It was a chilly night in January when three of my friends and I gathered for a fun night of Indian food and wine. After an ab workout’s worth of belly-aching laughs, my friend announced that she has just gone to a vision board-making party. I sat there perplexed. “Are people still making vision boards?” I thought to myself. I probably even made a tiny joke making a little fun of her. But the joke’s on me because the answer I would come to find over the next few weeks was a resounding YES! People are most definitely still making vision boards, so should I make one? What actually sold me was a week after our dinner a very exciting “goal” on my friend’s board was already becoming a reality. That’s when I thought, “hey, I like scrapbooking and it’s not like making a vision board is going to hurt me, right?” But you should know that I am not a vision board pro. I can only assume I must have attempted to make one at some point with friends. However, I have zero evidence. Also, I should say that it’s not that I think vision boards went away. I was just shocked by the number of personal friends, in their 30s, who had never brought them up before, who were deciding 2023 was the year they were getting back into it.
I actually think this is really sweet and hopeful. And aside from a few supplies, it doesn’t cost much of anything. I know personally, it has felt kind of scary to believe really good, big things could start to happen. So the idea of even writing dreams or goals down in the past few years felt like I was almost jinxing them. But now, as we are days away from the three-year lockdown anniversary, we might collectively be ready to freely and boldly put some true personal goals out into the world despite the immense amount of pain and struggle that is still going on. Holding space for joy and progress alongside our personal and collective pain is the only way we are going to move forward. At least that’s how I feel.
In terms of spirituality, I fall in the middle of the road. I grew up around deeply spiritual women who at times went a little too deep. For that reason, I tend to tense up slightly when spiritual vernacular veers too far from “reality”. However, I very much have my own spiritual beliefs and deeply believe in the power of thought (along with some action:)). So that’s what my attempt with a 2023 vision board is – a visual reminder of my goals to keep them top of mind and push me into doing things that consciously (or unconsciously) get me closer to those goals. I still stand by the fact that one of the reasons I moved to New York a mere four days after college graduation was well, a lot of luck, but also that every day for two years I looked at those two brass NY figurines pictured above. I don’t think they have magical powers (necessarily:)) but seeing them, thinking about New York, and talking about New York constantly kept my eye on the prize. I will never get rid of them. I even took them with me when I moved to Australia. They’ve been with me for about 18 years…whoa time is flying!
Ok, let’s get into my board. Well, most of it. I think we can all agree that sharing dreams and goals, both personal and professional, is extremely vulnerable. In a perfect world, I would show you the whole thing but this world is far from perfect, and some things I’m just not willing to post on the internet. Maybe someday:) However, writing this post and not showing you something isn’t helpful. So let’s talk about the general ideas.
I decided to get a tri-fold poster board (you know the ones you get for a science fair project). I liked the idea of being about to prop it up by my desk but if someone were to come over I could easily close her up and stick her in the closet. Ha. The tri-fold not only stands on its own but for me, it helped to visually categorize everything. So if you look at the board, the left side is more for personal goals, the right is work-related and the center is a bit of a mix along with more long-term goals.
After I planned that out, I went into my 2005 scrapbooking supplies and chose a color scheme for my board. I’m sure no one is shocked I wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing. So I went for neutral pieces of cardstock and put keywords I wanted to focus on in those gold sticker letters I got from the drugstore. Some of the letter spacing is better than others:)
Then I got out the magazines I had, as well as a few new purchases. FYI new/international magazines are not cheap so I only got three. I’m not totally done yet because I still need to hit the internet and print out some more pics. I didn’t realize until I started the magazine part that the world has moved so far into digital that old-school vision boarding, mood boarding, etc is a different game in 2023. Not impossible but not as accessible since our homes are likely not as filled with physical magazines. Bittersweet.
