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New Year, New Goals: Time to Make a Vision Board

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” Melody Beattie


What is a vision board?  As we welcome in a new year, many individuals connect with the joy of designing a vision board to help chart a path for new goals. In a nutshell, a vision board is a visual image, typically a magazine photo collage incorporating found objects with powerful words or phrases (for example, prosperity, abundance, balance, etc), depicting a visual image of goals to manifest.

Supplies Needed: Poster board, colored pencils and markers, several magazines with images that resonate with the artist (i.e. nature scenes, travel images, etc), meaningful found objects that can be placed on the vision board (i.e. a symbolic pressed flower from a favorite garden representing time in nature), glue stick, an open flat space to arrange the vision board.

Why do a vision board? Shakti Gawain, author of New York Times Bestseller, Creative Visualization, was one of the self-help pioneers promoting the mental health benefits of positivity, affirmations, and meditation, long before positive psychology came on the forefront as being en vogue. Today we know that studies back up the fact that positive thinking can have an advantageous outcome for those practicing the power of cognitive and creative immersion into “the glass is half full” notions of the world (Seligman, 2000). Taking positive thinking one step further and designing a visual image which reflects the goals and hopes for the new year can also add an additional layer of direction and a roadmap for setting ones course accordingly.

Themes of vision board:  Vision boards can be manifestation images of goals for the new year, or they can be more specific, targeting concrete intentions for a work project, a creative endeavor, a health goal, or any other focus. Likewise the material that the collage is pasted on can expand beyond poster board and could also include a circle, in the form of a mandala (cardboard cake plates from a bakery are excellent for this purpose) or perhaps a shadow box constructed out of a shoe box. The goal is to be as creative as you wish, with no constraints, restrictions or limitations.

Powerful word choices: If you aren’t able to find specific words in old magazines (like “health”, “success”, “prosperity”, etc), you can use colored markers or pencils to write in the phrases you which to manifest, including positive affirmations. Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer (see resources below) were also pioneering advocates for positive affirmations, and their work can be inspirational for designing your own affirmations and objectives for the new year.

Place the vision board in a conspicuous location: If you can see the positive thoughts, intentions, and affirmations arranged on your vision board, which ideally will be located in a prominent spot in your home or office, then you will consciously and subconsciously connect with the goals set forth on your vision board. The more the brain dwells in positivity and visualizing positive outcomes, the easier it is to reach desired ambitions.

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. ” -Buddha


Dyer, Wayne (2009). Change your thoughts – change your life: living the wisdom of the tao, Hay House Publications.

Gawain, S., & Shimoff, M. (2016). Creative visualization: use the power of your imagination to create what you want in your life. Navato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, a division of New World Library.

Hay, L. (1984). You can heal your life, Hay House Publications.

Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5-14. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.55.1.5

Photo by Athena I. Saldaña

New Year, New Goals: Time to Make a Vision Board

Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW

Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Los Angeles, CA. She provides psychotherapy for individuals experiencing trauma and loss (ranging from women's reproductive mental health to recovery from toxic relationships in love/work/family, from special needs parenting to grief work). She is also a writer, educator, and podcaster. Website:

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APA Reference
Schneider, A. (2018). New Year, New Goals: Time to Make a Vision Board. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Jan 2018
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