Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who makes a vision board every year, but mine aren’t like the ones you typically find populating Pinterest or Instagram: there’s no Mercedes, no photos of St. Lucia or Bali, and no rock hard abs. Why? Because none of those things will actually make me happier in the coming months and none of those things will actually fill my life with more joy or help me to make more of a difference in the lives of others. So while I wouldn’t say no to a Mercedes, if you’re interested in making a vision board, the first step is to sit down and think about your values. This requires digging deeper than the pursuit of material goods, and means you’re going to need to reflect on the year 2020.

I like to grab a notebook and jot down my answers to the following questions: What did I achieve in 2020? What made me feel good? What do I need to change? What did I learn? Am I living in a way that aligns with my values? Like so many of us, the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 changed me in significant ways. For example, it forced me to let go of my need for control, and accept the things that I am unable to change. Like a seed planted in the dirt, this process forced me to  grow in the figurative darkness of isolation and quarantine and lockdown, so much so that my hopes for 2021 are radically different than for past years. So as I was thinking about my relationships and my wellness – physical, mental, and spiritual – my goals for 2021 are less ambitious from the outside. They’re simpler, sustainable, & more joyful, even as I considered my career and professional growth, lifelong learning and personal growth, finances, and travel/fun/leisure, as well as the improvements I want to make to my home.

Next comes the fun part. I make use of the embarrassingly large collection of old magazines that are taking up way too much room in my storage room by hauling armfuls of them upstairs, and having a heyday flipping through, looking for images that catch my eye and align with my vision for the year. I rip out the images I like as I go, tucking them in a baggy for safe keeping. Thinking symbolically is key here, as is being open to going in different directions because new intentions or goals often surface throughout this work. Usually, a word for the year starts to emerge during this part of the process as well. Then, I go crazy with the modge-podge, collaging and overlapping the images and words together on a canvas until a cohesive vision board emerges. If you aren’t a magazine hoarder like me, you can also make a digital vision board using a website like Canva, or even by creating a poster in Google Slides.

When I’m finished, I display the vision board in my room because I like having a visual reminder of my priorities, hopes, and goals to look at throughout the year. It’s impossible to live with intention if you don’t remember what you’re supposed to be focusing on! My vision board is a daily reminder to take action to create the life I want, and to live a life aligned with my values. It’s powerful stuff! So what do you say? Are you creating a vision board for 2021?

Kirsten Clark is a high school English and Social Studies teacher, a reader, a runner, a writer, a lover of good food, and most importantly, a new mom. Kirsten lives in Vermilion, Alberta with her husband, and since welcoming a baby boy last December, she is embracing the new adventure of motherhood with all of its ups and downs. She occasionally blogs at shelooksforadventure.com, and posts regularly on Instagram @kirstenlanae. Find her on Twitter also.

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