The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t have to be perfect (I am very much saying this to myself). It’s supposed to be fun and help us to dream big. I know you can feel dumb when you’re hypothetically really reaching for the stars but we are the only ones standing in our way (just me?). So here are some board-making resources to get you started:
As I just said, you might not have a ton of magazines lying around and/or you may not want to spend big bucks on buying a bunch of new ones. You can actually buy old magazines and clippings (less work for you and your scissors) on the internet. The ones below are from Etsy but I am sure there are other resources. Now, this is more of a gamble but it is a fun option.
Magazines Craft (1-2 premium magazines): Oldies but (premium) goodies!
50pc Magazine Cutout Clippings: This is a gamble for sure but the less cutting the better, right?
Don’t recycle your catalogs just yet! There could be vision board gold in those puppies! Interiors, style, and other stuff I can’t think of. You never know!
Take a gander through your old photos. There might be gems in there too.
Stickers aren’t necessary but neither is making a vision board. Plus stickers are fun:) You can use letters for custom words, fun shapes for decoration, themed stickers (like travel ones) to help visualize your goals, etc. The sky’s the limit.
1. 202 Pieces Self-Adhesive Vinyl Letters Numbers Kit: Similar to the ones I used and come in different sizes.
2. 52 ct. Gold Word Bubble Scratch & Reveal Stickers: So these are scratchers which is fun but you can also just write fun words or saying on top!
3. Wanderlust Stickers: As a travel lover myself, I forgot what a deep and positive impact it has on my life and mental health. But it’s wild how easy it is to push it off and not prioritize. These stickers are a cute reminder to make sure you stick to it.
4. Dimensional Gold Star Stickers: Boards should be pretty and who doesn’t like a gold star??
5. New York City Stickers: I, of course, love NYC but there are stickers for hundreds of cities. Find the one you want to go to more or next.
6. 24ct House Plants Stickers: As someone who has the farthest thing from a green thumb, I like the idea of adding something like thriving plants as a goal.
7. 494ct Mini Alphabet Foam Stickers: More letters but minis! If you don’t love your handwriting (like me) and want to add more custom words these would be so cute.
8. Contemporary Dance Dimensional Stickers: I think that moving our bodies in whatever way we love should always to a priority/goal. Dance is that for me and maybe you? 🙂
9. Beach Vibes Stickers: Maybe you aren’t a beach lover per se but prioritizing even just 5 mins a day for relaxation is really important!
Because I need things like this to look like a school project I like to use pretty paper to back things. On my board, I just used them for my keywords but there are a million ways you can jazz up your board with cute and colorful paper. There are also endless options with patterns if sounds fun to you!
1. Neutrals 4.5″ x 6.5″, 87 Sheets: I love these Mat Stacks and is what I used on my “keyword cards” on my board
2. Neutral Paper Pad, 12″ x 12″: Here is another neutral pack where the papers are larger and the color range is also a little bigger.
3. Smooth Cardstock Paper Pad – A2 – 4.25 x 5.5 – 40 Sheets: I just think this is a really pretty color range and I like the smaller paper size.
4. Jewel Textured Cardstock Paper Pad, 4.5″ x 6.5″: In case you wanted a not-neutral option in my favorite paper size.
5. Neutral Metallics 12″ x 12″ Single-Sided Cardstock Paper, 48 Sheets: I love these metallic papers and these are the larger ones.
6. The Metallic Mat Stack 69 Prints , 4.5” X 6.5”: And this is the smaller version that I actually own and love because the less cutting the better.
To make a vision board you are going to need some general supplies. But general supplies don’t need to be boring. Let me show you…
1. White 36″ x 48″ Foam Tri-Fold Display Board: This is what I got (or a similar version) and I am a big fan. It stands up on its own and I can easily close her up and put her away when friends come over:)
2. 11pk Bright Glitter Washi Tape: These are flashy but fun! They add some personality and can potentially help you avoid needing to use glue.
