Can Vision Boards Help You Achieve New Year’s Goals?


Have you started drafting your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Have you been stuck in a rabbit hole of self-help videos and reels on social media with life coaches urging you to start working on your dreams? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then you must have stumbled upon the term “vision board”. Top influencers and media personalities have been talking about the power of manifestation and vision boards; but, are they legit or a social media fad?

What are vision boards?

Vision boards are a collage of photos and images, usually cut out of magazines or printed out of a Pinterest board, that represent life goals. They are meant to be a visual representation of what someone would want to achieve socially, spiritually, professionally, and financially. They strongly surfaced when The Secret came out for the first time in the early 2000s. Back then, the conversation started worldwide about the power of visualizing your dreams. Since then, we have witnessed a whole trend of positive affirmations, scripting, and vision boards.

Although vision boards are widely popular, there is little scientific proof of their effectiveness. Initial research shows that vision boards can help individuals reach their goals, as people become aware of where they are in life, and clarify their aspirations.

The Downside of Vision Boards

Despite being linked to positive emotions and optimism that often lead to creating more opportunities and achieving success, vision boards can do more harm than good. Amy Morin, an American author and psychotherapist, recounts that some of her psychotherapy clients who have vision boards are “waiting for the universe to grant their wishes.” Vision boards have helped create a culture of focusing on results instead of the efforts entailed in the process of achieving those goals.

Tara Swart, a neuroscientist and former psychiatric doctor, claims that there is science behind the mechanism of vision boards. For Swart, she prefers using the term ‘action boards’ instead, as vision boards may imply a daydreaming method for fancy goodies. The process of creating a vision board transcends the stage of finding a pretty image of a 10-million-dollar beach house, but it also involves someone discovering his/her values, motivation, and goals.

Change of Narrative

Luckily, in recent years, there has been a change in narrative when discussing how to visualize your goals, and how vision boards can contribute to achieving them. That is why, if you check out a recent influencer’s video, chances are you would hear that those vision boards are just there as a “reminder” or a motivational tool to fuel your ambition and do the work.

Earlier this year, American motivational speaker Mel Robbins spoke about vision boards on her podcast saying: “Manifesting is not just hoping and wishing. Manifesting is training your mind, body, and spirit to do the work [….] You need to start visualizing the hard, the scary, the irritating steps that are going to get you there. That is what you are going to put on the vision board”.


Cover image by Freepik

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