Skip The Resolutions. Do this Instead.
You may not have made a resolution in years, or, if you did, chances are it lasted about as long as it took to shake off January 1st’s hangover. In fact, according to this New York Post Article, only “8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals, while around 80 percent fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions, says US clinical psychologist Joseph Luciani.”
It’s no wonder then, that New Year’s Resolutions have become somewhat cliche, taking the power out of a good goal-setting ritual and replacing it with a hollow gesture ‘destined’ for failure.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make goals, or plan out your year. The failure rate shouldn’t keep you from dreaming up a vision for your life that’s BIGGER and BETTER. The reality is, without taking time to evaluate your goals and make plans to achieve them, you’re not likely to get any closer to the life you want to live.
In this Harvard Business Study, interviewers discovered that the 13% of graduates who set goals made TWICE as much money each year as the 84% without any goals, and the 3% who had gotten clear about how to achieve these goals, made TEN times as much as the remaining 97% together. (Read that again.)
When you get clear about your goals, even if they aren’t specifically about making more money, you’re MUCH more likely to achieve them. And actually, this activity can help you reach your ‘resolutions’, goals, dreams, AND ideas quicker.
To reach your goals this year, skip the resolutions, and make a vision board instead.
You may have heard about the vision board craze over the past decade, and maybe you’ve tried making one before. Here’s the truth about vision boards: there’s quite a bit of research to back their effectiveness for achieving your goals, BUT, there is a right way and a wrong way to create one.
Pasting 27 random magazine clippings to cardstock, covering it with glitter, and taping it to your bathroom mirror will NOT magically get you the body of the gal from Shape magazine with Jennifer Aniston’s hair. (I know, SHOCKING). It takes a little more thoughtfulness and strategy than that.
But first- here’s WHY creating a vision board will work for you.
- A well planned and executed vision board can serve as a powerful visualization tool, helping the brain to focus more easily on what you actually want. Studies show, that repeatedly imagining future events with a positive emotional association, greatly increases their likelihood for occuring. This type of visualization is a lot like creating a visual map to reach your goals- think of this like a brain’s infographic.
- Visualization for your year’s goals helps your brain FOCUS. Your brain is a powerful computer; your nervous system and senses are sifting through INSANE amounts of information, much of which is missed or filed away as ‘not important’ by your subconscious. The brain chooses to highlight and keep information that aligns with it’s current ideas…and according to this study from the McGovern Institute, having a clear ‘target’ for your brain enhances it’s ability to process information. SO- visualization, goal-setting, and a really intentional VISION BOARD can be a very effective way to get your brain to focus and filter through your experiences in order to bring you opportunities and information aligned with your goals.
Here’s how to make your vision board work for you:
Step One: Visualize and WRITE IT OUT.
This crucial step is the part most people skip.
In order to create an intentional vision board, you’ll need to visualize your desired result first. Think about your dreams for the next year, your goals, and who you need to be in order to have them. It’s important to go into detail here! It’ll give you lots of insight for your vision board. I recommend using a guided meditation to tap into the ‘pictures’ that will be helpful for your vision board, and then journaling for 5 minutes. Consider your emotional state, what you’re wearing in your visualization, what types of activities you will do to get to your goals, and what will happen once you achieve them. (Here’s a free guided meditation and some journal prompts to help you through the process).
Step 2: Find Inspiration
Search for images that directly correlate with your visualization from step one. I recommend doing an internet search and saving them to your desktop or Pinterest board. This will help you organize into themes, colors, and ideas. Choose words that directly inspire you, and choose images that give you powerful emotional responses DIRECTLY related your goals for next year.
Step 3: Create Your Board
There are many ways to create a vision board- my favorite ones are electronic. My go-to program is Canva (it’s FREE). Canva is great for organizing your photos into a collage… among a million other things. You can simply upload your pictures into the program, choose a size for your project, and drag and drop. If you prefer the more traditional, hands-on method, print out your images and slap them onto some Posterboard or cardstock.
Step 4: Gut Check
According to research by neuroscientist Dr. Joe Dispenza, to bring your dreams to reality quicker, it’s helpful to feel the feelings associated with already achieving them ahead of time. In other words, when you look at your images, do you feel like the ‘you’ associated with the goals you’ve set? Study your vision board and ask yourself how you feel. If the images and colors don’t illicit a strong emotion in your heart or gut, swap them out for something more aligned with how you expect to feel once you’ve brought the images to life.
Step 5: Put your Work At Eye Level
The ‘magic’ of active visualization works best if you do it every day. Our nervous systems are bombarded with notifications, advertising, and cat videos all day long, so it’s important to keep your goals front and center in your mind’s eye, and revisit them often. I recommend downloading an image of your vision board to use for your Desktop background, your phone wallpaper, and pinning a tangible copy on your wall in your office or bedroom- somewhere you’ll see it every day. If you go for making a vision board with magazines and glue, take a picture of the end result and use that for your electronic devices.
A well-executed, thoughtful vision board can help you bring about real changes in your life any time of the year. While many changes are outside your control, your focus and attention are always tools you can call on to bring your life back into focus.