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See it to be it: 5 steps to create a vision board that does its job

March 8, 2022 - 21 min read

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What are vision boards?

How do vision boards work?

How to make a vision board for manifestation

How to create a vision board online

Manifestation ideas for your vision board

How to use your vision board

Everyone has something that they want to bring to life. But what if you can't really see it?

If you don't have a vision and you’re struggling to pinpoint what you want and where you want to go, it is difficult to get traction.

Without a clear vision, it's hard to direct your efforts in ways that serve your goals. It's also hard to attract the support and resources you need. 

That's where a vision board comes in.

You might have heard people talk about manifestation, the idea that you can attract your dream vision into your life by thinking about it. In reality, our dreams don't manifest on their own. Achieving your goals and realizing your potential takes work.

At the same time, helps to have a detailed vision and a belief in your own ability to convert that visualization into action. And from action to reality.

Vision boards are an amazing tool to help you create that focused vision and kickstart the real manifestation process.

What exactly are vision boards, and do they really work? Vision boards are all about intentions, and they are a great way to remind yourself of what your intentions are.

Let’s explore how to create a vision board for yourself and how to make the most of it once you whisk it into reality. 

What are vision boards?

Vision boards are a collection of images or objects arranged in a way to help you manifest your goals or vision. This board can be physical or digital. 

Vision boards are highly versatile. You can use them to manifest your personal goals or create a visual representation of a personal vision statement. They’re perfect for helping you envision your dream life. But you can also use a vision board to outline your professional goals.

You can use a vision board for long term goals, like achieving your 5-year plan. Or you can create a yearly vision board, too.

People who use vision boards usually place them where they’ll see them often. For instance, you can place a vision board on a mirror you use to get ready in the morning. Other people will prefer to hang it on a wall in a room they use often.

woman-cutting-materials-how-to-create-a-vision-board

What should a vision board include?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what to include in a vision board. To start, you should add images that inspire you or make you feel a certain way. Think back to the last time you looked at an image or photo that made you feel something. How did you feel? Is this feeling something that aligns with your values?

That’s what you’re looking for when you’re thinking of what to include on your board.


Vision boards also contain quotes that align with your vision. They can be:

  • Handwritten
  • Printed and attached to the board
  • Drawn in calligraphy
  • Cut up from interesting materials, like old shirts

In addition, a vision board can contain items of sentimental value. These items can be attached to special memories you have that remind you of your goals. 

In reality, nothing is off-limits when it comes to a vision board. If it’s feasible to add it to a board, you can try it. The important thing to consider is whether it will help you manifest your vision or not.

How do vision boards work?

You already know that you can't achieve your goals just by thinking about them (or chanting them or writing them down on X slips of paper).

So what's the deal with a vision board?

You create a board out of craft items, magazine clippings, and other miscellaneous items. How can something so simple help you set and achieve your goals? It can sometimes feel like magic.

Well, it’s not quite magic. Instead, according to BetterUp's Dr. Erin Eatough, "It is the concept that thoughts precede behavior. Mindsets drive behaviors that drive outcomes."

Vision boards are effective because they are a visual reminder of your intentions and shape your thoughts and actions.

Vision boards give you a clear direction for where you want to go in several areas of your life. They allow you to visualize what goals you want to achieve. When you create a physical vision board, you can even touch what represents your vision. 

Vision boards are a constant reminder of what your priorities are. You can get to know yourself a little better by clarifying what it is you want. 

This visual reminder helps you "manifest the things you want" by taking action to get them. Whenever you need to make a decision in your life, your dream board is there to remind you of what matters to you. Think of it as a nudge in the right direction.

Vision boards are similar to journaling in this way. Some people find it easier to set their goals and visualize what they want by writing everything down. But vision boards are perfect for people who prefer a visual representation of that same purpose.

How to make a vision board for manifestation

Creating a vision board can be fun and easy. Engage with your creative, playful self. You don’t need to overthink the process. Your own vision board is for you and you only, so there’s no one you need to impress with it. 

You can create a physical vision board that you can hang anywhere in your home or office following these steps:

Let’s break down each of these steps.

1. Gather your materials

To make a vision board, you’ll need a variety of materials. In some cases, you can make do with what you have on hand. But some materials are more important than others. 

