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[Blog] Framing Your Future

blog Nov 17, 2021

            With the end of the year closing in, you may be looking ahead to what you hope to achieve in 2022. If so, keep a couple of sobering statistics in mind. First, 93% of New Year’s goals go unfulfilled (in fact, 30% are broken within the first week). And among those who join a gym, 80% drop out within eight weeks.

            Clearly, you need to have more than just good intentions if you are going to realize your dreams. I am thrilled to be able to say that I have learned how to make it into the 7% category of those who stick with their New Year’s goals until they are achieved—and I want to help you get serious about achieving your life goals.

            One of the keys to my success has been creating vision boards. These are simply collages of pictures and images depicting your dreams, displayed in a way that you can keep them in front of you daily as a reminder. What you post can range from places you want to go and things you want to have to aspirations you want to achieve and your deepest desires in fulfilling your personal life goals. 

            In 1993, a nine-year-old girl was asked by her teacher to make just such a vision board. She pinned a photo of the singer, Selena (known as the Queen of Tejano music at the time) holding her Grammy award. That little girl grew up to become an international pop star—one of the bestselling artists of all time—and is on the Forbes list of “Top-Earning Women In Music.” Her name: Katy Perry.

            Why are vision boards so powerful? Because surrounding yourself with images of your vision causes your dream to become more alive inside you. It is a vital component of your success that you surround yourself with what “can be” and not just “what is.”  

            A vision board adds clarity to your dreams and desires by allowing you to see them. It helps you concentrate and focus on your specific life goals. Basically, it keeps your attention on your intentions.

 

Surrounded by vision

            Vision boards have become popular over time, but the majority of those using them do not realize that God is the one who wants us to be clear on our vision. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) declares, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

            Let’s break that scripture down into more plain language: perish means die! The Bible says very clearly that we will die without vision. Vision keeps us alive. It takes us from where we currently are to where we long to be.

            All the way back in Genesis, God told Abraham, “Go outside and look up at the stars, for as many stars as you can see, that’s how many descendants you are going to have” (Genesis 15:5). Later, he told Abraham to look at the grains of sand because they also represented his number of future descendants. God wanted Abraham to have a picture in his mind—to be able to visualize it.

            Consider this: Abraham lived in the desert. What was he surrounded by all night long? Stars. What was he surrounded by all day long? Sand. God knew it wasn’t enough for Abraham to hear about his future; he also needed to see where he was headed. He was literally surrounded by vision. Consequently, he became what he beheld.

            When you create your vision in the form of a vision board, a vision book, or even an app on your smartphone, you are seeing yourself the way you want to be. I have been using vision boards for years, and they have kept me in a continual state of progression.

            Having a vision board will help you on many levels, including:

  • prioritizing your goals.
  • obtaining clarity in your life purpose.
  • building your faith in God’s ability to do the impossible.
  • boosting your confidence and self-esteem.
  • reminding you of your mission.

            When you’re surrounded by ongoing negative messages that life will never get any better, your vision board will serve as a visual reminder of where you are headed. It will keep you focused when you are tempted to give up. It keeps you single-minded and full of faith.

 

Real and tangible

            Now, it’s not that the board itself causes your dreams to magically appear; it’s what the realization and clarity of your dreams do for you that makes it “work.” Personally, I have experienced the fulfillment of a wide range of dreams (and simple desires) in my life through the ongoing practice of having my vision clearly before my eyes.

            I’ve realized dreams such as:

  • conceiving a baby.
  • purchasing a house.
  • driving my dream car (debt-free).
  • paying off debts.
  • vacationing in dream locations.
  • publishing my books (and seeing them in bookstores nationwide).

            Designing a vision board is simply one of the most valuable things you will ever do to see the realization of your dreams right before your eyes.

            Before you make a vision board of your dream, however, you need to write it down; something powerful happens when you put pen to paper. One of the most fascinating studies of writing your dreams was conducted by the 1979 Harvard MBA program. Graduate students were asked, “Do you have clear, written goals for your future?”

