Living the dream: How to create a 2019 vision board

Lauren Makk works on her vision board during a workshop at Hollywood Dojo in Los Angeles.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The idea of envisioning your wildest dreams, harnessing the law of attraction and working to make them come true is what vision boards are all about.


“A vision board is a life planning tool,” said Joyce Schwarz, author of “The Vision Board” and founder of the Vision Board Institute, who describes her process as more strategic planning than magical thinking.

“It’s a way of sorting out what is crucial to your future and creating a visual map,” she said, “but you need to put it into action… it doesn’t just happen. UPS is not going to just deliver.” The vision board is your visual reminder when you inevitably start to stray off track, as we all do, to get back to it.

The process

Attendees participate in a meditation session before a vision board-making workshop at the Hollywood Dojo in Los Angeles.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Crystal Greene-El Amin, owner of Foxy and Fierce Women’s Kickboxing Bootcamp in Hollywood, holds annual four-hour vision board-making workshops at her studio and says for her, the process starts with a 10-to 20-minute meditation. This year, it’s being held on Jan. 13.


“It relaxes you and provides an openness to the process,” said Greene-El Amin.

What have you got to lose? You can probably make one with items you already have on hand. If you’re intrigued, here’s how to pull off a vision board of your own.

Hands on

Both Greene-El Amin and Schwarz recommend making the vision board by hand, not digitally (i.e. Pinterest, Evernote) when possible. “There is something very visceral about it,” said Schwarz.

Supplies include some sort of surface, such as a poster board or some cardboard, a variety of magazines, scissors, glue stick, marker — and a happy photo of yourself to put in the center.

Lauren Makk cuts out images for her vision board during a workshop at Hollywood Dojo.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)


Next, decide what type of board to create: one based on a single defining image or goal, or a “kitchen sink,” picturing everything, including the designer purse you’ve been coveting.

Experts warn against making a shopping list, however. “Some people list everything they ever wanted, but don’t stop to think why,” said Schwarz. “It’s not a ransom note to the universe.”

Personal motivation, or the “why,” can vary greatly. Think: seeking new opportunities, greater freedom, better health.

You need to put it into action… it doesn’t just happen. UPS is not going to just deliver.

— Joyce Schwarz

Goal setting

“Start with the fantasy goal,” said Greene-El Amin, “which is: If you could live any life, what would it look like, who would be there, how would you feel?”

On the back of the board, write the fantasy goal, followed by long-term (five to 10 years), short-term (this year) and daily goals. “It’s cool to look back on what you wrote and see… I wanted these things and they happened. It’s like an outline on the back.”

Crystal Greene-El Amin leads a vision board-making workshop at Hollywood Dojo.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Picture this

For the front of the board, a magazine clip-fest ensues. Schwarz recommends pulling color photos from a wide variety of magazines — not just your favorites. Did your heart skip a beat at a photo of a scuba school? Take note, and let yourself dream.

“It doesn’t matter if the image doesn’t seem to be in line with the goal,” said Greene-El Amin, “it’s about how it makes you feel… rip out everything that speaks to you.” You might be surprised.

Schwarz recommends editing the number of images on the front of the board to six or eight defining photos, with a maximum of 16 so as not to overwhelm the eye.

Ultimately, the choice is personal.

Trim the images and glue them onto your backdrop.

At this point, it would be tempting to admire your handiwork, cross your fingers and walk away. That’s not how it works, however.

Take action

Nia Kingsley presents her vision board.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Using the board as a daily inspiration, Schwarz said the next phase is figuring out not “how” to reach your goals, but “who” can help you get there.

Then, believe it can happen.

This is accomplished by sharing your goals with trusted people; actively looking for related opportunities — and ignoring negativity (from others as well as yourself).

Some examples: Take a class, talk with someone who might act as a mentor or follow them on social media, volunteer someplace that gets you closer to your goals, watch inspiring movies or videos, practice your craft, do research (this is a great place to put Pinterest and Evernote to good use) and connect with people who are doing what you want to do.

“You’re putting yourself in as close a proximity to your vision as possible,” said Schwarz, “and the internet makes this so possible.”

“Start living the idea,” Schwarz added. “This is the way it happens; it’s not magical thinking. It’s a matter of having the resources around you and tapping into them.”

Attendees cut out magazines for their vision board-making workshop at Hollywood Dojo.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Ready to give a vision board a try?

Foxy and Fierce Women’s Kickboxing Bootcamp is hosting its annual vision board workshop from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 13, at the bootcamp headquarters, upstairs at 7129 ½ Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. The event is free, but reservations are required, call (323) 876-1880. Participants are asked to bring donations for a local nonprofit, My Friends Place, in support of its parenting program. Diapers, wipes, pacifiers, formula and blankets are appreciated. Old magazines are also welcome.

Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome


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