: income to cover our lifestyle expenses without having to withdraw from savings to live.
Financial Goal 3 – Being Your Own Boss
Another financial goal may be to leave an inflexible and demanding job and become your own boss while covering all your expenses and more.
In this example, you may want to choose images of someone working from home, or traveling in an area which you love with a laptop, indicating locale freedom.
Or perhaps you would choose an image of you working with your ideal client, or hosting a virtual webinar with 200 (or 2,000!) attendees. It’s all about what you want and how you’ll ideally create it.
You could also create a future cash flow statement that shows income covering expenses.
Allow yourself to feel the emotions that would surface from having this extra and flexible income every month.
Stimulate Emotions with a Vision Board
One important element of visualization is stimulating emotions. As you choose what to put on your vision board, notice images that stimulate feelings of joy, peace or excitement.
In each of the above examples, think of how it would feel to do the things represented by the images.
For example, if the outcome of reaching your goal was spending time with family, think of how that experience feels. Love, connection and joy all come to mind if you’re like me.
Engaging Senses When Creating Vision Boards
As mentioned earlier, creating a vision board stimulates visual and tactile senses. Use images on your vision board that stimulate other senses, too, when possible, as well as emotions.
For example, if the outcome of reaching a goal was buying a home, think of every room in that ideal home.
Can you smell your favorite scented candle in the kitchen?
Are you enjoying a steamy bath in your beautiful tub?
What is the view out the window like?
If freedom to take the entire family on a cruise is an outcome of a financial goal, how does the salt water feel on your skin from your day excursion off the ship?
How does the delicious fresh fish taste at dinner?
How does the salty air off your balcony smell and feel?
How does the massage you’re getting in the spa feel?
Can you smell the eucalyptus in the steam sauna?
I’m ready to head to the spa right now after engaging my senses from typing this post!
Now you know what to put on your vision board. Use this creative but powerful tool to guide you to your financial goals.