VISUALIZATION

One just has to go on YouTube and find loads of motivational videos posted by the likes of Michelle Obama, Mark Cuban, Kobe Bryant, Ellen Degeneres.   What does their content all have in common?   Setting goals.   How?   Dream with all your heart, just like when you were a kid.     So, how do we make achieving our goals more likely?   This question is the subject of loads of research and works. We have other articles on different facets of decision-making and goal-setting in our library. We will talk about one simple aspect of success in achieving goals:    

VISUALIZATION

Our dreams have to include details as would be felt by your five senses.

Can you taste the salt water during your envisioned Barbadian vacation?

Can you smell the mango and hear the monkeys’ calls?

Do you feel the warmth of the sun on your hands?

Can you see how you would get there?

Where you would stay?

What you would eat?

        And who knows you best? Who knows the details of your strengths? And how resourceful you can be in achieving your goals?   And the interesting part is that you may not consciously know how you are going to achieve your desires when setting your goals. But by visualizing them, you will naturally start breaking them down into smaller bite-sized pieces and then organizing your strengths and resources in attaining them in the form of an action plan.     Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? The little engine that could? David and Goliath?   Even the heroes of these epics had strengths to overcome challenges that seemed daunting at first.     So, where does one start when creating their action plan?   Starting can be simple, and can even be as fun as achieving your goals.
    Think about when you were young, with posters covering the walls of your bedroom, inspiring you to get to your goals.   They were visual reminders of your aspirations.   It is interesting that the visual system involves 50-60% of the brain’s circuitry.   And neuroscience has shown us that your likelihood of learning new topics is increased by involving more or your senses.   A Vision Board is a collage of pictures, quotes, or any other item that depicts the goal, and claims your attention, and all parts of your brain connected to your attention – all of it!.   Vision boards are our treasure maps. How to get to the loot will become apparent.
Vision boards are more than just a fun activity, they have actually been proven to increase our likelihood of achieving our goals.   Not sure if it will be fun?   Try experimenting with the Pleasure Predicting Log.   People have found that we tend to discount how fun something is, just because we have done it before!   Would you believe that small business owners that used a vision board reported that they have accomplished more than half of the goals they included?   Actually, this was found to be true for over 80% of the individuals studied.   In other studies, vision boards have been linked to the Law of Attraction, which describes how emotional and visual stimulation help fulfil our dreams and aspirations.   According to John Canfield, an expert in this field, they act as reminders for why a certain goal is so important to us, as well as a tangible representation of our desired outcome.     The production of a vision board is designed to stimulate the mind with meaning and positivity.   Reaching your goals is more attainable once you are clear about what they are, and what is motivating you.   It will give you strength to focus on where you are going rather than getting sucked into spending your energy on the hurdles in your path.    Each aspiration when planned and broken down into steps or smaller goals teaches our brain to respond to each achievement as a victory in itself.   This type of response further increases our motivation, eventually resulting in that dream becoming a reality.   It’s important to take into account that not everything can be anticipated, and your plan may change.   Steve Jobs on making decision in the face of the uncertain future and unknown factors:  
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
  Maybe, you even find your dreams and goals themselves are different than initially foreseen.   After all, 12-year-old Muhammad Ali just wanted to learn how to box so that when he found the kid that stole his bike, he would whoop him 🙂   Did he have any idea that this was the beginning of his campaign for social equality, irrespective of race, caste or creed?   Could he have foreseen that after having been vilified and having his titles and boxing license stripped from him because of his goals, that he would be the most celebrated athlete of the century, even being given the honour of lighting the olympic flame in Atlanta in 1994?   This is also true about your vision board.   As your destination for the future changes, so will your journey!   The interesting thing is that your destinations would have not been possible if you had not set out the way you did.   Have a look on YouTube at Denzel Washington’s speech to the graduating class at the University of Pennsylvania, the alma mater of one of our generation’s most decorated psychologists, Dr. Martin Seligman.   Dr. Seligman spent his career studying and developing the field of positive psychology. Just as Denzel Washington speech goes, positive psychology is basically the science of getting to where you want.  

The science of falling down 1000 times and getting up 1001 times.

  In this context, “failures” are steps to success and so, are valuable, and are to be embraced as spring boards to our goals.   This in itself is a skill that Dr. Seligman taught to the likes of professional sports teams, US presidential candidates, corporate America and internationally.     Implement new skills and perspectives, evolve your vision, introduce new passions.   The posters on those bedroom walls of your childhood were constantly changing, why shouldn’t your vision board?   Who knows?   Sooner than you think you could be taking that dream vacation skiing in the Alps, playing your favourite song on piano, or experiencing the joy of finally reaching your ultimate goal!
  • A vision:
    •  Imagine an appropriate time in the future.
    • Clearly state what you want to have happen at that time/situation (e.g. demonstrate a skill, experience a feeling, achieve a goal)
    • Using all five senses, imagine yourself in the future situation as if it were happening right now (i.e. what do you see, hear, feel, smell, taste?)
    • Imagine yourself performing the skill/having your desired experience in the way you realistically hope to perform.
      • Completely perform the skill/experience through to the end and beyond
    • Process how well the imagery process went and discuss whether it needs to be tweaked.
  • A board: Cardboard, a Cork board, White Board… Anything stiff enough to hang or stand on its own.
  • Materials:
    • Glue, scissors, tape, pins, magnets… The normal crafting supplies to piece it together. Of course, feel free to use any other supplies as well if you want to get fancy! (string, clothes pins, etc.)
    • Magazines, newspaper, or internet images, cut-outs, or quotes.
    • Any other item or clipping that inspires you or fills you joy or nostalgia (i.e. old birthday cards, tickets, pictures of family or friends, etcetera).
    • Feathers, stickers, stamps… Anything makes you happy!
  • Time: Set aside stress-free time at once or over the course of several days dedicated to creating your vision board time. Invite friends/family over or go solo. It is up to you.
“How To Make A Vision Board That Actually Works!” Christie Inge, 8 Nov. 2019, christieinge.com/9-steps-for-creating-a-vision-board-that-actually-works/. Hul, Jean Van’t, et al. “How to Make a Vision Board That Works In 10 Simple Steps.” The Artful Parent, 6 Feb. 2018, artfulparent.com/make-vision-board-works-10-steps/. McGinley, Karson, et al. “Vision Board 101: How to Use This Manifestation Tool.” The Chopra Center, 8 Nov. 2019, chopra.com/articles/vision-board-101-how-to-use-this-manifestation-tool. Rider, Elizabeth. “The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make One.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/the-scientific-reason-why_b_6392274. “How To Make A Vision Board That Works.” Elizabeth Rider – Health Coach, Author, TV Host & Wellness Expert, 19 July 2019, www.elizabethrider.com/how-to-make-a-vision-board-that-works/. Ricker, Melissa. “5 Reasons To Make A Vision Board In 2020 ( How To, Ideas).” A Conscious Rethink, 13 Nov. 2019, www.aconsciousrethink.com/4257/5-reasons-everyone-make-vision-board/. “What Is a Vision Board? Make the Law of Attraction Work for You!” Make A Vision Board, www.makeavisionboard.com/what-is-a-vision-board/. WisdomPost & Sophia. “Top 15 Benefits of Having Your Own Vision Board.” The Wisdom Post, 23 Jan. 2018, www.thewisdompost.com/law-of-attraction/vision-board/top-15-benefits-of-having-your-own-vision-board/1663. YouTube, YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=iamZEW0x3dM.

Kaida Cheah & Salina Charles (Coop Students)

 

Peyton Smith, H.BSc,

 

Mojtaba Garshasb, BSc.

Last updated: February 2020