'Oh I don't do that sort of thing.'
It was a friend of mine talking about dream boards - when I was talking about updating mine.
'It's all a bit fluffy, really. Put your dreams up in front of you - how on earth is that going to do anything? People just need to work harder for what they want.'
Hmmm. Ok. Dream boards are a special kind of addition to your home and your life. The reason WHY people have them is that they remind you, every time you look at them (daily, preferably, if not multiple times per day) what is important to you, what you want, how you want to feel and what you're working that backside off for. So if you're a hard worker, like I think most of us would describe ourselves as, wouldn't you like to be constantly reminded about what it's all for? How worth it it will be? What is important when you feel like you don't want to do it anymore or that it's not worth it? The time with your family, the holidays you will go on, the hobbies you will enjoy when you have the time and freedom to pursue them? It's all worth it and if you look at that, every day, you are more inclined to push through those hurdles, find a way to make the impossible, possible and to remind yourself of what you would love your life to look like.
Now for many who have read 'The Secret', it's no secret (see what I did there?) that what you put out to the universe will manifest itself in your life in some way. Put more simply - what you focus on, expands. So many of us have the default position of focusing on the negative, or the crappy, horrible things that happen to us, and then we feel that crappy, horrible things keep happening. What happens when you stub your toe as you get out of bed in the morning? Do you notice that awful and annoying/distracting/painful/insert negative word here things keep happening to you? Then you've 'just had the most terrible day.' I tried this out not long ago (I literally stubbed my toe on the corner of my bed - big bed, small room...) and used it as a bit of an experiment. It was my default to dive into crushing negativity, but I deliberately focused on being positive, and focusing on a happier reality for the day, and what do you know? The day improved. Vision boards are not just a physical reminder of all of the things that you love, are motivated by, take inspiration from or aspire to. They are also a way of making us feel happy, of taking us to a positive place.
Put simply, vision boards are for EVERYBODY. If you have something you're working towards, you can dream board it. If you have a place you desperately would love to go on holiday, you can dream board it. If you have a job you'd love, you can dream board it. A school you'd love your children to go to? Dream board it. The possibilities are endless and as we all have goals, desires, aspirations - they can truly help, anybody.
So we know that it's great to have all of these amazing things in a place where we can look at them everyday - but WHAT do we put on them? Quite simply put, ANYTHING GOES. Vision boards (or dream boards as they are also called for obvious reasons) are personal. Different things work for different people, but I've put together a bit of a summary of how you can put one together if you think that you'd like to have your dreams and dream life front and centre in your life.
1. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT.
“The first step to getting what you want out of life is this: decide what you want.
— Ben Stein
It's actually really hard to get to a dream destination (and of course, have fun on the journey there) if you don't know WHERE you want to go. So first step - what do you want? Family? Love? Holidays? Dream house? Dream job? Workout regime? Children? Write them out, or have an idea of what your dream life looks like. Don't dream small here. The key is to understand what you would have if there were no limitations. Don't hold yourself back.
For me? I put on pictures of my family (my inspiration and motivation every day), pictures of travel (both trips where I've felt truly alive - but let's me honest, every trip makes me feel like that, but also places that I desperately want to go. Hello diving in Central America!); pictures of courses I want to do (massage, coaching etc - can tick the coaching off now, wahoo!); hobbies and daily habits I love to create (yoga, workout regime, clean eating inspiration); quotes that motivate me into daily action; handwritten notes to myself; how I want my rebuilt house to look and dreams of renovating as part of my every day 'work.' Anything goes!
2. FIND OR CREATE IMAGES AND TEXT THAT REPRESENT WHAT YOU WANT, WHERE YOU WANT TO GO OR WHAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED.
Where you get the visual representation of your dreams from is entirely up to you. Have lots of magazines with pictures you love? Great! Cut them out. More of a quotes person? Find them online or type them up yourself and print them off. You may want to attach things you've collected on holidays, to remind you to relax and that you want more of those times. You may want to attach photos of your family/friends to remind you of who you are doing this for. You may want to put on there memorabilia or photos reminding you of when you have felt most healthy, strong, motivated, successful - or when you've achieved something absolutely incredible for you. Go nuts.
3. FIND A PLACE TO STICK THEM!
This can be a canvas board (I just bought mine from the equivalent of a $2 shop), an A3 or A4 piece of paper, or you can find a piece of wall if that works for you. I have small, grubby fingers that grasp at anything within reach, so I have a canvas that I have glued my images onto and it sits in a room where I do my morning rituals. There is a special time put aside as part of that for visualisation of the life I've put on the board. I live that dream life every morning. If you don't have much space, you can tuck your dream board in between books on your bookshelf or stick it on top of a shelf. The most important thing is putting it SOMEWHERE and then being able to look at it or pull it out every day or as often as possible.
4. KEEP UPDATING AS YOUR LIFE CHANGES AND AS YOU ACHIEVE THOSE DREAMS
There's an image of my current dream board below- I'm on the path to updating now and this is my third iteration. I'm really hoping that next time I won't have a 'keep calm and finish the phd' quote up there (on the home stretch, people!) and soon we'll have our dream house built so I can put up something else that I'll be working towards. I had my coaching course on there and now I'm half way through it.
There is no 'right time' to update a dream board. For me, I like to do it yearly as a bit of a special ritual to begin each year. I don't do new years resolutions (I resolve to make my life better all the time), but I DO update my paper diary with all the birthdays and special events and occasions and I update my dream board. Such an inspiring task to name up what you REALLY want and how you really want to FEEL and then put it out there to see everyday.
It feels a little bit personal putting my dreams and life goals out for you all to see, but that's what living outside your comfort zone is all about. Some people don't know where to start, or what they can even look like. Ikigai Wellness and this blog are about showing other highly motivated, busy (perhaps stressed?!) type A personalities (and every other type if you're identifying with this picture) that there are simple ways and techniques that they can use to refocus on what is important and how to slow down and rediscover (or discover) their purpose, their passions and their dream life.
I'd love to hear if you have a dream board, or if you're brave - to see what you have put together! Throw up a photo on the blog, on facebook or on instagram and use the hashtag #ikigaiwellness. I'd love to see you throwing those dreams out there into the universe.
With an open heart,