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How to Achieve your New Year’s Resolutions with a Vision Board

6 Jan

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My Story
I’m a list maker and have been for ages. I’ve got my daily list, my monthly list and life list. The only problem is I have too many things on my list and I lack motivation to get started on some of these tasks. For awhile, making the gym a daily habit,  “someday” running a 26.2 mile marathon and “someday” owning a dog had been on that list.

Here’s how I made those three possibilities realities with the help of a vision board.

My Vision Board
Now I’ve done the vision board collage thing since I was in college. I always found it therapeutic to go through magazines and pick out images and words that spoke to me, things I really wanted to accomplish in life. It was a great way to mind map and get a clearer picture of what goals I wanted to accomplish. I’ve actually seen some things from it – elements, threads, come true. Not right away of course.

For example, I had titles of marathon books in a collage I made because a lifelong goal of mine was to run a 26.2 mile race. I’ve added to my vision board images of fit, healthy, active women in athletic apparel running, playing tennis, doing yoga because I wanted to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. I’ve also had images of dogs because someday I wanted to be a dog owner. The pictures and text on the vision board provided a big picture of my goals and helped motivate me to find ways to break big tasks into small action steps to get the desired outcome.

Now the gym habit, finishing a marathon and owning a dog didn’t happen right away but I had always had these goals at the back of the mind as I went through my daily life.

Gym Habit
Fitness wise I had struggled with finding the right diet and fitness regime. I’ve done South Beach Diet, Zone Diet, No Carbs Diet, All Carbs Diet. Exercise wise, I did the Zumba Fitness DVD’s, SHAPE DVD’s, P90X DVD’s, GAIAM Yoga DVD’s and took a few classes at my local gyms here and there. I liked variety in exercise. I wouldn’t always go to they gym or do a workout DVD. I would skip a day or two, even a week when I was on vacation. I’d feel bad, but that never led me to give up on fitness altogether. Having a vision board to look at kind of reminded me of the active lifestyle I wanted to pursue. It helped me make the habit of being consistent and JUST GOING. Even if it was just for 10-15 minutes and all I had time for was stretching and leg press. I didn’t have to hit a homerun and go all out each time I went. I didn’t even have to do 1 hour every day, I just had to GO and it made the difference in my overall lifestyle – making me more energized, putting me in a better mood, making me less self-conscious of my weight.

My First Marathon
As I started going to the gym I also ran little by little everyday. I had also listened to an old audiobook of Oprah Winfrey’s Make the Connection where Oprah shares her story of weight loss and her experience running her first marathon. Along with my vision board that had titles like First Marathons and Marathon, Oprah Winfrey’s personal story also influenced me to take action and take small steps to get there.

Action Steps: I had lived in NYC and decided I needed a group to help me get going so I put an ad on Craigslist to see if people wanted to start training and found a group of great people to run with each week at Central Park which certainly helped during the long runs. I also read through several marathon group forums and looked at Runners World and the web for tips and advice. I found a training schedule in one of Jeff Galloway‘s training books. Then I registered for the marathon race online, put it on the calendar and finally completed it!

My First Dog
Another thing I wanted was a dog. I never had one and thought we would never get one since my husband and I never grew up with one so it would certainly be challenge to include dogs in our lifestyle. Well, I put a few dogs on a vision board and thought all right, one day it would happen and we would own a dog. Again, it didn’t happen over night.

Action Steps: First, we found friends that  were dog owners and asked questions and got advice on how to select one, what to look out for, if we should crate train them or not. We got books on the type of breed we wanted to get.  We researched breeders and animals shelters online and weighed the pros and cons of buying a purebred or adopting a pet in need. Once we narrowed down what we wanted, we made the trek to a local breeder and took our first pet home.

While the vision board can’t MAKE you get your shit done all at once, it can certainly help you see the big picture so you can take small action steps to make your goals a reality.

Here are some steps on how you could create YOUR own vision board.

You will need:

    • A sheet of paper or cardboard – preferably 8 X 11 or larger
    • Magazines, newspapers, pictures and other print visuals
    • Glue or glue stick

Steps:

  1. Spend some time going through images in print materials and find pictures and text  you’re drawn to, resonate with you and excite you.
  2. Cut out those images and set them aside.
  3. Once you’ve gathered enough images and text to fit a full page, spread them and glue them onto the paper.
  4. Place the vision board in a place where you see it everyday, whether it’s on your fridge, bulletin board in your office or somewhere handy like a scrapbook binder.
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