How to Create a Goal-Setting Vision Board to Help Make Your Dreams a Reality

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Here's everything you need to know about creating a goal-setting vision board to help make this your best year ever

It’s that time again. The new year rolls in, and in hopes of learning how to be happy, you find yourself scrambling to think of a New Year’s resolution. Or maybe you resort to the same resolution you had last year (which you forgot about by February). This time, rather than focusing on a handful of generic resolutions, create a goal-setting vision board to set and achieve realistic goals all year long.

If you’re not quite sure how to set goals, that’s OK! We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about setting goals and making a goal-setting vision board. We even tapped TikTokker Olivia Mancuso for advice on how to create a board that will keep you on track and help you have your best year ever. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that a newfound growth mindset and all-around positive attitude are par for the course.

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What are goal-setting vision boards?

According to Mancuso, vision boards are visual representations of your goals. These boards can be prominently displayed in your home or office (talk about a visually engaging way to be happier at home!), or a digital version may be tucked away on your phone so you can look at it no matter where you are.

Whether you want to craft an actual board or create one online, your goal-setting vision board should keep your goals at the forefront of your mind every day. You can use your vision board as an accountability tool to help you stay on track and meet your goals—or adjust them throughout the year.

How to create a goal-setting vision board

When it comes to creating a goal-setting vision board, Mancuso stresses that there are no rigid rules. “Your process should be whatever works best for you,” she says. That said, there are a few decisions you’ll have to make before coming up with vision board ideas.

Determine your goals

First, you’ll have to decide what your goals are. Mancuso recommends having anywhere from five to ten goals at a time and points out that goals will vary from person to person. They can be anything from saving more money and growing your business to mastering those yoga inversions, finding a hobby or learning your purpose in life. The possibilities are endless.

Mancuso also advises setting quarterly goals rather than yearly ones. After all, the goals you set for yourself today may not suit your needs months from now.

If you have no idea where to start when it comes to setting goals for yourself, ask yourself how you want to feel. “What does it feel like to have enough money to buy the upgraded version of something without worrying about it?” she asks. Or, for that matter, what does it feel like to have more free time?

The answer to those questions might be “relief,” “comfort” or “freedom from stress.” Whatever your answer, it’ll help you determine what you need to do to achieve those feelings. You may decide your goals should be finding a work-life balance, setting boundaries or practicing time-management tips.

When it comes to her own process, Mancuso begins with gratitude journaling. Each quarter, she begins with 10 things she is grateful for, followed by things she would like to release in the next quarter, such as jealousy or negativity. She then goes on to list the goals she’d like to manifest for the upcoming quarter, as well as the feelings associated with those goals.

Pick a format

Once you’ve decided which goals to put on your goal-setting vision board, it’s time to start creating. If you want to craft a physical board that you can hang up in your home or office, grab a piece of poster board from your local Dollar Store or a reusable linen bulletin board that will match your decor.

Then you can start hunting for pictures that literally or figuratively represent your goals. “Say you want to make $10,000 next month,” says Mancuso. “You can put ‘$10,000 a month’ on your board or think about what it would look like to make more money. In that case, you can add images of people relaxing or maybe luxury bedding to represent that goal.”

If you have the time, visit local thrift stores for old magazines and search for images and inspirational quotes online. And keep in mind: While crafting helps Mancuso disconnect for a bit, she recognizes that it may not be for everyone.

If crafting isn’t where you find moments of joy, a digital vision board may be for you. She recommends the Shuffle app. And here’s another tip from the pro: Once you’ve created your digital vision board, turn it into your phone’s background or set a daily alarm to do a mental check-in and look over your board. Think of it like a quick and easy happiness meditation.

4 steps to a goal-setting vision board

Creating a vision board doesn’t have to be complex. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating your goal-setting vision board.

  1. Set goals. Nail down five to ten aspirational goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next three months. “Set realistic goals that are feasible but will push you at the same time,” advises Mancuso.
  2. Settle on a format. Decide whether you’d like to craft an actual board or create a digital board, and begin searching for pictures, quotes and anything else you think represents your goals.
  3. Start crafting! Mancuso suggests doing a short digital detox while you work, turning off your phone and playing some happy songs so you can really focus on your board.
  4. Showcase your work. Find a place to display your vision board so you can see it every day.

Examples of a vision board

homemade vision board made with magazine clippings hanging on the back of a doorCourtesy Olivia Manusco

A quick search on Google or Instagram will provide you with plenty of vision board examples. You’ll quickly realize that there is no right or wrong way to create a vision board. Yours can be as packed or as sparse as you want, your goals segmented or squished together in an eye-catching collage.

As for Mancuso, her recent vision boards are tightly packed with images and words that speak to her values and 2023 goals. (Need a bit more inspiration? Check out her TikTok video about her process.)

How to use your goal-setting vision board

While creating your masterpiece can be thought-provoking, fun and even a great way to clear your mind, there’s far more to the process. Whether your goals are life-changing or small improvements, your vision board should be a daily reminder of what you’d like to manifest. That means you’ll want to be intentional about checking in. Whether you do so daily, weekly or quarterly is up to you, so long as you make it a non-negotiable habit.

Mancuso revisits her gratitude journal each quarter to check in on her progress. This allows her to go back and see what worked and what she still needs to work on.

And what happens if you find that you haven’t achieved your goals? “That’s not a failure,” she says. “But rather, it can be a redirect.” In other words, don’t beat yourself up. Not meeting your goals the first time around doesn’t mean you can’t try a different approach and meet them later on.

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Marisa Hillman
Marisa is a freelance writer and product expert covering product reviews, gift guides, and sales for RD.com. She is a former educator turned professional shopper dedicated to finding the best sales and products on the market. When she's not on deadline, she can be found exploring the East Coast or curled up at home with her nose in a book. She lives in New England with her husband, three children, and two dogs.