3. 5 Colors Washi Tape Combo: The same as above but for those of us that aren’t into things that are super colorful and shiny:)
4. Scotch Wrinkle-Free Glue Stick (Set of 2): I used this and it was great.
5. 20ct Washable Markers Super Tip Classic Colors: Markers are great for adding little words or sayings. This set has a great color range and is a great price.
6. 10ct Dual Brush Pen Art Markers: Fancier markers with different brush options!
7. Elmer’s Spray Adhesive: I bought something similar and it worked great for the thicker cardstock. I do recommend wearing a glove and spraying into a box.
8. 16″ x 20″ Foam Boards (Set of 3): If the trifold is too big for your liking this is a great smaller alternative.
9. 8″ Precision Scissors: If you don’t have scissors, you are going to need them.
Lastly, when I brought up this idea, Emily thought I should touch on the idea of “spiritual elitism”. Spirituality, like most everything else, has been co-opted by capitalism making it feel almost inaccessible to those who can’t buy all the fancy oils, or crystals, go on expensive retreats, or practice at a beautiful yoga studio multiple times a week. While all of these things are absolutely nice, none of them have ownership over the best way to practice spirituality. And what is so great about a vision board is that anyone can do one. Manifestation, if you are interested in that, is free and takes only the time you want or can put into it. And if you don’t want to spend money on board-making supplies but you have a computer, then you have the option to make a digital version and put it as your background. The more we move away from this expensive and commercialized way of participating spirituality, I say the better. Just do what’s right for you because that’s the best way.
If you are inspired to make a vision board, dream big and have the best time.
Love you, mean it.
Many public libraries have magazine share bins to pick up some freebies.
Not too long ago, I posted on our neighborhood message board if anyone had any magazines for my kids to use for a collage project, and I was surprised by how many we were able to collect. Then my kids proceeded to collage for hours – they’d never done anything like that before, and we ended up using their collages as wrapping paper for their friend’s gifts. It was so fun. Next up – Mom’s vision board. Love this idea, and the kids could make one as well.
Also, I may have commented about before, but I use the Planta app. It tells me if my plant will be okay in a certain room, depending on the light, and sends me notifications for when I should water. I went from having a few plants to having plants all over my house. And, they’re all alive! It’s so helpful, and I think I just have the free version.
So lovely and also timely! Thank you.
Reading the part that says “ it has felt kind of scary to believe really good, big things could start to happen,” I was a bit sad — then realized that in all honesty, it’s true of me too.
My colleague and I host a Vision Board making party every year and it’s become an event everyone looks forward to. Just lots of good vibes, positivity and fun conversations. We get all our magazines from our neighborhood groups and collect throughout the year. It’s so fun and really for visual people is one of the best forms of goal-setting. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve put on my vision board have come to fruition…a lot! I keep mine against my full length mirror and focus on it for a few min every morning when I’m getting ready.
Before “manifesting” was a thing, I used to do vision boards.
In fact, as a secondary school teacher, it’s something I did with Year 8s at the start of the year to set goals and we reviewed them at the end of the year (teaching reflection as a life skill). The kids took them home in between.
For me, vision boards are an exercise to be done physically, not on a computer.
It needs to be tactile, and something I can move from room-to-room.
Now, as far as manifesting things to happen in our lives, this comes to mind:
Whst we dwell on, we become.
Well, if we create a vision board thoughtfully and with solid intent and look at it often (as Jess did with her two NY statues) … then we are dwelling on the concept or goal.
We are “manifesting” it to come to fruition.
Not woo-woo (as some negatively discounted previously in here), but Psychology 101.
I definitely subscribe to this!! 🤗
Very interesting. I’d never heard of vision boards til now – I am that old! I am also a scientist and have spent a lot of time helping my staff (and myself!) set carefully worded goals that are very specific and measurable. Crafting a visual representation seems quite freeing. Much like the ever-evolving collage that covered the inside of my closet door when I was a kid!
So fun, Jess! For anyone interested in some of the neuroscience behind manifestation, you might check out The Expanded podcast, which partners with neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart. (I read and apply all kinds of manifestation literature and practices, with good results. But that’s an excellent one for those who are eager for practical guidelines + neuroscience backup.)
