Here's How To Take Your Vision Board To The Next Level
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 this year can also be seen as 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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Featured image by Shutterstock
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The most Gemini woman you'll ever meet. Communications & community enthusiast, I run a media platform centered around spirituality, and I'm always looking to connect with fellow creatives. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @savannahtaider
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7 Sex-Related Problems That Ruin Sex (And Possibly Your Relationship)
Not too long ago, while in an interview, someone asked me to define one of the main purposes of sex in a long-term relationship: “Probably the most intimate form of communication that we have is sex because it’s an act that connects one’s physical, mental and emotional state to another human being simultaneously — and communication doesn’t get much more profound than that.”
That’s part of the reason why the term “casual sex” irks me to the billionth degree (check out “We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'”); it’s because, even if you think that sex with someone is next-to-nothing, there is so much going on within you (oxytocin highs, if you’re unprotected, fluid bonding, chemical reactions in your brain, etc.) that doesn’t know if someone is “the one” (in your mind) or not. So, in many ways, it acts like they are (check out this YouTube video from a Catholic woman who studies some unexpected ways that sex affects us physically here; sex goes deep, y’all!).
Yeah, sex is so much more than a notion, and that’s why I’m a firm believer that it is such a barometer for long-term relationships overall — because, as I’ve shared before, I once read that, “Good sex in a relationship is 10 percent of the relationship while bad sex in a relationship is 90 percent of the relationship because sex tends to set the tone for what’s happening in the rest of the house.”
And that’s why I think that there are certain sex-related issues that can not only damage your sex life with your partner but could also end up ruining your relationship if you’re not careful (very careful). Let’s get into seven of them now.
1. Being Unaware of Your “Body Clock”Giphy
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who’ve come to me in some serious trouble, in part due to their flailing (or partly nonexistent) sex life. When I ask them if they went to premarital counseling (if you’re engaged, please do; you have a 33 percent greater chance of avoiding divorce when counseling transpires), many say “no” and the ones who say “yes” usually say that it was no more than 3-5 sessions and the topic of sex barely came up (le sigh). Meanwhile, with my premarital meetings, I try and stick with intimacy for three months if I can because there is a lot to unpack, from what you learned as a child, to your first time (or if you are a virgin), to your needs and fantasies, to how you see it from a spiritual perspective — like I said, there is a lot to unpack there.
Take the mere practicality of sex, for example — and more specifically, your body clock. Do you prefer to have sex at night or in the daytime? A lot of couples struggle with intimacy because one prefers the former while the other likes the latter. Do you keep track of when you’re ovulating? It’s pure science why you are probably hornier during that time of the month (because your body is signaling that it’s time to conceive) vs. the fact that you might not be the most interested in sex when you’re PMS’ing. Are you premenopausal? Hormones shift a lot during that time, and here’s the thing — while menopause only lasts a year, the premenopausal stage (which typically starts between 45-55) can last between 7-14 years. Even paying attention to when you have more energy (some do in the day…morning sex, anyone? While others do early in the evening) can play a role.
So yeah, getting to know your body clock (and discussing your partner’s clock with them) can play a role in how much — or how little — sex you have…and that can add life or drain it from the relationship overall.
2. Comparing Your Present with Your PastGiphy
There is a wife of almost 20 years I know who, when I asked her if she thought that her husband was good in bed, she paused for a second, shrugged her shoulders, and simply said, “I was a virgin when I got married, so I have nothing to compare him to. I mean, he’s good to me.” On the flip side, there’s a now divorced couple who I also know (who almost made it to 20 years) who had multiple partners before each other while also having a deep interest in porn who once said to me, “Sometimes, there’s as much as 15 people in our bed because of all of the people from our past and the porn that we’ve seen that’s running through our heads.” Yeah, y’all can act like body counts don’t matter, but there is so much evidence out here that says otherwise — that couple just gave one that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should.
You know, one of my favorite throwback shows is King of Queens (Kevin James, Leah Remini). A few weeks ago, I watched a rerun where Doug and Carrie were talking about the images that come up in their minds, sometimes during sex. Neither was too happy about it, and I can totally see why. I mean, if sex was just about “getting off” (and it’s not), then whatever. However, AGAIN, it’s also about connecting with your partner on a mental and emotional level, and that’s hard to do if you’re there with them in the body while you’re fantasizing about a celebrity, a porn actor (porn is usually acting, don’t let it fool you) or an ex (check out “You Love Him. You Prefer Sex With Your Ex. What Should You Do?”).
