In the previous article, and in my book, “LIVE IT! Mastering Positive Attitude Habits – 15 Practical Tips for Managing Your Mindset,” I provide the plan for writing your 2-Year life vision statement.
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The step of clarifying your goals in writing improves your chances of reaching your goals by a significant percentage. However, I don’t stop there with my clients. If writing your goals down improves the leverage for reaching your goals, creating a product that visually represents your vision is even more powerful. My college students and professional clients have enjoyed this activity and found it to be inspiring. You don’t have to take my word for it, there’s data behind this stuff:
Why is the power of writing down goals so important?
Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, recently studied the art and science of goal setting.
She gathered two hundred and sixty-seven people together — men and women from all over the world, and from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, educators, healthcare professionals, artists, lawyers and bankers.
She divided the participants into groups, according to who wrote down their goals and dreams, and who didn’t…
And she discovered that those who wrote down their goals and dreams on a regular basis achieved those desires at a significantly higher level than those who did not.
In fact, she found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.
From Forbes online APR 8, 2014 @ 10:53 AM Ashley Feinstein
We hear a lot about the importance of goal-setting but most of us don’t have clear and measurable goals to work toward. Lewis Carroll says, “Any road will get you there, if you don’t know where you are going,” but how important are goals really and if they are vital, how can we make them most effective?
According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals. Who doesn’t want to accomplish significantly more?
Once you have your vision statement completed, the next step is to create a visual representation of your vision. You may be familiar with the term, “vision board”, which refers to a flat foam core or card stock board with cut-out images and words pasted to it that represent your goals. The idea is to hang the vision board where you see it every day and focus on necessary actions to make that vision a reality.
I offer options for creating a “product” that symbolizes their visions. If they want to create a typical vision board, they can. They can combine cut-out images and text from magazines, they can combine cut-outs with their own drawings or photographs – whatever they want it to be. I ask people to think in dimensions and move beyond a flat board. My only requirement is that each category on the wheel-of-life and in the vision statement be represented.
People worry: “I’m not creative.” “I’ve never done anything like this before.” “What if I don’t know how to do it?”
I give people two days to create the visual representation of their visions and then they present it to me (if they are a coaching client) or to the group (if they are in a training group or class). This has proven to be a fun and inspiring action assignment.
- Some people take the standard vision board idea and turn it into a cube. The design includes a category of the wheel-of-life on each surface of the cube.
- Some people take the cube concept to the next level by creating a mobile of cubes, each cube covered in words and images representing a category on the wheel-of-life.
- I had one student who loved to quilt. Over the weekend she created a quilted book, each page representing her vision statement in each category of the wheel-of-life. This was one of the most impressive executions of the assignment I have seen. It was beautiful and powerful because the experience of turning each quilted page inspired her.
- I’ve seen people take this assignment to a performance art experience. Picture a box with words all over it, and an opening cut into the box for each category of the vision statement. As the person explained his vision, he put things into the appropriately labeled hole on the box and as he filled the box with individual items, he explained how his life was full in that category. His plan was to add items to the box annually to reignite his vision statement.
- I had one client who purchased plastic cars for each category of her vision, and then she worked with her children to cover the cars with words cut out from magazines that represented her vision. This was fun, interactive, and fantastic in the concept of rolling their “vision” forward.
Some students hung their vision boards on their ceilings over their beds so it would be the first thing they saw each morning. Some hung them on their refrigerators. Others created PowerPoint presentations they could store on their phones.
This is the perfect assignment for people who want to reinvent their careers: what does your ideal career “look like”?
You have total freedom to do whatever is going to be enjoyable for you to make and give you an energetic push every time you look at it.
I used the vision board concept to manifest my cabin in the woods. I need a sanctuary in nature where my introverted self can recharge. Yes, I’m in front of people continually, so it doesn’t seem like I’m an introvert; I’m an introvert who earns a living as an extrovert.
I decided to take the vision board concept to a three-dimensional level. I cleared out our garage and used it to visualize the main room in the cabin. I picked up a yard sale coffee table, sanded it, covered the top in fishing lure images, and painted the doors and trim green. When a futon broke, I made picture frames out of the slats and inserted images I’d like at my cabin. I hung those framed pieces on the wall of the garage so I could get a feel for the place. My mother got on board with this project and purchased items for my birthday and Christmas that would be great for the cabin – and those items went into the garage room.
One of my dear friends loved this idea, and for Christmas she purchased a log bed frame for us.
I knew I didn’t want a lot of technology at the cabin, but we loved to watch movies. I purchased one of the first hand held DVD players for “the cabin”.
Sometimes after dinner I’d sit in the garage, enjoying my vision. The feelings evoked were real and I KNEW it was going to be a reality. My friends like to sit out there with us, visiting after dinner. When I told people we were in escrow for the land purchase, it was fun for them too because they had been part of the plan.
Within eighteen months of creating the garage cabin room, we purchased land and built our real cabin. That’s where I am as I write this blog post.
I heard a story about someone who cut out a photograph of the type of house he’d like to live in. He hung the vision board on his refrigerator for about two years (if I remember correctly), and then tired of having it on his refrigerator and put it in storage. Years later he ended up buying a house and during the process of packing, he ran across the photo. I know this sounds spooky, but he was shocked to realize he had purchased THAT HOUSE.
The vision board activity has been around for a long time. The concept gained new life when Rhonda Byrn published, “The Secret”. The book encourages manifesting your destiny to the extent you can feel the reality of it all. The book became controversial in some fundamentalist Christian circles, but I believe the concepts merge beautifully with various spiritual belief systems. At the center of the discussion is the question of whether or not you believe you have a direct relationship with God/The Universe, and if you believe the God/The Universe conspires to support you in your goals when you do your part of the work. Are you willing to put things in motion through your decisions and actions?
I, personally, do not believe you can sit around like a lazy, thieving, angry, dumb ass, and expect God to take care of your vision for you. However, I’m not all-knowing, so you can draw your own conclusions.
Knowing what you want your life to look and feel like is an important aspect of managing your mindset. Making your vision tangible helps you establish the positive attitude habits that support having your life turn out the way you want it to be.
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