Australian children’s book author, illustrator and visual storyteller. I weave magic, creativity and fun into all I do.

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Vision Boards for Life and Business

I love the fresh hopefulness of a new year; call me naive, but I think there’s a little spark of magic in the turning of the calendar. I can mentally place all of the previous 12 months into the archive folder of my brain, and like a shiny new notebook, I am ready for all the exciting possibilities to come.

Shortly after the 9 pm fireworks have died down, and I’m curled up in bed knowing there’s no pressure to have a movie-worthy NYE in my 30s, I normally find myself ready with craft paper, magazines, and glue in hand for a vision board session – one that perfectly blends my delulu aspirations with tangible goals because I like a balance.

However, as the days blurred into January, I found myself torn. Unlike the previous years, I just couldn’t find that internal motivation to stick pretty pictures on a piece of paper.

I think that’s where I had it wrong in the past. I wanted my boards to be pretty, but I often filled them with other people’s ideas of what a home is, their lives, and quotes that looked cute but ultimately didn’t resonate with me on a deeper level.

I want both – a beautiful, thoughtful vision board to look at throughout the year and one that truly reflects what I want from life.

In the past, I’ve normally created one vision board, with my business aspirations filling in the gaps between a bike-riding selfie and a dream-worthy library.

This year I want to change that up.

I’ve allowed my business and life to overlap to an unhealthy amount in the past, and it hasn’t made me any happier or my business more successful.

One of my core goals for this year is to have a thriving and sustainable business and not burn myself out in the process. I’m talking big changes for an overachieving, ADHD, recovering perfectionist, but I gotta start somewhere.

To me, that begins with literally separating my intentions.

One vision board for life. One vision board for my business.

If you’re also a creative solo business owner like me, I’d recommend creating some divide between your business and life boards. Of course, there’s going to be overlap, but separating them gives you the chance to get really clear on what you want from both.

Now, before I get too ahead of myself, let’s define what a vision board is. I think everyone has their interpretation, but for me, a vision board is a collective set of ideas, goals, feelings, and intentions that visually tell the story of what you want to create and bring into your life. It’s the ultimate manifestation board, and I think you can put as much thought into it as you want; the more specific, the better.

Here’s my process for life and business vision boards for 2024.

1. START WITH REFLECTION

Know thyself and then dig a little deeper. The temptation to skip this step is real. I won’t know or judge you if you don’t do it, but I will gently encourage you to take some time to even note down your last 12 months. Think of it being purely cathartic; no one needs to read what you write, or hell, talk out loud to yourself, again no judgment! This is a space for you to let go of the past. It can be tempting to forget about it, especially if it’s been a really difficult and challenging time, but you don’t want to take that energy into the new year with you.

If you already have a vision board from last year, now is the time to get it out and take a moment to reflect on it. Did you achieve what you wanted? What surprised you from the board? Did something come to you in a completely different way than you imagined? Are there goals you want to take into the next 12 months? These questions are a great way to start, and you can dig into them as much as you want.

Here are more questions to ask yourself if you need some direction:

Reflections on life

  • If you could describe the past 12 months of your life in 5 words what would they be?
  • In what ways did I prioritise myself and are there areas I want to show up more in?
  • How did I live in alignment with my values and where can I make adjustments?
  • What relationships were the most meaningful to me, and how can I nurture them further?
  • What moments made me feel grateful or appreciative?
  • What areas of my life do I feel confident in? What areas need more attention than others?
  • What activities or pursuits brought me a sense of purpose and fulfilment?
  • How can I use my experiences from the past year to set meaningful goals for the upcoming year?

Reflections on Business

  • If you could describe the past 12 months of business in 5 words what would they be?
  • How did I show up in business this year and what would I want to keep or change about it?
  • Did the business meet its financial goals and what contributed to those results?
  • Were there unexpected opportunities that were capitalised on or missed?
  • Was their feedback from clients or customers, and how did they impact the business?
  • What were the small wins and how did they add up over the year?
  • Did you maintain a healthy work culture and balance?
  • How did the market grow or change, and what impact did that have on the business?

When I reviewed my previous board, there was a lot that no longer resonated, and that’s okay too. I’ve grown and changed, which means the life I wanted then is going to look and feel different from the life I want now.

This is a chance to clear out the old. If you’re a biz owner, make sure to separate your wins and losses; your business success does not equal your life success (a reminder for myself more than ever!).

2. GET CRAFTY WITH IT

If you haven’t been hoarding old magazines for this very moment, then I’m not sure what you’ve been doing. Take it from someone who lined their room with Vogue growing up; you’ll probably use them at some point. Most vision boards are full of magazine cuttings, which makes sense; the paper is shiny, making the imagery pop, but it limits you to those specific printed words, quotes, and photos.

I like to scroll through my phone for memories and snapshots of moments that I would like to continue into my year. Like a selfie with my husband on e-bikes at Rottnest Island; this was a highlight trip for us in 2022, and I had it on my vision board for more adventures throughout 2023. It’s funny because in that time, we’ve since moved to the beach, but I didn’t manage to get a bike until about a day or so ago; the vision board works but sometimes a little longer than expected!