And what if that is what’s going on? I once spoke with a sex therapist about this very thing. What she said is people should be less concerned about celebs (if it’s on occasion) and more concerned about that ex because rarely is sex with an ex…just about the sex.
And that’s why this point made the list. If you’re physically with your partner and mentally or emotionally with your ex at the same time, please don’t ignore that. There are definitely some unresolved issues there that you need to work through, whether it’s with a therapist, counselor, or coach, a trusted friend (who won’t add fuel to the literal fire), or even with your ex — although you might want to run that by your partner first because…I’m pretty sure you’d want him to do that with/for you. RIGHT?
3. Not Being Clear About Your Sexual NeedsGiphy
Question — if someone were to walk up to you right now and ask you what your top seven sexual needs are, along with what your top five sexual dealbreakers are, would you be able to answer? It really is kind of wild how many people get upset with their partner for not being able to sexually satisfy them when even they can’t articulate what they need/require in order for that to happen. Yeah, it’s another article for another time about how many people UNREALISTICALLY (and yes, I am yelling it) think that someone loving them well means that they should be able to read their mind. Nope.
It truly can’t be said enough that sex — especially good sex — is about communication. Hmph. It makes me think about a clip that I saw from Tonight’s Conversation podcast (can’t find it at the moment; sorry) where a woman asked how she should tell her partner that he hasn’t been pleasing her, I believe she said for years. My first thought was if he doesn’t know that, she must be faking orgasms (more on that in a bit) which is not only lying — well, it is —, but it’s also pretty counterproductive because while he thinks that he’s “getting the job done,” she’s not fulfilled and resentment is setting in.
Please don’t let rom-coms (fiction) and social media (which is oftentimes fictitious) have you out here thinking that a good lover is someone you automatically gel with who knows exactly what to do; sometimes that is the case, and oftentimes it isn’t.
So, if the sex-related issue that you’re having in your relationship is that your sexual needs aren’t being met, first do you (and your partner) a favor by doing some sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) so that you can tangibly see what those needs are and then plan time within the next week or so to pour a couple of glasses of wine, put on some 90s R&B and discuss with your partner what you need. Because actually, what a good lover is, is someone who listens and retains. This brings me to the next point.
4. Minimizing Your Partner’s Sexual NeedsGiphy
A husband once told that when he and his wife were in premarital counseling, something that he mentioned was a bona fide need was fellatio. According to him, his wife told both him and their counselor that she loved giving head. Fast forward to eight years of being in their union, and guess how many times that act went down? A measly four. FOUR TIMES (check out “Sooo...What If You HATE Oral?”).
It’s another message for another time, the amount of people who will “false advertise” during the dating stage in order to get to their goal of marriage. It’s also another message for another time how much that is a form of manipulation that tends to backfire in ways that the manipulator is oftentimes not prepared for.
For now, what I will say, is never think that just because something may not be a need for you that it isn’t a legitimate one for someone else. I mean, how would you feel if that’s how someone treated you? Yeah…exactly.
Yet that is just what happens in a lot of relationships, including when it comes to their bedroom. They will think that their needs should be met, hands down, yet when their partner comes with what’s important to them, all of a sudden, there is dismissiveness, nonchalance, and/or excuses — and how could that not rear its ugly head on so many levels?
Your partner’s sexual needs are essential, even if they are not your own. Never assume that you automatically know everything about them. Also, never assume that what worked two years ago is what will “scratch the itch” now. Hmph. Come to think of it, while you’re sipping on that wine and clearly articulating to him what turns you on, use that as an opportunity to ask him to return the favor. Listen with humility, receptiveness, and intent — the best kind of relationships process their partner’s needs with this kind of vibe…across the board.
