Here's How To Take Your Vision Board To The Next Level

Throw the board away, actually. Your vision deserves a whole journal.


First and foremost, I'm not sure who needs to read this but this past year should not be the reason why you've decided to lower your goals or not set any at all for the one that's coming. Now more than ever, we realize how nothing should be taken for granted, how unpredictable life is, let alone how little control we have over it. All of which can be scary.

Yet, looking at the bright side of the current situation we live in, I believe that 2020 can also be seen as this evidence that anything, literally anything, can happen.

Everything is possible and that, my dear, if you put the right strategy in place, includes fulfilling your goals and dreams—regardless of the circumstances. Speaking of strategy, among other things, mine includes creating a vision board. Not the usual type of vision board, though. An upgraded version—more effective.

The Original Vision Board: What Is It & How To Make One

In case you're being introduced to the concept for the first time through this article, a vision board is a collage of words and images—and anything else you'd like to add to it—that mirror one's aspirations and desires: a flat stomach, a new car, a career in acting, building a home and family... It's a law of attraction technique commonly used at the beginning of a new year destined to help you achieve any of your goals through inspiration, motivation, and most importantly, visualization. Vision boards have proven to be extremely powerful; numerous success stories can be found on YouTube.

Back in the day, creating a vision board was simple. All it required was a few supplies—a pair of scissors, a stick of glue or double tape, some pens and sharpies, several of your favorite magazines from which you'd crop words and images, and finally, a blank canvas to decorate with those. Add to that two to three hours of your time, and you've got yourself a vision board.

But as the concept started gaining more popularity, people began adding their own twists to the creation process, like using different physical mediums, printing their own images...even adding more rules to follow to make sure manifestation occurs, which requires much more intentional work.

With that being said, not enough work for me. At least not anymore.

Let me explain.

How To Take Your Vision Board To The Next Level


Writer Savannah Taïder for xoNecole

I've been making this kind of collage for five years now, diligently applying every tip and trick that I'd come across over time.

I was able to witness a lot of my goals manifest, but I deeply believe more of my dreams could've come to life if it wasn't because of this one flaw vision boards have.

Indeed, I've noticed that once our vision boards are completed, all we can do is think back on them and reflect. In the very beginning of the year, it's something that we do every day. Yet after a while, even if we make sure to display them in a strategic place in our homes, eventually we don't see them anymore; and if we ever take a look in their direction, it's rarely on purpose.

If that doesn't f*ck up the entire manifestation process in itself, it certainly slows it down a whole lot because how are we supposed to manifest the things that don't even hold our attention?

Recently, as I was scrolling down my Twitter timeline, I found myself very inspired by one of my friends' goal-crushing tips. In her tweet, she was briefly breaking down the strategy that she's going to use to achieve her goals in 2021. The latter turns out to be super simple: create a to-do list for every goal pictured on her vision board. Talk about a brilliant idea.

If you want to ensure that your vision board works its magic all year long and beyond, take it to the next level by following this step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Define Your Vision

I've been debating whether I should make this part the first or second step for a good minute until I finally opted for the former. Indeed, as mentioned earlier, vision boards shouldn't just be random artistic collages. In order to work, they must be created with a lot of intention. Therefore, I believe that before partaking in such an activity, we must have a clear, well-defined vision of our desires.

For some reason, this step is the longest and most complicated part of the process. As easy as daydreaming about the life we long for can be, when it comes to taking our fantasies seriously and believing that we can, it can get a bit intimidating. Some people can barely tell what they want in life. If this is your case, here's a short list of questions that should help you figure it out:

  • What are the things you enjoy? What are your passions?
  • What makes you feel alive?
  • What would you like to try that you've never tried before?
  • If you had no limits, what would you like to achieve?
  • What's the meaning behind the things that you want to manifest? Do they have meaning to you or someone else?
  • What truly brings you a sense of purpose?
  • What are the things that you need?
  • How hard are you willing to work to fulfill your dreams?
  • What are the dreams you doubt your ability to fulfill but are willing to let God or the Universe help you with?
  • What would your six-year old self want to see you do? Who would she want you to be?

If I can give you one piece of advice, when defining your vision, "never downgrade it to fit your reality." As Stuart Scott once said, "Upgrade your convictions to match your destiny."

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies


Writer Savannah Taïder for xoNecole

The list of materials you'll need is pretty much what you would need for the original vision board. Except, for this upgraded version, you will also look for images in places other than magazines—that is to say the Internet, so you can add a printer to the list—and we will trade the board for a refillable journal or a planner binder. The decision for dimensions (A4, A5...) is yours to make. The purpose of using such kind of medium is to make you able to 1) carry your vision board everywhere with you and 2) move or add pages when necessary.