For instance, you’ll need a board as a base. There are several types of boards you can use, including:

  • Wire boards
  • Whiteboards
  • Magnetic board for your fridge
  • Corkboards

If you don’t want to spend a ton on new items to make your vision board, it’s not necessary to use one of these types of bases. Instead, you can cut out a large piece of cardboard from a box you have at home. Or, you can purchase a large poster board at your closest dollar store.

You’ll also need images or items to add to the board. Those images can come from a variety of sources, including:

  • Old magazines and catalogs
  • Printed versions of online images
  • Old photos
  • Postcards

Next, you’ll need something to secure your items to your base. You can use what you have on hand or purchase what you prefer to use. Pins and clips work well. You can also use glue sticks or tape. If you’re making a magnetic board, you can use small magnets to secure your images.

Scissors will be useful to help you cut out your images.

Finally, you’ll need a variety of craft tools like pens, markers, paint, stickers, or anything else you want to use to embellish your board. You can use as little or as much of these materials as you desire.

2. Take some time to clarify your vision

Before you start crafting, take more than a few moments to clarify your vision. What do you want to manifest with your board? 

Get as clear as you can on your vision. Don’t rush this step. It’s the foundation for your entire board.  You will find that you get even more clarity, and detail, as you create the board.

Don’t distract yourself with other entertainment during this step, like watching TV in the background or talking to a family member while you’re thinking about your vision. It’s important to remain self-aware as you clarify your vision.

You can journal about it if it helps to write things down.

3. Find images and objects that represent your vision

You’ve already gathered your materials. Now, it’s time to prepare them to be displayed on your board. 

In addition to images, you can find quotes to add to your board. You can print them out or write them yourself with a nice pen or marker. 

Are there any items associated with memories from your life that spark the feeling you’re envisioning? If so, consider adding it to your board.

You can even add craft items like scraps of fabric. Or, you can include items from nature like tree branches if it makes sense with your goals. For instance, adding some leaves or pine needles could remind you that you want to spend more time in nature.

woman-handling-evergreen-branches-how-to-create-a-vision-board

4. Arrange your materials

Now it’s time to take everything you’ve prepared and arrange your board.

Have some fun with this step. Your layout should inspire you. There’s no need to rush it. 

Feel free to play around with different layout options until it feels just right for you. This process is part of developing a clearer, more detailed vision for the future.

You may discover that you’re missing something when you get to this point. Don’t hesitate to go back if you want to add anything new.

When you’re done, secure everything in place with your binding material of choice. Don’t secure your items too quickly. Make sure you’re happy with it. If you’re using pins or clips, it’s easy to change things around. But if you’re gluing or taping your materials, it’ll be much more difficult to change your mind afterward.

5. Place your vision board where you’ll see it often

It’s finally time to place your vision board. Choose a place that makes sense for you. It should be easily accessible daily.

You can try:

  • Your fridge
  • An empty wall in your kitchen
  • An altar
  • A mirror
  • Your nightstand
  • Inside your home office if you work from home

Make sure not to secure your vision board too tightly in its new home. This is just in case you change your mind about the placement.

woman-writing-on-blackboard-how-to-create-a-vision-board

How to create a vision board online 

Online vision boards can be accessed anywhere you have an online device. They also don’t require printing or buying expensive materials.

Here’s how you can make your first vision board come to life digitally.

1. Choose your tool

There are several options to create a free vision board. Some people like to use Pinterest because it’s so easy to collect images and links. However, Pinterest isn’t arranged like a traditional goal board. You can’t create a layout like you could with a physical board.

One tool that makes it easy for non-designers to design their own digital vision board is 

Canva. The user-friendly design tools in Canva can help you create a more traditional board, even if you don’t have any design skills.

2. Source your images

The great thing about creating a vision board digitally is that you have virtually no limits for what type of images you can use.

There are so many high-quality images that are also royalty-free. Websites like Unsplash or Pixabay make it easy to search for exactly what you’re looking for.

You can also source images from social media accounts you love. As long as you keep your vision board to yourself, you can use other people’s images. Just remember that you don’t own the copyright for these images. You’ll need to ask for permission if you want to share your vision board publicly.

Additionally, you can search for vision board ideas online to help inspire you.