5. Taking the “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” ApproachGiphy
Lazy lovers. When you hear that phrase, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If it’s someone who is just lying there during sex, that would certainly qualify; however, I’m actually speaking of a different kind of laziness here. Believe it or not, some synonyms for lazy include words like apathetic, inattentive, tired, passive (cough, cough), procrastinating, neglectful, and slacking. So yeah, if you and/or your partner can use any of these words to define what sex is consistently like between the two of you — red flag, red flag…RED FREAKIN’ FLAG.
Speaking of being passive, another potentially serious sex-related problem is taking on the attitude that if something ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it. What I mean by that is, just because you know that getting on top and riding for exactly six-and-a-half minutes is what will get your partner off, that doesn’t mean that it should be your automatic go-to all of the damn time.
Why? Because. While a part of the fun of having sex is “reaching the peak,” another component that should never be underestimated is discovering new territory: trying new positions, creating a sex bucket list, taking (more) sexcations, playing sex-themed board games (put that phrase in Amazon or on Etsy’s site and go ham!)…you know, doing what will inspire creativity and deter either of you from becoming bored.
That said, a husband of 17 years once told me, “A man can be satisfied with the same woman. We just don’t want the same kind of sex with her.” Words to live by. Yes, indeed.
6. Using Sex as a Deflection or Coping MechanismGiphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good” — and with good cause. Words cannot express how many divorced (or soon-to-be divorced) women have told me that a part of what kept them in their marriage, for as long as they stayed in it, was the fact that the sex with their husband was beyond amazing…even though so much other stuff completely and totally sucked. Hey, good sex isn’t a bad thing (c’mon now); however, if it’s the only real thing that’s keeping you with someone, it can turn out to be a toxic deflector.
The reason why I say that is the purpose of sex isn’t to make love; it’s to celebrate it. And if all you’re doing with your partner is f — king and fighting or avoiding issues by stripping down or thinking that sex will “make it all better,” all the while not really knowing what the problem/issue is or what needs to be done to get down to the root of it, that is using sex as a pacifier and again, that’s not what sex is designed to be. Sex doesn’t deserve the pressure of being the end-all to “fixing” ish.
So, if what’s transpiring in your relationship lately is very little talking and a whole lot of sexing, and then once the sex is over, something still feels “off,” that’s a good indication that you’re misusing sex on some level. Get out of the bed, put on a robe, and do some talking (preferably in a room other than the bedroom; leave that space for sex and sleep only as much as possible). Because remember — as much as the wives that I mentioned said that their husbands once had them climbing the walls, those men are still ex-husbands now. Bottom line, sex is good, yet when it comes to keeping a relationship together, it will never be enough. Again, it was never designed to be.
7. Faking ItGiphy
I will never be a fan of faking orgasms. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini (we may be a lot of things, but “fake” isn’t really our style). Maybe it’s because I’m a very word-literal individual, and I know that fake means things like “prepare or make (something specious, deceptive, or fraudulent)” and “to conceal the defects of or make appear more attractive, interesting, valuable, etc., usually in order to deceive.” Or perhaps it’s because I don’t get how acting like you’re sexually fulfilled when you actually aren’t is doing anyone any good. Whatever it is, whenever a client (or someone in general because men fakealmost as much as women do) tells me that it’s something they do, I immediately find myself on a mission to shut that mess down (check out “Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP”). ALL THE WAY DOWN.
The main reason is that, regardless of if the motive is to hurry things along, not hurt your partner’s feelings, or it’s something more cryptic than that (cough, cough, some form of manipulation tactic), there’s no way around the fact that fakeness is tied to deception and deception is a word that should never be connected to a healthy sexual dynamic.
Besides, one could argue that faking is a form of deflection as well because…wouldn’t it be better to just get it all out in the open WHY you are doing it than to keep pretending when life is too short and great sex is too good to not get the absolute most out of it, as much as possible?
Besides, again, chances are that if you’re faking that you’re sexually pleased, you’re probably faking something else in your relationship (or situation), and how could that possibly be good, right, or beneficial?
Yeah, when it comes to being satisfied across the board, please don’t fake it. State your case in the way that you’d like to hear something said to you, and let the chips fall where they may. If you’ve got a good man, he’s gonna — no pun — rise to the occasion. If his ego can’t handle it, well…that’s something that you should find out sooner than later — when it comes to the bedroom and outside of it? Right? #shoyouright
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