I know a lot of people have given up making New Year’s Resolutions. There is nothing worse than starting out strong on your way to achieving your goals, and by Valentine’s Day it’s all in the trash can. So why bother?
Resolutions are about not being good enough
When we make resolutions, they are usually about changing ourselves from our unacceptable state to a state of worthiness. Resolutions, by their very nature, are usually goals that express what we wish we were, but we aren’t. The problem with this is that we start from a place of telling ourselves we are not good enough the way we are. We think we have to change in a tangible way, and if we cruise into the end of the year the same as we started, we consider ourselves a failure.
Intentions are about aligning ourselves with the life we want
For these reasons, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago, but I do make a list of intentions. Intentions are a way to align our spirit with our vision for our future without starting from a place of feeling inadequate or flawed in some way. This is not about self-improvement, but about life-enhancement. Setting intentions has nothing to do with setting ourselves up for failure. There is no way you can fail, because your intentions will get you closer and closer to what you desire, even if you don’t get there in a year.
Once I set my intentions, I make a vision board to support that vision. When we take the time to craft our vision for the coming year, we are sharpening our focus and setting the wheels in motion.
As we choose images and words that resonate with us we are signaling to our brains that this is what we want, this is where we would like to see ourselves. Take your time with this, because you are going to look at this every day for the next year. You want to make sure that the things you are placing there are things you really want to see manifest in your life.
Looking at your vision board imprints your desires on your mind
Hang your vision board somewhere you will see it daily. As you look at it, you are reinforcing your intention, focusing your energy toward the things you want. The effect of this is subtle, but powerful. You are training your brain — rewiring it, as it were — to see your life in a different light. When we see our intentions in front of us daily, it makes them seem more real, more achievable. We begin to believe that we can actually live that life we have chosen to illustrate.
When we set our intentions in this way, we will see opportunities we may have missed otherwise. We will begin to see subtle shifts in our reality that bring us closer to the vision we had when we started the year. We begin to think in possibilities. We recognize the gifts that are being offered because our brain has studied our vision and knows what it’s looking for.
The uncanny power of a vision board
In the vision board at the beginning of this article, there are several pictures of a woman walking among palmettos and live oaks, and there is a shot of her walking up some dunes to a beach. There is also a picture of horses on a beach. When I was selecting my photos for this vision board, I chose these at random. I was drawn to them for the beauty of the place she was walking, and I was thinking that I, too, would like to walk somewhere like that. I had no idea where the pictures were taken, but I liked the way I felt when I looked at those photos. I placed these photos on this vision board several years ago.
Last October, I finally got the chance to visit a coastal barrier island that my husband has been camping on for years with his best friends. I had never had a chance to go, but always hoped that someday I would. When I got home and looked at photos of my trip, I realized that the pictures on my vision board were taken on this island. I got chills. I had no idea! But I had placed those pictures on my vision board and looked at them every day — not just for a year, but for 3 years. I have since been back to the island 3 times. That is the power of a vision board.
Make it a party
Why not gather some friends and make vision boards together? All you need is a piece of stiff paper for each person (like card stock or poster paper), a stack of magazines, some glue sticks and scissors. Everyone can bring their own magazines to share. Put on some music, pour some wine and start envisioning 2020 in a way that makes your heart sing.
Allow your spirit to lead you when you are choosing words and images for your vision board and don’t self-edit. This is no time for your rational self to tell you not to dare to dream. That is what a vision board is for. No matter how far-fetched you may think it is, if it speaks to you, put it on there. Encourage each other to be bold as you craft your vision for the life you want to live.
Whether you do this in a group or as a solo spiritual practice, take time to create an intention. Don’t set out to improve yourself, but envision ways you can improve your life. See if the power of a vision board doesn’t bring your life into alignment with your intentions.
Go get some scissors and start clipping. Your best year yet is waiting for you.
Beth Bruno is a spiritual pilgrim, walking the path to wholeness by healing, forgiving and owning all her shortcomings. Her goal is to be a light, every day, and when she fails, to get back up and try again. She writes from her home in South Carolina where she is living the questions and waiting to see what’s next for her.