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Dream it, do it: How to make a vision board

In this article, I break down the art of making a vision board, and I describe what appears on mine.

Dreaming has always been the first step in achieving anything important in my life. Before I could speak French, I began doing so fluently in my dreams. Before I ran my fastest mile time in high school, I dreamed of the time I would hit (down to the second!). Before I realized I should I apply to Harvard, I dreamed that I was a student peering down on Harvard Yard from Boylston (my favorite spot to work during my Master’s program). To this day, I continue to have eerily predictive dreams. Yet I’m fully aware that my dreams themselves don’t determine my reality. Rather, my tenacity to achieve the things that I dream make them come to life.

Last weekend, I assisted Andrea Isabelle Lucas’s “Dreamer’s Summit” installment of yoga teacher training at Barre & Soul Harvard Square. This session focused on becoming clear about our dreams. We began the workshop with a guided meditation that asked us to ponder into the future. Next, we brought these images into view by crafting vision boards.

As a lifelong dreamer, I started vision boarding eons before I knew it was a thing. When I was a child, I made all my vision boards in my head. I would spend ages flipping through magazines of all genres, and making mental notes of my dream birthday party, my dream home, and my dream wardrobe. All this imagery became hard to keep track of, and eventually, as a teenager, I had stockpiled enough magazines to begin ripping them to shreds and collaging the pieces together into my own reality. Rather than using boards, I usually simply taped my cutouts together into a tangled, sticky network of pieces. I remember making several collages for fashion that I proudly displayed, and one massive “hot guy collage” of my dream boyfriend (he was mostly a combination of Orlando Bloom and Chad Michael Murray at the time) that I hid under my bed.

Yet somehow, the “Dreamer’s Summit” was my first time officially calling what I do “vision boarding” after learning a few years ago that this is in fact a thing. The one that I made this year was far from my teenage calls to create the perfect boyfriend or to convince myself I could someday hit the runways in Paris. To be honest, I’m quite content with my life these days, and haven’t really been called to collage my dreams to reality. I didn’t know if I would find much in our magazine piles that resonated with me, but as soon as I started the process, many things did.

My latest vision board is not a call for sweeping life changes, but rather a reminder to keep appreciating beauty, romance, and magic in life. The things that I find most breathtaking in life all appear on my board: a sunrise over wilderness, mountain peaks, Paris, ballet, a mother and a daughter (in tutus) bonding over dessert, a freelancer working in a coffee shop, a quote reminding this freelancer why she loves her coffee shop-hopping life (because she gets to work on her own time, of course), a better looking version of my boyfriend and me on horses…

By displaying my vision board on my dresser (unlike hiding my “hot guy collage” under my bed as a teen), I can bring my dreams from my board to my daily life. I can be reminded each morning to make room for more beauty and romance in my life, even on the most jam-packed of days.

I must admit, I am fully hooked on vision boarding after this experience. Here are a few simple steps on how to make your own:

  1. Collect magazines with plenty of images and text that inspire you.

  2. Cut the images, words, and quotations that inspire you out of your magazines. You don’t necessarily have to question WHY these cutouts inspire you, but you have a clear reason for your board if you have a particular goal or project that stands out in your mind.

  3. Use a glue stick to paste your images onto a piece of paper (use a thicker poster type if you want this to be durable).

  4. Collage away until all background space is covered.

  5. Once your board is complete, reflect on why you chose these images and what tangible steps you can take to bring these visions to life.

  6. Display your board somewhere visible to remind yourself of your vision each day.

  7. Repeat this process every 6-12 months at minimum because your vision is likely to evolve over time.

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