Let’s be honest here. A lot of people out there think vision boards are mumbo jumbo. Fluffy. Hokey. A nice idea but just too ‘feel good’ to be of any real effect. Aren’t vision boards for hippies and psychics? In a word, no.

But when was the last time anyone actually talked to you about why and how to set goals? Elementary school? Your high school sports coach? It’s likely been a while. And if you’ve managed to read a good self-help book on goal setting… Well, many of us don’t get past the 3rd chapter and even fewer of us implement what we read. Why? Because the information is incomplete and we have long standing patterns of doing the opposite of what we read. Old habits die hard.

So where do we go from here? First, we can acknowledge that the way goals are traditionally taught is incomplete. Step 1 + Step 2 (does not always) = Goal Reached. And, we can accept the fact that you brain’s ability to imagine, fantasize and create is very, very powerful. Yes, your brain is very, very powerful.

Let’s begin with why traditional goal setting is flawed. At its essence goal setting logic makes perfect sense. This kind of logic tells me that if I’m training for a race and I increase my mileage by one mile every week for 5 weeks then in 5 weeks I’ll be running 5 miles. Logic. But what my reality often looks like is this:
Week 1 – do all my runs.
Week 2 – do 2 runs but twist my ankle and can’t do run #3.
Week 3 – increasing to three miles is harder than I thought and I run three times, but not the full distance.
Week 4 – I get strep throat and can’t run all week – doctor’s orders
Week 5 – Baby and Husband catch my strep throat and cut back to just 2 quick runs.

You get the idea. Life happens! Setting and reaching goals becomes complicated. Even if you do plan for set backs it’s not humanly possible to plan for every possible distraction, delay or unforeseen circumstance. This often leads to goals that we quickly abandon, sometimes month after month or even year after year. Or, sometimes worse, we try our best but feel shame and guilt for not “going all the way,”

This is when vision becomes important. What if reaching success doesn’t depend on taking steps towards one particular goal but in creating habits that attend to the overall quality of your life? These habits might include things like practicing gratitude, journaling, affirming yourself, listening to your intuition, accepting difficult emotions, etc. As Entrepreneur.com explains, “These new habits are not activities, like going to the gym. Instead, they relate to creating new patterns for your thoughts. Once you change your thoughts, your habits and actions will automatically change, too.”

How many of you have found yourself feeling unwell, googled your symptoms and then convinced yourself that you are sicker than you actually are. ME! The brain is a powerful thing. How many of you have been a child or have a child that was truly convinced of the monster in the closet and no amount of checking could convince you otherwise? ME AGAIN! Your brain can convince you of whatever you choose to focus on and this is not just hocus pocus.

An article in Psychology Today* explains one study succinctly. They write, “A study looking at brain patterns in weightlifters found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they only imagined lifting. In some cases, research has revealed that mental practices are almost effective as true physical practice, and that doing both is more effective than either alone.” Later, they go on to cite another study where participants who were instructed to visualize a workout still increased their strength by 13.5% even though had they had not lifted a finger. They simply focused their thinking, their vision.

A vision board is a physical representation of these thoughts you keep in your mind. Similar to a collage it might include pictures of your hopes and images that inspire a certain feeling. It might also include words, phrases or quotes that bring a sense of calm or strength to your body. When you are creating a vision board it’s important to think big and wide, to let go of fears and move past any judgmental thoughts. Remember, you are speaking to the part of your brain that operates under the assumption that anything is possible. Big, fearless, bold thoughts are welcome here!

Having a vision board in your life can help keep you focused and train your brain on what success looks like and feels like to you. Remember how my schedule of running miles was so easily derailed? A vision board can keep me focused on why I’m running in the first place and provide the inspiration to keep going even when I miss the mark on those ‘logical’ steps forward. Additionally, according to the research, coupling your vision with actionable steps forward will increase your odds of finishing strong and maybe even surpassing your original goal.

Are you ready to let go of your fears, spend time with an uninhibited version of yourself and create a vision board that reflects your boldest, strongest hopes and goals? If you are, you’ll love our event “Embrace Your Vision 2019.” You have the right to a life that is creative, passion filled and eyes-wide-open adventurous. The Embrace Your Vision 2019 mini-retreat is an evening of leaving fears and limitations behind, a creative space where you’ll be guided and nurtured through the process of creating a vision board for 2019.

Hosted by licensed mental health therapist Melissa Spaulding (CMHC, owner of Guided Wellness counseling services), you’ll be fed a lite dinner and drinks and guided through fear clearing meditations, experiences of affirmation, massage (yes, everyone gets a mini massage to help you relax even more!), and take home a vision board of your own creation and goody bag to keep you inspired as the months pass. The Society Spa of St. George is the perfect setting for this visionary event.

Register here for a night that is sure to launch you forward!