We are nearing that time of year where we become inundated with terms like goals, resolutions, self-transformation, etc. The start of a new year so often gives people hope and a bit of extra motivation to get moving or carry on improving areas of life that are personally important and meaningful.
Too often, we start out of the gate full of energy and optimism and then after a few weeks, those big hopes, plans and dreams begin to fade away. Perhaps the new habits didn’t stick, or unforeseeable obstacles got in the way. After a couple of months, our shiny plans and ideas can become completely buried — only to be uncovered again at the start of the next year.

One way I help combat this vicious cycle of dream obstruction is to create a vision board. I fill the vision board with colorful images and reminders of my clear goals I will spend the next year working toward.

Having a plan or road map that points in the general direction we most want to go is the first step to getting there. I first learned about the art of creating a mind map or vision board in university. It is probably the most important tool I still use that I took away from my education.

For anyone unfamiliar with vision boards, it is basically a detailed plan of your goals utilizing your creativity. You can make one on a large poster board, or in a journal. I have also seen it created with animation or other forms of technology. The plan that is being mapped out could be for a particular project or venture. It could even be a plan for the bigger picture of your hopes for the future.

I create a new one every January 1st to set up my goals and steps for the year ahead.

Putting pen to paper and engaging our creative senses is a brilliant and important step towards actualizing our dreams.

When I make my vision boards, I love to use affirmations and bold statements that have personal meaning attached to them. These words are powerful because they provide me with reminders of what I have said that is most important to me. I also add meaningful images and scenes that may look like nothing more than magazine cutouts — but to me, they draw a distinct picture of where I am headed. These images and words are a product of my forward thinking.

Now comes the important part: I display my vision board where I can see my goals regularly. I commit to doing something each day towards reaching these goals. The daily goals are always small, manageable steps.

The best part of mapping a clear vision is how it creates awareness of your deepest desires. When opportunities come up that are in line with these dreams, it becomes much easier to recognize them — and seize them.

Having your vision board displayed where you see it regularly is powerful. It has always helped me move past that three week hurdle and every other obstacle that comes up throughout the year. The road to reaching our dreams and goals is usually bumpy and there will be stopping places. Having that visual reminder where I can see it, has always encouraged me to hit the ‘restart’ button to keep moving forward. Moving forward is a better alternative to completely throwing in the towel when there are setbacks.

It is an incredible feeling to begin with a thought, turn it into a goal, and one day realize you have actually achieved what you once only thought about.

As you embark on yet another new year, see what happens when you carve out some creative time to craft a vision board that is personally meaningful, realistic and in line with your goals for the year ahead. As you dive into the creative process, imagine what it will feel like at the end of the year to have either achieved these goals, or to be in process of reaching them. Being in process is what it is all about. This year will come and go, putting one foot in front of the other will be sure to move you beyond where you stand this very moment.

Have fun with it, and all the best for an amazing year ahead!

If you are looking for ways to develop more joyful habits, check out my new book Fall in Love with Your Life, One Week at a Time

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Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on December 28, 2015.

Originally published at medium.com


  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse; WellthyLiving.ca; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: emilymadill.com