Every year around the end of December, I set resolutions to eat healthier, journal more, and decrease the time spent on my phone (I swear, this is my #1 resolution every year), and by the end of the year, I find that nothing has really changed. This year, I found that people on TikTok are taking a different approach to New Year’s resolutions in 2023. Instead of letting your resolutions collect dust in a random notebook or forgotten on your notes app, try creating a vision board.
You might have already made a few “vision boards” in your day (cutting out pictures from a magazine and gluing them on a poster sound familiar?), but vision boards have evolved a bit since then. Whether you want to manifest new career opportunities, clearer skin, or a trip to Greece where you just so happen to meet the love of your life, a vision board can help you visualize those dreams into reality. Read on for how to create the vision board that’ll knock last year’s New Year’s resolutions out of the water.
Why ditch your typical resolutions for a vision board
Hot take: Let’s leave the “New Year, New Me” mindset behind in 2022. Have you ever felt like resolutions hold a certain amount of shame? Like you need to achieve these resolutions, and if you don’t, you’ve failed? “We are primed to view our lives and events through a negativity bias, focusing on what went wrong versus what went well,” said Elspeth Robertson, a registered clinical counselor and professional art therapist. Resolutions tend to be about stopping a habit in order to become “better” (less phone scrolling, no alcohol, no sugar, less rest days, etc.). Quitting a bad habit is not the same as manifesting a better life. “If a resolution says, ‘Here is what I need to take away,’ a vision board says, ‘Here is what I would like to add,'” Robertson said. A vision board is supposed to make you feel confident and inspired in your life, not shameful for all you should change about yourself.
What is a vision board?
A vision board is a collection of photos and text that can help you approach the future with hope. Instead of focusing on what habits you should be stopping, focus on the possibilities of the next year. “From a scientific perspective, vision boards do what we call ‘priming,’ which essentially is when exposure to a certain stimulus affects how you act towards whatever comes next,” said Elizabeth Mateer, a licensed mental health counselor associate. A vision board can also help you be specific about the goals you want to manifest for 2023. “A vision board is an opportunity to really focus on the reality you want to create, a prediction of your possible future, and a connection to hope and a life that feels aligned,” Robertson said.
How to make a vision board
Do it digitally
If anyone knows how to make a vision board work for them, it’s TikTok lifestyle creator Morgan Rhodes. Every goal she featured on her 2022 vision board came to reality, so trust her when she says Pinterest and Canva will be your best friends when it comes to making your own vision board. “Resolutions feel like more of a chore to me,” Rhodes said. “Putting together a collage of photos that inspire and bring me joy felt like an art form.” When you’re scrolling on Pinterest looking for photos, follow Rhodes’ footsteps and only choose photos that you feel emotionally drawn to—photos that you believe will give you motivation and courage throughout the year.
When you have all of your photos, you can either keep your Pinterest board as your vision board, or if you want a PDF file you can turn into your computer wallpaper or print out, upload the images to Canva (a free online graphic design tool) and get creative. Fight the urge to make it perfect. The photos don’t have to be flawlessly organized on a grid, in the same color scheme, or make sense to anyone other than yourself. Remember, this vision board is for you.
Categorize and subcategorize
First, think of the different aspects of life that you’d like to invest in this year. For example, career, love life, family dynamics, self-love, home environment, travel, style, beauty, overall health. Then break them up into subcategories. Where do you want to travel specifically? Where do you see yourself living in the next six months? What growth do you want to see for yourself professionally? Do you want a raise or the opportunity to work from home? Take your distinct answers and start searching “Greece aesthetic photos,” “apartments in Boston,” “CEO aesthetic,” etc.
Be super specific
Be specific with your vision board: What city do you want to live in? Chicago? New York City? What type of self-care do you want to make a daily ritual in your life? Hot yoga? Hot girl walks every morning at 7 a.m.? What does your ideal job look like? Working from home? A raise that comes with a bigger office and more benefits? Go to Pinterest and search specific photos of what you want to manifest. The possibilities are truly endless. I’m manifesting adopting a dog in 2023–specifically a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel–so you know what I put on my vision board? A picture of the cutest little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel I’ve ever seen.
To counteract the negativity associated with resolutions, try adding affirmations to your vision board along with the curated photos. “Affirmations go hand-in-hand with successful vision boarding because just like vision boards, affirmations are also about rewiring your beliefs about yourself and what is possible for you,” said Theresa Cheung, an astrologist and dream expert. Cheung suggested using simple affirmations to ground your intentions throughout the year:
- Every day I take small steps in the direction of my dreams.
- 2023 is the year to focus on what is important to me.
- I am doing what is right for me, not what others expect.
- I will overcome any challenge and learn and grow from it.
- I notice my thoughts and feelings and what they are teaching me.
- I am grateful for all that I am.
- The past does not define me.
- I choose to think positive thoughts about myself.
- Success and happiness are my birthright.
- I am moving forward in the direction of my dreams.
- I am enough.
Add your own photos
Stephanie J Wong, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist, encouraged featuring your own photos on your vision board. “If you have pictures of you previously engaging in these aspirational activities, or images of people that you identify with doing these activities, even better,” Wong said. “Past behavior tends to predict future behavior, and if you have done some of these healthy activities before, you can do them again.” So grab that cute selfie that makes you feel really beautiful or a photo of you in your favorite place to replicate that healthy energy in the new year.
So I made my vision board…now what?
Be intentional about where you put it
In order to truly manifest the contents of your vision board into existence, astrologer Jill Loftis suggested to “charge” your vision board by placing it somewhere you’ll see often. Whether that’s making it your laptop or phone wallpaper or printing and framing it, simply being intentional about its location is manifesting in itself. To begin manifesting your goals, Loftis advised making your vision board a daily ritual. “Place it near a candle you can light or create a small altar with the board as its centerpiece, adding symbolic statutes, crystals, or other items,” Loftis recommended. Whatever your vibe, look at your vision board every day and repeat some of your favorite affirmations, bringing back the intentions you set on the day you created the board.
Bring it into your meditation practice
Another manifestation tool that can support your vision board intentions is meditation. “Meditation reminds you that you are not your thoughts, your feelings, or your skills,” Cheung said. “You are your choices. You can consciously choose more positive thoughts, feelings, and actions, and when you do that, you naturally start to feel better about yourself and you start to manifest or attract a better life while using your vision board.” Light a few candles, place your vision board in sight, and meditate.
Make changes and adjustments as needed
Remember that your vision board is ever-evolving. You can add, delete, and change things as the year progresses. Your thoughts and goals will grow, just as you will. “Vision boarding and manifestation is all about learning to ask for what you want, knowing that you are deserving of receiving what you want, and then trusting the universe to bring those wants into fruition,” Neville said. Whether you need support, guidance, hope, love for yourself, or growth, a vision board can help you stay true to yourself in 2023. Say it with me: “I deserve whatever happiness and success the universe has to offer.”