How to Make a Vision Board to Kick-Start Your Goal Setting

UPDATED: February 9, 2024
PUBLISHED: February 9, 2024
Woman learning how to make a vision board

Simply put, a vision board is a collection or collage of images, words, pictures and symbols that are meant to serve as inspiration to you. Think of it as a visual representation of the things that are important to you—your goals and dreams that you want to achieve in life. They can be created in all types of ways, from analog vision boards that you can keep in a notebook or tacked up on a wall to a virtual version made on your computer or phone. 

Making a vision board gives you a creative outlet in which you can step back and take the time to think over the goals you want to actively be working toward. They can be a fun and easy way to visualize your most important goals.

Why vision boards work

The key idea behind vision boards is “visualization,” which is where you form a picture of something in your mind, or on a vision board in this case, to help you envision things you want to achieve. And while your goals won’t be accomplished just by thinking about them in a visual sense, visualization via a vision board can help serve as a constant reminder of your goals in a permeable way. 

That’s not all, though. The visualization provided by vision boards can give your brain a kick start of sorts. Visualization has been found to actually change how brain networks are organized! According to Srini Pillay for Scientific American, visualization and action go hand in hand. “[P]icturing others in motion warms up the ‘action brain’ and helps us figure out what we want to do and how we can coordinate our actions with those around us,” Pillay said. “Over time the brain learns our routine movements, allowing these actions to become more automatic and fine-tuned.”

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So if we go off of what Pillay is saying, making a vision board almost serves as a little warm up for the actions you’ll need to take toward your goals. In the long-term, it is a valuable tool that helps to set up a great foundation for you. It’ll showcase the goals that are most important to you and serve as a source of motivation as you begin taking action toward those goals.

4 steps to create a vision board 

The fantastic thing about creating a vision board is that you have total freedom over it. It’s your chance to get creative, have fun and get focused!

1. Write down 2-4 goals on a piece of paper. 

When you think about what to put on a vision board, it can be helpful to narrow down the goals that you want to set for yourself. This will give you a much clearer and manageable understanding of the goals that are most important to you at the moment. You can do this by brainstorming in a journal, chatting about your goals with a friend, making a mind map or even talking about your goals out loud into a voice recorder. Whatever gets your goal setting juices flowing will be important here!

And while you may have one goal that is most important to you, consider setting more than one—even if those additional goals are just in support of your overall goal. A study from Maastricht University School of Business and Economics found that visualization is much more effective when you’re working toward more than one goal at a time. Consider setting both short- and long-term goals to give yourself several benchmarks to strive for.

2. Find and gather your images, words and symbols.

Let’s get to gathering the visual inspiration that you’ll use for your vision boards! There are so many different places you can find the images and words that you’d like to use in making a vision board, whether you’re looking for specific colors, letters or inspiring images.

For analog versions:

  • Magazines
  • Scrapbooking materials
  • Stickers
  • Online images
  • Newspapers

For digital versions:

  • Screenshots from social media
  • Images from royalty free websites like Pexels and Unsplash
  • Vision board applications 
  • Your own personal photos

On both analog and digital vision boards, you can also include motivational quotes, words and specific symbols that inspire you!

3. Arrange your images, symbols and words.

With your goals set and your visual elements collected, the most fun part of creating a vision board can start—arranging all of your inspiration onto the vision board itself! Whether you’re making a digital or analog vision board, play around with how you’d like to arrange your elements before committing to a final layout.

You can split your vision board into different sections—like personal, career, finances, physical health and social—for each type of goal or you can blend all of your goals together. Depending on your preferred layout, you might want to draw a few lines across your board to create physical sections, place images and symbols that are loosely related in clusters or just mix and match as you please.

Once you’ve got your layout figured out, you can start attaching your images securely!

4. Place your vision board somewhere you’ll see it.

Display your vision board somewhere you’ll regularly see it! Some great places to display it include:

  • Office–either on or above your desk or as your computer background
  • Bedroom
  • Living room
  • By the front door
  • On the fridge
  • On a mirror

Pick somewhere that you’ll see it daily. This will help ensure that you’re seeing your most important goals every day, which is the key reason you’re making a vision board in the first place. 

Your vision board is there to help you visualize what you’re working toward.

How to make your vision board visually appealing

When it comes to how to create a vision board that’s visually appealing, there’s no one right way to do it, but it’s important that it appeals to you. To make yours unique to you, you can:

  • Collect images, symbols and words that you’ll enjoy looking at and tie into your set goals.
  • Don’t feel restricted to making a standard vision board on a sheet of paper. You can get creative, like reusing an old picture frame, putting your board together on a peg board or using fun magnets to place it on your fridge.
  • Match your vision board to your personal aesthetic. If you prefer cooler colors, work that color palette into your vision board. Or, if you want to achieve a very clean design, you might want to cut your images and words in a certain way for sharp lines.
  • Consider the size. Vision boards can be any size, from that of a postcard up to something that hangs on a wall. Your preferred size might impact the overall design and layout of your vision board.

And there you have it, how to make a vision board in a few simple steps. As you get started, remember that creating a vision board is a creative and dynamic process that’s meant to help you visualize and begin working toward important goals!

Photo by – Yuri A/