Any serious achiever knows the importance and effectiveness of writing down their goals. It's not uncommon for very successful people to read their goals list at the beginning of each and every day upon awakening in the morning. Most people will not dispute the effectiveness in this daily ritual. Yet, the majority of people dismiss the idea of a dream board (also known as a vision board), labeling it as new-age nonsense. This doesn't make much sense to me.
Your goals list helps you to remain consciously focused on your goals; a dream board engages visual stimuli, taking it a level deeper by engaging your subconscious mind. As that happens, your subconscious sends messages to the information filtering system of the brain, known as the reticular activating system (RAS). Vision boards serve to program the RAS to tune into the things and opportunities that can help us move closer to our intentions. Many of these things are otherwise missed since your RAS filters out anything that isn't relevant, or seemingly important to you.
Creating and using a dream board is an extremely powerful method of programming your RAS to pay attention to things that are related to your goals and dreams. You may believe you're already doing this, but in the day-to-day crunch of getting things done, your RAS is most likely filtering out more dream-related information than it's letting in. You can change this with a dream board and, since it's a creative process, have fun doing it. You can even involve your children. Here's how:
1. Make a list of your dreams.
You don't have to put your dreams in any particular order, since you'll be randomly placing pictures that represent them on your board. For financial goals, think about the things you can make happen when you have that money in your bank account. Tangibles, like cars and houses, are representative of your success, and so are the more altruistic things, such as developing a non-profit, or supporting a meaningful cause. The idea is to list the things that make you feel happy, successful, and purposeful.
2. Find your images.
Your subconscious mind works in pictures and images, so take measure to select pictures that strongly represent your dreams and goals. I like using magazines for this purpose, some prefer printing images found online. These pictures should evoke a positive emotional response from you--excitement, contentment, achievement, or whatever emotion feels right and good to you. If an image evokes a negative feeling, like fear or doubt, don't use it. Your dream board should make you feel happy and passionate about bringing your dreams to fruition. Your subconscious mind measures your emotional response (both negative and positive) and sends messages to the RAS based on that response. The stronger the emotion, the more powerful the brain's actions.
3. Place your pictures on a large foam board.
Don't immediately glue your pictures to your board. Play around with the placement of them so your dream board is visually appealing and draws your eye from one image to the next. Once you are happy with the way you've designed your board, take a picture of it on your smart phone. Once you remove the images you may have difficulty placing them in the same order. Now, glue the pictures in place. If you'd like some inspiration there are some great vision board ideas and images on Pinterest.
4. Consider adding words--or not.
Some people are inspired by the site of certain words. If you're one of them, use a colored marker or pencil to artistically write those words on your board. Since the subconscious "thinks" in pictures, I find it most useful to stick to images.
5. Strategically place your new board.
Some people claim they can make their board, put it away, and never look at it again--only to later realize that all of their dreams have come true. Personally, I don't buy into that one. Your subconscious needs a constant reminder of the feel-good emotions related to your dreams. The purpose of pictures is to evoke those feelings. The more you look at it, and focus on your passion, the better the results. So, find a place in your home or office to put your vision board so that you'll see it every day.
6. Work with your board.
Once placed, spend time each day with your new dream board. It takes only seconds to prompt your subconscious mind into action. The most important part of this process is to spend several minutes, or more, as often as possible focusing on those feel-good emotions. Be intentional about spending this time with your vision board, just as you would your goals list.
7. Tune in.
Give your dream board process time to work for you. During this time, learn to tune into your intuition. Sometimes, people dismiss those gut feelings, but they are intuitive messages that may or may not mean anything to you. Since 95% of our actions are driven by the subconscious mind, it's important to feel before you act.