As far as images, because precision is key when manifesting, you don't want to limit your possibilities to find exact representations of your vision by searching magazines only. If the intention is to manifest a trip to the Giraffe Manor in Kenya, characterizing this goal by the portrait of a woman boarding a plane because that's the most accurate image you were able to find inside of a magazine isn't the way to do it. Search Google or your favorite social media platforms. Most of the time, they will provide you with the exact pictures that you need. Moreover, if you happen to be Photoshop- or Canva-savvy, do not hesitate to create your own images and add yourself to them—just like you should put a photo of yourself at the center of your vision board as well.

Step 3: Set Up Your Journal

The latter will be divided into two main sections. This is not a requirement but I suggest using dividers for better organization. The first section will serve as an introduction and an overview of your vision as a whole. Following the same order, it should contain:

  • An overall vision board: Use two facing pages or more to glue all the visual materials that you've collected.
  • A list of all your goals: Although images speak louder than words, they might not always say the right things. Writing down a list of your goals will help maintain your focus on what the real intention is as well as keep track of the things that you've accomplished.
  • An About Me page: Your About Me page is a journal prompt that should be taken very seriously. This self-introduction must be written as though you're already living your best life, using the present tense and positive words only. Who are you becoming as you're fulfilling all your dreams? What state of mind are you in? What opportunities are coming your way? What are you letting go of? This technique is called scripting, manifesting through written affirmations.

Writer Savannah Taïder for xoNecole

The second section is meant for you to concentrate on each one of your goals individually and hold you accountable. This is where the vision board that was initially just a piece of art on the wall becomes a real (daily or almost) manifestation exercise. Again, it's best to use dividers for clarity purposes. For example, you can divide this section to suit every area of life you've set yourself goals for: love and relationships, health, career, passions, etc. Then for each goal, you must:

  • Create a more specific vision board: The first vision board that you made was an overall one. It was a general representation of your vision. Now, you must create individual vision boards specific to each goal to narrow down your vision and make it even more accurate. For example, let's say that you put a house on your overall vision board because your desire is to acquire your first property. This means that the vision board related to this goal should contain pictures of the furniture that you want, kitchen or bathroom designs, bedroom arrangements, etc.
  • Write down your why: Speaking from experience, I can tell you that whenever you feel like giving up, your why is the only thing that will keep you going. Write it down on a page corner close to your goals as a motivational reminder.
  • Develop your game plan: How do you plan to accomplish your goals? What actions do you need to take? Did you set yourself a deadline? This is where a to-do list and a schedule come in handy. Both will hold you accountable and make your life easier. The best way to accomplish a huge task is by breaking it down into smaller ones. The best way to prevent procrastination is to establish a calendar.
  • Be mindful of your struggles and fears: Along the way, you'll experience some struggles and sometimes be pushed to the edge of fear. You'll see that the journey to achieving a goal rarely is a peaceful one. It comes with tons of setbacks and bumps in the road. When this happens, it's tempting to want to back out. Don't. Instead, try to be mindful of what your fears and struggles are; list them down in your journal, study them until you get a grip on them. Once it's done, create another list this time made of affirmations and solutions to overcome your hardships. Refer to those whenever you feel stuck.
  • Journal your journey: This one is a bonus in case you enjoy writing and find documenting your life exciting. Who knows, maybe someday you can turn it into a novel or a memoir. Or use it on your lowest days to remind yourself of how powerful you are.

I believe it's important to wrap up this step-by-step guide to creating a vision board by telling you this: It's possible that your vision doesn't manifest exactly as you want it to or take more time than initially planned to do so.

While the achievement of your goals mostly depends on you, I also think that God and the Universe have their say—if not the final say, period. With that being said, it's crucial to remain positive about your goals at all times. Learn the lessons they're supposed to teach you and trust that everything happens when it needs to happen and the way it needs to happen.

Furthermore, if your goals don't manifest within the different timeframes that you've set for each, it's not necessarily a sign that your vision board is dysfunctional. Some of my goals that I displayed on my 2017 vision board manifested no later than 2019. Sometimes the seeds that you plant require more time than you think to break the ground. Keep watering them anyway.

My last piece of advice would be to keep all the vision boards and journals that you've worked on in a safe place. You never really know when your dreams will become reality. But when they do, it feels magical to be able to look back and say "I finally made it."

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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