· Self-care

Had enough of the 20/20 puns yet? Or more to the point 2020 in general? Yeah, I thought so. With COVID and the general state of unrest, unhappiness, unease, and any of the other un words I can find, it has been a difficult year.

Despite of (and really because of) of this state of affairs it more important than ever to have some goals lined up. For the last seven years I have created a vision board. My boards integrate how I want to feel with what I want to do within those 365 days. It's more of an art project than a to-do list and the result is aesthetically pleasing enough to hang up all year.You may be asking what is the point of doing this right now with COVID keeping us inside (not much travel) sedentary (so much for weight loss) and job security at its all time scariness (career goals).

This isn't about writing out a Not so much like traditional resolutions (since I don't usually accomplish a single damned one) but more like setting the intention for the year.   

What's my process?

Even though I consider myself to be a fly-by-the-seat of my pants kinda gal and not one for routine, my vision board process is typically the same every year. First I trap myself into a corner with no one around, play a little music (or my favorite rainy moods app) and consider how I want to feel, and what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Extremely cathartic I can tell you. Putting pen to paper (never digitally) I do mind maps, lists, and even doodles, to get to a place where I know how I want to feel, who I want to be, and how to get there.

That's where I discover my word for the year. If you haven't ever chosen a word of the year I highly recommend it. It's a little bit like a litmus test during the year. Is what you are doing aligning with my word? Yes? Great, carry on. No? Reevaluate what you are doing and why and forge ahead slowly or stop. Previous words of the year for me have been Bold, Brave, and Vibrant. This year I chose a really fun one that I just love to say out loud...GUMPTION. Oxford defines it as "spirited initiative". I love that. Do I want to take that internship? Gumption. Should I participate in a short story reading in front of strangers? Gumption. For me it is the perfect word to keep my desire for more adventure alive this year.

Once I have nailed down my word, I make a trip to my favorite bookstores, usually Bookmans and Half Price Books. Here I can take to take advantage of cheap, older magazines for all the images that will grace my board. Keeping in mind my word of the year, how I want to feel, and everything I want to accomplish, I seek out magazines that will have the images I need. Want to travel more? Travel & Leisure. Honing your cooking or eating more mindfully? Bon Appetit. You get the idea.

Other supplies for this project include a large poster board glue stick, scissors, and markers. But you don't have to stop there. This year I decided to use some leftover stick on letters I purchased for my graduation cap. And this is where it starts.

From there it is all artistic freedom. I choose to build my board when I am alone, with music, and sometimes with a candle burning. Some people do a little saging throughout their home, but it's all up to you! The first thing I put on the board, dead center, is my word of the year. For me it is a great way to keep that word (or phrase) front, and center. Once that is done I clip any images that fit my guidelines without being too picky (you can always weed them out later). It's important to have enough images and for some people that means covering every inch of the board. Me, I like to keep some white space because my superstitious side tends to glue luck pennies that I find throughout the year on my board too (weird I know). Some like to group their images by intent or feeling and others make it pretty random. This part is all up to you. Most importantly? Have fun with it! Take breaks to evaluate your layout or have a dance party. Be sure to eat, and drink during this merriment as it can take several hours to complete your board.

With a lot of soul searching, and a some effort you can end up with something that looks like this!

Once you have completed the board, don't just shove it in a corner, box or closet. That is not the point of the vision board! Put it in a highly visible spot where you can see it everyday. The idea to keep those images, and your word firmly planted in your mind. I have even taken a picture and uploaded to my phone's lock screen as an extra measure.

You may be wondering, does it work? Yes and no. Have all of my intentions come to fruition? No. But a lot of them have, and really important ones at that. A graduation cap picture graced my board last year, and I became a college grad with my first degree in May. Seven years ago I put a pic of nice looking guy with tattoos, glasses, and brown hair on my board during a bout of online dating. Today I have a wonderful husband. And yes he has tattoos, brown hair, and glasses. It's a universe thing. You put it out there, and often times it will come back.

Mostly my board is a reminder of how I want to feel, and who I want to be. Once you have those concepts nailed the rest is just putting in the work to make it happen.

Which is why now could be the right time to do one. In July you say? Yes. With everything going on getting some clarity on how you feel, how you want to feel, and what you want going through and coming out of this could just be the ticket.

Have you created a vision board? If so, what is your process? What has come of it for you?

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