One of my favourite family traditions is writing down goals for the year and tucking them away in the Christmas decorations box to read next time the festive season rolls around. They make pretty amusing reading, especially the kids’ – ‘Stick BluTack everywhere’ was one of my youngest daughter’s more memorable aims for 2017.
I could probably do with taking a leaf out of her book with my own list, typically a mix of classic cliché (exercise, healthy eating, meditation) and over-ambition (finish the novel, spend six months in India, completely revolutionise and transform entire life). Most of them end up going back on the list for next year, along with my husband’s decade-long aspiration to run a half marathon. My success rate might be low but there’s something about setting intentions for the year ahead that always gets me fired up. Fresh starts, new possibilities, 365 blank pages, I can’t help myself when it comes to New Year, New You-style positive thinking.
I was never going to break with tradition at the end of 2017 (the list is in the box with the fairylights and glittery Santas) but this time round, I wanted to do something different as well. The idea for this project had been whirring round my mind all Christmas, slowly forming itself into a plan. A plan to try and offset a tricky 2017 (more on that later) by spending 52 weeks in 2018 exploring and embracing the more spiritual side of life. There had to be something mystical I could do to call in my plans for 2018?
In the end the full moon decided for me, a perfect 2 January super moon. I had a vision board on my 2018 To Do List and something I’d read about the using the power of the moon – particularly the full moon – for setting intentions had resonated with me. You might be doing an eye roll about now but a giant shiny full moon right at the beginning of my year of mystical thinking? It was all the sign I needed to kick my inner procrastinator into touch and get busy with the Pritt Stick.
So what is vision boarding? How do you do it? Surely it can’t possibly work? Do you just stick a picture of a Balinese beach villa and four million quid on it and wait for the universe to deliver?
To be honest, I wasn’t really sure either. I’ve always been a believer in fake-it-till-you-make-it style visualization, where you picture yourself confidently delivering that presentation/being offered the job/nailing an exam so vividly it becomes reality. I’ve experienced the power of that sort of positive thinking many times. But those kind of goals already have a strong base in reality – that presentation was going to happen whether I delivered it confidently or not, right? Could a vision board dream bigger? Not four million quid bigger but something a bit more impressive than the sorry-looking list in the decorations box?
As with most things in the mystical realm, it turns out there’s no right answer. Some people swear you can use vision boards to order in pay rises and swanky handbags from the cosmos, others take a more holistic approach using them to set wider intentions like a desire for adventure or future happiness. Likewise, you don’t have to spend hours making one. A vision board can be anything from a single goal typed in 72-point type and stuck on the wall above your desk, to an A3 sheet of beautifully laid out intention setting images and phrases. You don’t even have to wait for a full moon. All that matters is that your vision board works for you as a way to focus the mind, clarify goals and tune in to the idea that anything is possible.
“Everything that exists was once imagined.” Wayne Dyer
If all this sounds a bit far-fetched, I totally hear you. I don’t believe all you have to do is stick a picture of a smiley faced emoji on a sheet of A4 and you’ll be happy for all eternity. What I do believe is that taking time out to engage in a ritual that allows you to focus in on what actually matters to you and what you really want to achieve in life can only ever be time well spent.
And nothing adds magic to a ritual like a glowing full moon. So, 2 January it was for me and my daughters (aged six and eight) who were keen to join in. I gathered a pile of images (some digital and printed out, some cut from magazines), sheets of card, pens and glue and set to work, pretty much making it up as I went along. A vision board can consist of just images, words and images or you can do as I did and set out your intentions before covering them with a layer of visuals. Like I said, I made it up as I went along. I actually thought I’d seen my method online somewhere but a quick google reveals I probably dreamt it/invented it on the spot. Either way, there are step-by-step instructions below if you fancy following my lead.
I can’t tell you if it’s working yet (I’ll report back later in the year) but I can definitely say that making it helped me focus in on what I really want out of 2018. And whenever I’ve found myself stuck for inspiration or struggling to make a decision this month, it’s what I’ve gazed at while I try to work out the right answer.
I can tell you that it’s a great activity to get children (age four and up) involved in. Mine loved thinking about their own hopes and dreams for the year ahead (getting a non-grumpy ski instructor this Easter featured highly, if you’re listening universe) and covering their sheets of card in pictures of rainbows and unicorns. And they didn’t hesitate for a second when I told them we should BluTack them to the windows overnight so the light of the moon could work its manifestation magic. Children are natural believers.
We could all learn a thing or two from them.
MY (patented made-up-on-the-spot) VISION BOARD METHOD
You will need:
A large sheet of card or paper (A3 or bigger)
Print outs of inspiring online images
A candle/incense/sage smudge stick to clear the space/eliminate negative energy (optional)
A full moon (optional)
- Draw a large infinity symbol – basically a sideways number 8 – on your sheet of card.
- Light a candle/incense/smudge stick (optional) and take a few moments to sit quietly before you begin. Take some deep breaths and focus on letting go of negative thoughts, old ideas or anything that might be holding you back with each exhale.
- Write freely (you’re going to cover it all up so let the words flow without worrying about priorities or typos) in the right hand side of the symbol all the things you wish to call in/intentions you want to set for the year/month ahead.
- Repeat with the left-hand side of the symbol, writing everything you’d like to let go of in the coming year/months.
- Take a photo before you move on to the next stage if you think you might forget what you wrote.
- Cover the whole sheet of card with beautiful inspiring images that appeal to you, related or otherwise to your goals and intentions.
- (Optional) Blu-tack your board (images facing out) to a window so the light of the full moon can shine upon it.
- Put your board somewhere you can see and refer to it in the months to come.
MY 2018 INTENTIONS
Mystical thinking (starting this project)
Write a book
Know my worth
Woodland stewardship (join a local scheme)
Flexi-school days for my children
Find my calm/inner peace
Commit to yoga
More analogue, less digital
Embrace the unknown, rituals and magic
Create order in the home (got to have a bit of wishful thinking?)
Rediscover my inner eco warrior
Spend more time in nature
Take plant-based eating to the next level (vegan?)
Make travel plans happen
Caring too much about what other people think
People pleasing tendencies
Ignoring my inner voice
Alcohol as a regularly consumed beverage
Anything that no longer serves me
Forgetting to live in the moment
Saying yes when I am thinking no
Anything that stops me spending enough time with my children