As you’re probably going to have your board for the entire year, I’d recommend investing in thicker card stock as the backing, or I like to buy a foam board from Spotlight. You can even get ones that have sides that are sticky, which means you don’t need glue. Here’s a handy list of items you’re probably going to need:

– Magazines
– Printed photos and memories
– Scissors
– Good tunes
– Snacks
– Backing board or cardboard
– Glue or sticky tape

3. CREATE YOUR DREAM LIFE

This is my favourite part! It’s time to do the work, but really is it work when it’s crafting? You could break the vision boarding out into two sessions like I did. One for life and one for business. However, this is entirely up to you. I wanted that physical and mental break between the two because my 2024 is about healthy boundaries. Even a lunch break between them is enough time to create that intentional divide.

Before we commit to gluing something down, take a moment to get into what you truly want for the year. Pop on some music, light a nice candle or incense. It’s easy to rush to the finish line, but the next 365 days are worth slowing down for. If visualization isn’t your thing, here are some areas you can reflect on, write down, or think about:

Feelings:
What are the feelings you want the next year to embody? Do you want more lightness? Ease? Fulfillment? Are there moments you’ve previously felt that way? Was there something specific about them that stands out to you?

Values:
What do you value in life? How can you allow those values to guide you next year? Is there anything in your life that needs to drop away that no longer supports your values?

Goals:
Get specific here. What life goals are important to you for this year and beyond? Can you break those goals down into smaller steps to move towards? Why are these goals important to you? How would it look and feel when you achieve those goals?

Using the guidance above, it’s time to find the imagery and words that resonate with your dream life and business. Now I’m not going to judge if you’ve jumped on Pinterest and are using those photos. Just be aware that there are copyright issues with using other people’s work; I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but be cautious when you’re downloading assets that belong to someone else.

Another part to consider is if you’re filling your board up with other people’s lives and energy. Sure, you’ve got a cute smiling photo of someone that you’d like to emulate, but do you know if they’re happy, that they feel confident and comfortable? Was the image taken at a crappy time in their lives, or are they paid to look like that and that isn’t real (AI is pretty good these days)?

Okay, so you might be asking, what photos or clippings can you use then?

Use them, please, I’m just gently pointing out that images can be deceiving, and vision boards are literally all about what you see. To bring this into alignment with my intentions, I like to write on the back of the images what about them I want to bring into my life. For example, a beautiful kitchen image, I’d write “I want a beautiful kitchen where I have enough space to fill my cupboards with food that nourishes my family and an island bench where I can create meals that bring us all together.”

You don’t need to write that much. You could just write a couple of words that highlight what you intend from those images; it’s really up to you! If that doesn’t feel right or you don’t care, move on and stick those images down; like I said, it’s about what you’re comfortable with. You’re the one who will be looking at this for 12 months, and you’ll probably know why you’ve chosen each element.

So grab the scissors and start cutting.

I like to find imagery that covers these areas of my life: Home, health, spirituality, food, adventures, travel, relationships, etc.

For business, it looks a little different: Products, services, goals, values, culture, dream clients, collaborations, etc.

Once I have all the images I think I want and need, I like to lay them out before sticking them down. That way I can see how the overall board is going to look, as I said earlier I want to find that blend between meaningful and pretty. So I’m most likely going to coordinate colors and areas of my life and business together.

Stick or glue each cutout and admire your beautiful work. You’ve done an amazing job!

4. REMEMBER THE WHY

It’s easy to get lost in day-to-day life and forget all about your vision board. I’m guilty of that, but this year I’ve made some adjustments to mine so it’s easier for me to see every day. I previously went too big with my board, which meant it wasn’t easy to have out and I could only see half from inside my cupboard. This year I’ve gone with small boards. One for my bedroom so I can wake up looking at the life I want and the other in my office so I’m again separating the two.

If you find yourself forgetting all about your board that’s okay! If you’re into manifesting, you could even try to incorporate the board into your practices or set a reminder in your phone for once a week or more to take 5 minutes. Clear your mind and remember why you want that life, how it would feel, and of course, if you’re kicking goals, celebrate them. Note them down; a board is only as good as the paper it’s on; you’re the one living life and building that business. There has to be a time when you go out and live it. So enjoy and I hope all your dreams come true in 2024.

Here are a few common questions that come up with vision boarding:

What to do with an old vision board? This is entirely up to you! Some people like to keep them and reflect on them over the years to see if something they’ve been manifesting has come into their lives. I prefer to take a photo and then recycle mine. You could burn it if that’s your jam, saying goodbye to the old and welcoming in the new. To me, it feels like an element of the past, so I tend not to want to hold onto that too tightly.

Should you make a board more than once a year? Sure! Maybe ask yourself why you want to make a new board. You could have gone through a major life change, and your old board just doesn’t feel right anymore. You could want to start a business, and a board is a great way to set visual goals. Or you might want to do one every six months instead of 12. You’ve got aspirations, and sometimes it’s nice to clear out the old.

Can I share my vision board with others? This is entirely up to you. If you know and trust the people you’re sharing your hopes and dreams with, then why not? If there’s a niggling feeling inside you that’s already questioning if you should, then maybe hold off. It’s like any personal goal you have; would you tell others and share it on social media? Sometimes the people closest to you can be the most jealous. Now, not all the time, but some people don’t like to see others succeed or even have a better attitude than themselves.
I prefer to keep mine private; the only person who will occasionally see them is my husband.

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