Setting goals — no matter how far fetched they are – is a powerful way to guide your life choices. One of the most effective ways to turn your dreams into reality is my secret weapon: vision boards.

This incredibly powerful tool not only forces you to consciously go through the process of determining your life goals, it does it in a way that affects your subconscious, cementing your dreams and goals into images that provide your mind with visuals of your ideal life. No matter how far away you are from that “ideal life” just going through this mind-training exercise opens your mind to the possibilities you can achieve.

YOU are the one who determines what you want in life. You are also the one limiting yourself with doubts and fears. A successful vision board will help you overcome thought processes you didn’t even realize were holding you back. That is why I’m sharing this life-changing tool that helped me dream beyond my (perceived) limitations to get to where I am today.

What is a vision board?

A vision board is a visual representation of one or many life goals to help you clarify and focus on changes you want to manifest in your life. They can be handmade or completely digital.

9 Secrets to Creating Powerful Vision Boards

To get started making your vision board, I recommend determining HOW you are going to make that board first. Will it be digital? Will it be on a frame or just taped to your wall? It really doesn’t matter how you build it if it makes you happy. The important thing is to just get started and don’t make excuses that you don’t have all of your bits and pieces together. This isn’t an interior design project, although it could be one if that’s your thing. If you need inspiration, check out Pinterest, but move quickly and don’t get stuck on this step. Give yourself a timeline to move onto the next step, or if you are like me, plow forward and have one done in a few hours. It’s your life, don’t wait another minute!

Set the mood

This can be very important as defining your vision board should be an almost meditative moment. Light candles, put on some music, do some yoga…do whatever YOU need to do to focus and clarify what really is important to you in life in detail.

Don’t just focus on the things you want

Vision boards aren’t just about that new car or the perfect mansion on the hill. Sure, include those things if they are really important. For example, the new car could symbolize something for you, like being debt free or becoming your own boss. Choose what resonates with you, but focus on the big picture and ask the hard questions. What kind of person do you want to be? What skills do you wish you had? What crazy life dream do you dare to accomplish? What would you regret never having done if you knew you would die tomorrow? How would you want to be remembered?

Reflect on your goals

This can be harder than it sounds. Goals can be vague and general and this is the time when you really need to drill down on what you want out of life. You may find yourself focusing on the short term or really far into the future. It’s you vision bard, so make it what speaks to you. Try brainstorming by listing your goals on paper or recording a voice message. Use what works for you and follow (and record) you mind’s natural path as you focus on this step.

Identify your vision and clarify it

Did you brainstorming focus on goals your career? Your love life? Your body image? Your home? Travel? All of the above? There is no WRONG vision board if that’s what matters to you. Now it’s time to choose a theme and go with it.

Keep it neat

Clutter is generally bad for the mind…so let’s be picky here. Stay focused on the most vital goals and dreams. You can always add more things later.

Get creative

Gather whatever may resonate with you. It could be a photo of yourself when you were truly happy, trinkets from your last vacation, notes, affirmations, drawings…they sky is the limit as long as the visuals you choose trigger your life’s goals and dreams. Keep what is most precious and closely examine each item you add.

Focus on the STEPS

Vision boards are not about just focusing on results. They are about the process. Studies have found that people who just focus on the outcome do worse that those who don’t. What does this mean? Day dreaming about being able to afford a new house isn’t going to get you anywhere. Instead, focus on the steps you need to take to get you there. Is it going to take getting a new job? Finishing your degree? Finally taking the leap towards starting that new business? The steps the key to reaching your ultimate goals.

Keep it fresh

Revisit your vision board as your life progresses or each time you achieve a goal. It’s important to revisit this process periodically to keep yourself focused. If you have trouble remembering, set a date in your calendar to focus on yourself.

There are no rules

This is your life, your goals. Make your vision board a reflection of exactly who you want to be in every way. Here is my vision board for 2016 to give an idea of what one can look like and how important it is to be specific!

9 Secrets to Creating Powerful Vision Boards