Oh! And I wrote this manifestation resource post a ways back (just scroll by if it’s not your thing; no hate please :): https://medium.com/illumination/11-powerful-manifestation-resources-to-help-you-get-what-you-want-654bf2c081ee
Thanks for this Dana – I can’t wait to check it out, and the podcast too. Appreciate your input!
You’re so welcome, Barbara! I love this stuff. Makes life a bit more magical and fun, I find :).
Thank you Dana for the link, your article is really helpful and well written! I may follow a bit on Substack as time permits. Thank you again!
Thank you, Deborah! Blessings to you!
I’ve been making vision boards for years. Last year I converted to a digital vision board that I make with Canva. It’s really great because I have it as my desktop wallpaper, which means I see it every day. I do have to admit that the tactile experience of making a vision board is something I miss.
Ahhhh ! Love a fellow digital vision boarding friend 👋 Would love to invite you to try making one on Landing if you’re ever looking for a community to share your digital vision boards with ! We have creators of all backgrounds all over the world – you can even join a vision board group on our app to share vision boards you love + chat with other people who love vision boarding, too ! Doesn’t quite make up for the hands on experience – sometimes will throw IRL vision board parties with friends to get that part of the experience as well 💫
Great post Jess! I just did my vision board online in Canva because I realized I didn’t have the right magazines around anymore either! It was so fun to see your New York statues, and your “holding space for joy” comment speaks right to my heart – I totally agree. Thanks so much for the inspiration!
Could not agree more with this comment sticking with me !
Whoa…I was literally thinking about creating one last night! I’m definitely taking this as a sign to be brave and dream bigger than I’ve let myself lately. Thank you for your well-thought-out and helpful post!
The Dollar Tree and other “dollar stores” are a great source for supplies, particularly the display boards, if you choose to make a physical vision board 🙂
I hold a vision board meeting every year with my colleagues, and it’s an event that everyone looks forward to. Lots of good vibes, positivity and fun conversations. We get all our magazines from neighborhood groups and collect them all year round. It’s a lot of fun and one of the best goal setting methods for visual people. I can’t tell you how much of what I put on my vision board has come true…a lot! I hold my full-length mirror up in the full-length mirror and concentrate for a few minutes each morning until I’m ready.
THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS IN MARCH. I am 31 and randomly felt compelled to do this for the first time this year! Here we are in March.. jan I kept my fall winter magazines and started ripping out stuff from AD and Vogue because as cringey as I feel about vision boards I just had the feeling to do it. Late Feb got an xacto knife, paper cement, and cutting mat. March and I still feel the vibe and haven’t put glue to paper. I really have been visualluzing like a cool collage art board thing. Thank you for affirming this with your Jan post! Even March vogue touched on resolutions. Maybe we are all finally letting ourselves get a slow start.
Also love this, as I surprised myself, and realized in late 20s that I have an odd love of stickers.
“Stickers aren’t necessary but neither is making a vision board”
Jess – I LOVED this piece ! “it has felt kind of scary to believe really good, big things could start to happen” and “holding space for joy and progress alongside our personal and collective pain is the only way we are going to move forward” really hit home for me. Very much aligned with your interpretation of the benefits of vision boarding, personally – and would LOVE to invite anyone who wants to try making a digital vision board to join our community on Landing ! I’ve been building Landing for the past 3 years with our small, female-founded team – it’s a (free) social platform and global community for vision boarding, mood boarding, digital collaging, and connecting with others over shared interests and passions (like interior design!).
Would love to share more if you think there’s any way we might collab – we have tons of creators who are interested in interior / home design. A virtual interior mood boarding workshop ?! Manifesting ! ✨
Here’s a piece where you can learn more ! https://www.businessinsider.com/landing-a-pinterest-for-gen-z-is-growing-in-popularity-2022-12