3. Use a template, or start from scratch

There are free and paid Canva templates available online. These templates make it even easier for you to design an amazing-looking vision board. All you need to do is add in your images and place them exactly where you want them.

You can also choose to start from scratch. If you do, you’ll need to choose your board size. The board size you choose should depend on where you’ll use it the most. For example, you should create a vertical board if you intend to mostly view your board on your smartphone’s lock screen or background.

4. Add your images and quotes to your digital vision board

Once you’re ready to go, it’s time to add your images and quotes to your digital vision board. 

If using Pinterest, pin what you see into the right board. But if you’re using Canva or another design tool, you’ll need to think about the placement of your images.

Just like a physical vision board, take your time with this step. The great thing about digital boards is that you can undo your work if you’re not happy. You can also resize your images and quotes to make everything fit exactly how you envision it.

man-using-laptop-with-dog-how-to-create-a-vision-board

5. Save your image 

Once you’re happy with how your board looks, it’s time to save and export your file. Note that you can’t export a Pinterest board, so this only applies to a tool like Canva.

Inside Canva, you can easily save and export your image for free. A paid account will let you export more types of files. 

So what can you do with your exported file? Add it to your phone lock screen or as a background on your computer. You can also decide to print the board to hang it somewhere in your home.

If you intend to print your board, make sure your board size is large enough for the final printing size. A board that’s too small will look blurry and pixelated if printed in a very large size.

Manifestation ideas for your vision board

Now you know how to create a vision board from scratch. But it can be difficult to start when there’s so much you want to accomplish.

Let’s go over some manifestation ideas to inspire what items to add to your board.

  • Career aspirations: images from trade magazines, tools of the trade, images that represent financial abundance
  • Self-care: inspiring quotes, reminders, soothing images that inspire wellness, workout inspiration
  • Love and relationships: quotes that represent your point of view on relationships, images of loving relationships
  • Positivity: images that spark joy within you, quotes that make you feel positive and mentally fit
  • Travel: images of your dream destinations, postcards, images of planes or trains, photos of you traveling

woman-traveling-alone-how-to-create-a-vision-board

How to use your vision board 

There are several ways you can use your newly created vision board to help your affirmations come to life.

First, consider including your vision board in your daily self-care routine. You can take time for yourself every morning to look at your vision board. Meditate and use the images you’ve created to inspire your meditation.

You can do the same thing in the evening before you go to bed. Instead of scrolling through your phone in your bed, take some self-care time to look at your vision board and meditate on your vision again.

This isn't magic. It's shaping your thoughts and reinforcing your priorities. It's motivating. The last thing you’ll think about before you go to sleep will be what you envision for your life. Isn’t that powerful?

When you create your vision board, you can also leave some areas blank to make room for what you want. You’re always growing as a person. It makes sense that you’ll have new goals to develop over time. 

Another technique you can use is to speak your goals out loud. When you look at your vision board, speak affirmation of your capability to realize your goals. I am enough. I have all of the tools and resources I need to X. I can do this. You can even incorporate speaking into your meditation if it works well for you.

You aren't "speaking your goals into existence" so much as reinforcing positive self-talk in your mind. Achieving your dreams is hard enough without a runaway train of negative self-talk to contend with

One of the best ways to make your vision board work is to make sure you don’t just visualize. You also have to take action. 

If you want to get your dream job, start developing the skills you need to succeed in this position. If you want to travel more, open a new savings account and set up automatic transfers every month. If you want to spend more time outdoors, add some dedicated time to your calendar for outdoor activities.

Finally, refresh your board when you feel the need to do so. You’ll know it’s time to refresh the board when looking at it no longer inspires you the way it used to. Maybe your passion and true north have changed over time.

Learn how to create a vision board to accomplish your goals this year 

Now that you know how to create a vision board, hopefully you can see that it’s a fun and creative way to visualize and make your goals a reality. This tool is especially effective if you find it helpful to have a daily reminder of where you’re headed. Whenever you have to make a difficult decision, you’ll have your vision board to help guide you in the right direction.

Another powerful way to manifest your vision is to work with a coach to get clear on what you want and create a plan of action. Achieving your goals and growing into your best self isn’t always easy, but it’s much easier when you have the right support.

Whether you want to accomplish personal goals, professional aspirations, or both, BetterUp can help you on your journey.

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Published March 8, 2022

Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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