            Shockingly, only 3% had written goals and plans. Of the 1,000 students, 13% had some goals but never wrote them down. An alarming 84% had no goals at all. Ten years later, the same graduating class was interviewed and it was discovered that the 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, 20 times as much as the 97% of the class combined!

            Dr. Gail Matthews, psychology professor at Dominican University, conducted research on the topic of goal-setting using 267 participants and found that simply by writing down your goals you are 42% more likely to achieve them. As Henriette Anne Klauser, PhD., details in her book, Write it Down and Make It Happen, the act of writing your goals down makes them real and tangible.

            So before you design a vision board, you simply need to write. This is what forces you to clarify what you really want. Imagine going to the airport and trying to purchase a ticket to just “somewhere.” That doesn’t work. No, you choose a particular destination. Writing your dreams and goals is no different. You are charting your course and deciding where you want to go.

            It’s very important that you get clear on what you really want. But don’t treat it like homework. This is the fun part: You get to dream as big as you want. In your prayer time, practice sitting quietly with God and journal your thoughts. Simply grab a pen and paper or use your iPad and begin writing down your dreams and desires.

 

Be very specific

            Once you have your dreams down on paper, it’s time to illustrate them visually. Most people think in pictures and images, not in words. For instance, when you think about the car you desire, you don’t see in big letters, C-A-R. You actually see a photo of your car in your mind. Since your mind responds strongly to visual stimulation (your goals and dreams in pictures), it is important that you see your dreams before you.

            Be creative and enjoy searching for images that are a tangible representation of where you want your life to go. Use current photographs, search through your favorite magazines, and search the internet for what you’re looking for specifically. It can include pictures of things you would like to have one day but cannot necessarily afford right now—maybe a new home. It can also include photos depicting improvement in areas of life, such as greater health, a happy marriage, more children or professional accomplishments.

            Look for items that inspire you. Print or cut out all the images that represent your big dreams. It could be a photo of the headline reading “New York Times bestseller” or “Top Sales Winner” or “Grammy Winner.” It could be a photograph of your dream sports car, your vacation home in Maui or your chic apartment in Paris. 

            Anyone can tack a picture onto a corkboard of a sports car, a mansion and a wad of cash, but that’s too broad. You need to be very specific about your desires. If you desire to have money in your savings account, then print a photo of cash, but also write out exactly how much you want in your account.

            You will need:

  • A board. This can range from a poster board at your local pharmacy or supermarket to a corkboard from any craft store. You can use a magnetic board if you desire. I use a simple corkboard and wrap it with a beautiful, large frame to dress it up and display it as a decorative piece.
  • Pictures (Magazines, postcards, brochures). Enjoy researching images to match your big dreams and your top goals for the year. Be as creative as you want. Look through magazines and cut out photos or go online and research the dream and print it out. You can use postcards, newspaper clippings, brochures.
  • Pushpins or glue. Decide which works best for you: I use pushpins so I can remove goals once

achieved, and it doesn’t leave a messy finish.

  • Other. You will also need scissors, pens, markers or stencil letters to prepare your images and write your goals on them.

            The fun thing about designing a vision board is that it is as unique as you are. Some “crafty types” make the most beautiful, embellished vision boards that could be sold at an art auction. Some people just tack seven photos on a poster board and they’re done. It’s okay.

            Display your personality on this board. At the same time, don’t paste so much bling that it loses its motivation toward achievement because it’s just pretty artwork. Don’t allow the pressure of making it “fabulous” stop you from ever doing it. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to be done. And remember, you can always change it up as you go along. In fact, it’s a good idea to update your vision board annually. 

            We are taught to frame our past by displaying photographs of what we’ve previously done and accomplished. But the opposite is true of your vision board. You are literally framing your future before it ever happens!

 

 

This article was extracted from Issue 3 of Inspire Magazine (Fall 2021). Learn how to get your copy of Inspire Magazine.