Do you crave a life or lifestyle that is out of reach? Are you sailing along with a goal that you can’t seem to achieve? Or are you dreaming of an idyllic existence with no worries, problems or strife? Vision boards are hailed as the answer.
Ok. Lets not get too excited here. I’m not going to become a world-class blogger who cleverly integrates psychology and fashion overnight simply by envisaging all the bags I’m going to buy when I’m successful. I know this as I’m 36 and I’ve been dreaming of bags that I can’t afford since the age of 14!.
I want to clarify one things first. The only way people ever achieve their goals, dreams and ambitions is through hard work and sophisticated use of knowledge and creativity. To work hard at something for a prolonged period requires persistence, motivation and organisation. Click here to my previous post on how I stay organised and motivated in my life.
Yes, for some the element of timing and luck plays a part but for now, we’ll leave the out the stuff that’s out of our own control. After all, these kinds of posts are all about empowering every single reader to realise we have more control over our lives, brains and bodies than we seldom realise.
So, lets delve into this vision focused idea of how to achieve our dreams. After all, any process that can aid us in achieving is surely worth investigating.
Vision boards. Hailed as the creative way to achieve our goals through instilling a constant stream of motivation through emotive and inspirational images arranged on a board. Can it really be that simple? If it’s that simple then why aren’t we all millionaires?
To begin with, lets examine the general pool of psychological processes that vision boarding belongs to.
Visualisation & The Law of Attraction (LOA)
Visualisation is a process claimed to be based on the law of attraction.
The law of attraction (LOA) simply is the idea that what we receive in life is directly related to what we think and feel. In other words: if we think and behave positively we receive positivity in our lives. Hailed to be a creative and powerful mind exercise, this longstanding and popular cognitive tool involves utilising our imagination to identify the full details of what we want.
Great. Im sorted. I can day-dream anyone under the table. So why aren’t I famous/rich/overtly successful or living my dream existence? If it’s really that straight forward surely we’d all be living in a substandard world of super-elite achievers where wealth, beauty and happiness was a the norm, right?
As you may suspect (due to my sarcastic tone and hopefully your own common sense) there is more to this than meets the (minds) eye. Literally.
Realistically speaking, visualisation is argued to help many people, so whats the key to making it work for you?
It seems being surrounded by motivating images really brings our goals to life, the more we revel in the senses of these goals, the more they expand and the greater details of our dream is formed. This provides us with smaller goals to achieve that ultimately lead to the bigger goals. That’s where vision boards come in.
I’m sure you’ve all come across a vision board at some point (school, college or university). We’ve all sat and arranging favourite images on a blank canvas, promoting a message or theme for others.
But how does this translate into actually achieving anything?
Dr Neil Farber, a psychology graduate, dual doctor of medicine and research and amongst other things a certified life coach, personal trainer and hypnotherapist, argues the LOA doesn’t exist. He provides an alternative possibilities for this “like for like” phenomenon. Far too much depth for this post, but if you want to read more, click here.
Back to topic, Farber examined how useful vision boards are in achieving goals and discovered that its more about HOW you envisage achieving not the desired outcome. Ultimately this influences how successful vision board use is. His meta study uncovered two major (and unpopular!) findings:
- vision boards do not work
- vision boards may actually be harmful to success.
Click here for the full article.
The 5 experiments Farber outlines indicate individuals who fantasized about success were less successful than those who visualised HOW they would achieve. For example, students who imagined how, when and where they would study achieved a higher exam grade than those who imagined achieving a top grade. It’s all in the details.
And that’s the key to making visualisation work.
As Farber highlights, imagining is not only much easier than doing anything towards a goal but it also prevents us harnessing our time productively. By avoiding the how, what, where and when we aren’t prepared for potential obstacles. A second issue is the blame game: if your vision board doesn’t work the blame lies solely with you and I’m sure I don’t need to stipulate the negative effects of self-blame.
Essentially visualisation in this sense equals inaction and damage.
Based on this Farber created a new tool: The Action Board.
So lets not burn our vision boards just yet, much of the vision we created can still be used – it simply requires greater detail. Farber highlights the key components of a successful action board (click here for his website)
- Structure a main statement – whats your vision?
- Be specific – get the details down.
- A time scale – when will you do this?
- Why is it important to you? This relates to your core values and beliefs.
- Are you committed to this – make a plan of action. Break the goal down into smaller steps again and again until you have several action lists that are more achievable on a daily basis.
- Consider any obstacles and how you’ll overcome them.
- What are your strengths and how will these help you in achieving your goal?
- What/who are your resources? Who? When? Where? How?
- Read your board daily and remain reactive to changing situations relating to your goal.
- Reward achievement for each step which is accomplished, no matter how small.
So, there we have it. A call to action is far more rewarding and productive to achieving your goals than any day-dreaming. So do your research, get organised and creative and bring that vision to life.