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The First Thing You Need to Do to Make 2017 Your Year

An Exercise in Self-Reflection and Visualization
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As the year draws to a close, many of us will take a moment or two to ponder all the events that have shaped our lives over the past 12 months. Some will rejoice at having reached certain targets, for others the year will have been an exercise in futility. And for many more, it will have been a difficult year, at the end of which they will rejoice.

I fall into the latter category. Despite giving birth to a beautiful baby girl early this year, it has been the most challenging time of my life, characterized by sleep deprivation, coming to terms with motherhood, and a pervasive feeling of helplessness and despondency. I kept telling myself just a few more months and the year will be over, and I can start anew.

But I knew I had to do more than just wait out the year. I had to actively go about initiating the change I so longed for, so I decided to create a vision board.

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What is a vision board, you ask?

Popularized by the movie and the book The Secret and heralded as one of the most efficient visualization tools out there, not to mention a great exercise in the law of attraction. A vision board is exactly what it sounds like: a board where you can place images of what you want your future to look like. It is a visual representation of who you want to become, it forces you to think carefully about what exactly you want to achieve in life, and helps you to get clear on how to go about doing it.

Most of us want to be rich, successful and happy. While those are admirable goals, they’re also a bit vague. A vision board hones down the vision you have for your future into clear, identifiable goals and targets, organized in a visual format. While you can just as easily write down your goals, there is power in images. Creating a daily habit of looking at the board and imprinting your subconscious mind with the images of your future life will keep you focused on your intentions and act as a motivation to act on them.

It’s been touted by many celebrities who attribute their wild success to it; Oprah Winfrey, Steve Harvey, and Jim Carrey among others. But it didn’t just work for celebrities; ordinary people who created vision boards were stunned to see that years later, almost everything on their vision boards was manifested.

Now before you dismiss it as just another bogus trend hyped up by our celebrity obsessed culture, you should know there is actually a science behind it.

  • When creating a vision board, you choose images that ‘feel’ right, and therefore accessing your subconscious. It is the subconscious that drives our thinking much of the time.
  • The process of creating a vision board makes you feel happier, more motivated and inspired. By experiencing these positive emotions, you are releasing a burst of oxytocin and dopamine into your brain – ‘feel good’ neuropeptides. This will enable you to take action.
  • Looking at the vision board focuses your thinking in such a way that it impacts your feelings, behavior, and subsequently your results. In fact, by focusing on a collage of images and imprinting the vision board on your brain you are creating new neural pathways, and thereby creating a different way of thinking about your future and desires. Unconsciously, you will start to become more aware of opportunities, connections and conversations that will help you achieve your vision board. The law of attraction at its finest.

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Here are a few simple steps to creating a vision board:

1) First gather all the supplies you will need:

a. Notebook

b. Cork board or poster board

c. A stack of old magazines (or books that you don’t mind defacing).

d. Glue stick

e. Pair of scissors

f. Marker

g. Cup of coffee, tea or your favorite smoothie (optional)

2) Carve out some quiet time with no distractions. Think carefully about what you really want out of life. Don’t just focus on material things (money, big house, nice car…etc) but also think about the intangibles; the way you want to feel, the person you want to become, the values you want to adopt or maintain, relationships that you want to mend or manifest…etc. Write them down. Categorize them into different groups: health and fitness, financial success, job fulfilment, love and relationships, family and so on.

3) Start flipping through the magazines and cut out any images or words that speak to you, that inspire you or make you feel happy (I have a 10 second rule. If I linger on an image for more than 10 seconds, I just cut it out). Don’t overanalyze it or worry about whether these images fit into your overall vision. The elimination process will come later.

4) After you’ve collected all your images, select the ones you really like and which represent your specific goal or desire. The more specific, the better. For example, I have a picture of a country cottage on my board but I also have pictures of interior décor (representing not only the house I want but how I want it to look like on the inside).

5) Then lay them out on the board. Don’t glue them on yet. Just play around with where you want the different images to go. I mentally divide the board into 4 or 5 sections according to the categories I’ve already outlined and glue images on the board that fall into their respective categories.

6) This step is optional. But I like to leave some space on the board between the pictures to write with my marker some inspirational words and sayings or values and emotions that I want to adopt. Or even goals that I couldn’t find any images for. For example, “Never give up,” “Learn a new skill,” “Believe”…etc.

7) After you’ve finished, place the board somewhere where you can look at it first thing when you wake up in the morning. Make a habit of scanning it (image by image) in the morning and at night, believe that everything on your board will manifest and feel the happiness and gratefulness of already having those things in your life.

8) Be patient. Not everything will happen right away, the next day, or even the next year. But the important thing is to believe and take action towards achieving those goals.

9) As we get older, the things we want out of life change. So get into the habit of creating a vision board at specific times or milestones. I created my vision board on a cold, rainy day in December. What better way to bid farewell to 2016 than to create a vision board of what I want the universe to manifest in my life in the years to come? As for the results, I guess only time will tell.

So give it a try. You might be surprised by what materializes out of it.

Happy vision boarding!!

Photo credit: Elana Lyn 

Asil Rashid is a Sudanese-born Canadian, who’s lived most of her life in Dubai, U.A.E. Having worked as an environmental and sustainability consultant for most of her professional career, she has always maintained a love of writing. After getting married and moving to Cairo, a couple of years ago, she started a blog ( www.thebountifulnow.com) to chronicle her experience of living in Egypt, as well as her travels around and outside of Egypt and the numerous recipes she’s created. Early this year, she became a mother to a beautiful baby girl and, having always been interested in health and wellness, cooking and making things in her kitchen from scratch, she decided to work as a contributor writer for The Daily Crisp as a way to indulge her many passions. Asil is also an avid gardener, a lover of Italian food and a PADI Open Water certified diver.

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