Inspired Living: How to Create a Dream Board that Works!

A few weeks ago, I told you a bit about how I used a dream board (also known as a "vision board") to help me get out of a place where I felt stuck, and to move towards creating the career--and life--of my dreams. It almost seems silly that a simple collage could be so instrumental in creating such a massive transformation, but I assure you that it works.

Here's a bit more about why that is, and a few steps to help you create a dream board that works.

First up, let's talk a bit about what a dream board is NOT.
  • A dream board is NOT a wishlist. 
  • A dream board is NOT a to-do list. 
  • A dream board is NOT witchcraft or some kind of magic spell.
A dream board IS a visual representation of the dreams and goals we want to achieve in our life. It's less about stuff we want, than it is about who we want to be in this world.

For example, a photo of a pile of money can either represent just that--a lot of money--OR it can mean that I've reached a point in my career where I'm compensated generously for work that I genuinely love and enjoy. The first is cool, but the latter is definitely much more satisfactory in terms of using my God-given talents to achieve a whole and fulfilling life.

When crafting your dream board, I urge you to keep this idea in mind. Go beyond the simple material wants and think big picture. It's ok to start by listing the material things you wish you could have (and even including a few of them on your board), but use them as a jumping off point to dream bigger!

I find that a good way to do this is to ask yourself the following question:

"What would make me feel proud to 
overhear someone say about me?"

  • "She's a millionaire." OR "She's so good she's worth the big bucks."
  • "She has huge 6-bedroom mansion." OR "I love visiting her home; it's always so comfortable and full of love." 
  • "They're such a good-looking couple." OR "You can tell they really love each other."

This approach is important because it will help you see beyond what's in front of you and really push yourself to achieve your maximum greatness. It's also key because it allows flexibility in the process.

Say you want to improve your career situation. For you right now that might mean a promotion to the next level in your company. But if you focus intently on that promotion, it doesn't allow for the possibility that perhaps there is actually a bigger, better job waiting for you at a completely different office. Or maybe you miss the reality that in your heart you would actually be happier striking out on your own and starting your own business.

Specific, clear goals are definitely important, but I think it's also important to focus more on the feeling these goals will help you achieve--this way you will remain open to all the other opportunities that you have yet to even dream of.

How do dream boards work?

I believe there are few things that make dream boards so effective, but this is the easiest (and least "woo woo") explanation:

By taking the time to create a dream board, you are getting in touch with your intuition. In our fast-paced world, we don't always take time to really stop and think about the things we want to achieve in life. We ignore our gut feelings. We even forget about the things that makes us happy. As we grow, we change and often our desires change with us, but yet we keep barreling forward without even stopping to make sure we're still heading in the right direction. Or we divide our attention between so many things we think we should be doing that it's impossible to make any measurable progress in the ones that really matter ("jack of all trades; master of none").

Creating a dream board basically forces you to focus. It's a way of "checking in" with yourself, and figuring out what your real dreams and desires are. And once you know them and see them pasted clearly before you, your outlook and energy and attention shifts and points you in the right direction so that you can see and accept the opportunities that are meant for you.

So here's how you make a dream board:

You need:
  • A large piece of poster or foam board. You can also use a large bulletin board if you want something a bit more fluid. There are computer programs and apps that allow you to create "virtual" vision boards online, but I think it's really most effective when you engage the creative, almost child-like aspect of physically cutting and pasting. It works your brain in a way most of us aren't used to and brings forth new ideas.
  • Glue or pushpins to affix your images. I think rubber cement or Mod Podge work best. Elmer's makes the paper wrinkle and glue sticks tend to lose their stickiness and cause the paper to fall off after a few months. 
  • Magazines. Definitely use your favorite magazines (for example cooking or yoga magazines), but also pick up ones you don't usually read--they'll give you more images to choose from and you never know where your best ideas will come from. Grab magazines randomly at the supermarket, or take old ones from your kids or friends. O Magazine is usually great for words. Children's magazines usually have wonderful illustrations. You can also tear up old art books, or even search online for images that strike your fancy.
Choose your images:
As you leaf through the magazines searching for images, it's great to go in with a plan and include images representative of the goals you know you want, but also tear out pictures that just give you pleasure or that cause some kind of pleasant, visceral reaction in you.

If it catches your eye, cut it out--you can always toss it later, but there is probably a reason why a particular image spoke to you; you just don't know why yet!

Also remember to include words. I'm a writer and words are important to me, so I have quite a few on my board. You may only need a couple. (You can also just write with a marker directly on the board.)

My Latest Dream Board
Crush on your board
Paste the images onto your board in a manner that pleases you. That's important. It's not about art or creating perfection, but when you look upon the board it should make you feel good. You should have the desire to look at the board over and over again. I want you to fall in love with your board and what's on it. Fall in love with the idea of you at your greatest good.

I know I've created a good board when I find myself sneaking peeks at it throughout the day, the same way you might look at someone you have a crush on (or a cake you're dying to eat).

If anything on the board bothers you or makes you feel unpleasant, rip it off and put something else there. Everything about that board should make you feel happy and energized.

White space
I like to leave some white space on my board. It gives the eyes and mind a places to rest, and also allows room for growth. If you come across something later on that you'd like to add to your board, you can add it. Or perhaps the surprise will simply manifest in your life without you even expecting it!

Displaying your dream board
I keep my board in my bedroom propped up on my nightstand. It's both the last and first thing I see each day.  Occasionally, when I'm writing or trying to figure something out, I'll bring it into another room with me and just stare at it for a while. I kept my last dream board on the wall in my kitchen (it's actually still there as a reminder of all the amazing things that came true).

I also recommend taking a picture of it that you can keep in your phone. This way you can glance at it during the day when you need a boost of positivity. Or it'll give you something to pray on when you're stuck in a long line or a waiting room.

A final note: Some people prefer to keep their boards private, but I'm actually all for sharing it--especially with people who love and support you. Why? Because you never know who can help you achieve your dreams! So go ahead--put it out there! Let the world know what it is you want. All that positive energy in support of your dreams can only ever be a good thing.

In fact, if you'd like, you can send me a picture of it. Maybe I'll share some on a Pinterest board or in a Facebook album so we can all support each other.


I hope this has inspired you to create your own dream board. If you have any other questions about how to make one, how/why they work, or about my own experiences, feel free to ask in the comments and I'll answer! And if you'd like to share a picture of your dream board with me or the blog community, email it to me at alejandra@alwaysorderdessert.com. I promise not to post or share it without your permission.

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