Each year, as these dates approach, many of us feel invaded by a somewhat melancholic mood. The days shorten, wind and rain become more and more present, and slowly the exuberance of the summer transforms into decay.
Autumn is a transitional state that has the particularity of connecting us with the impermanent nature of things, inviting us to strip ourselves of anything unnecessary, anything that has already fulfilled its purpose. As the season progresses, it feels natural to turn our eyes inwards and take stock of everything we’ve experienced during the year.
For me, November is a month that invites introspection. After the autumn harvest and just before winter, it symbolises the ending of a period in order to give way to a new cycle. It’s a moment of deep reflection and recollection in which we can gain knowledge and wisdom.
And in the same way, I consider December the ideal time to connect with new ideas, set new goals and create projects that motivate us and help us to grow. After observing everything that we’ve lived through during the past year, now it’s time to plant the seeds of what we’d like to see flourish in this new cycle.
I’ve been exploring this process myself in recent days: assessing where I am, the goals I’ve achieved so far and the ones I’d like to reach in the next 12 months. Reflecting deeply and finding a general balance before beginning to express my intentions for the next year. I believe that this is a powerful exercise to help us realise where we are in our lives, discover what we want to achieve and set a course to accomplish it. In addition, if it’s done with the right intention, it gives us the motivation and sense of direction that are essential to sustain and guide us during the process.
It’s curious how, although the guidelines for doing this inner work are more or less always the same, every time you do it you connect with different things. And even though some goals may remain the same, now you find yourself formulating them from a different place – perhaps from an internal position of greater firmness, or more gentleness, perhaps with more lightness, or with the emphasis on a feeling of enjoyment...
In my case, when I started to connect with myself, allowing the process to develop, I was pleasantly surprised to realise that this year I wanted to opt for a vision board. For me, this is a simple and direct way of expressing what I really want to achieve. In addition, I sincerely wanted to connect with myself in a more visual and creative way. I’ve used a vision board in previous years, and it has proved a useful way to keep myself focused and excited, because sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of our goals when we’re overwhelmed by the demands and responsibilities that come our way.
A vision board is something like a treasure map: a way to visually represent our goals, dreams and aspirations, to turn them into something realistic and attainable.
For example, imagine that, when you carry out your reflections, you discover that this year you want to learn to play the guitar. In addition to analysing the steps you need to take to achieve this goal, and creating an action plan, it’s important to reflect the goal on your vision board. You can cut out a picture of a guitar or use an image that you’ve previously found and printed out. It’s even better if it shows a person playing the guitar. Images speak directly to our subconscious mind and are powerful allies when it comes to achieving our goals.
So, creating a vision board is all about looking for inspiring images, phrases that motivate you, words that resonate with you and invite you to take action, or that give you support and comfort. Anything visual that helps you to connect with your own wisdom and internal knowledge.
I like the fact that a vision board helps you get in touch with your subconscious, in a way that’s both subtle and fun. As you connect with your yearnings and deepest desires, what you’re actually doing is discovering what’s important to you and focusing on that. When you concentrate on what you want to achieve, it’s easier to put all of your energy into making it a reality.
If you’ve never made a vision board before, or you have but you feel like accompanying me in the process, I invite you to follow along.
The first step for me is deciding when I’m going to do it. I like to book a specific time in my calendar and create the right space to be focused and calm. It’s about being with myself and enjoying the experience, so I try to surround myself with things that help to create a warm, beautiful atmosphere. I love to choose some incense, light a few scented candles, play music, have a good cup of tea on hand... Elements that make me feel good and promote a state of contemplation and connection.
The second step is to gather everything I’m going to use. During the weeks in which I’ve gradually begun to enter into this internal state of reflection and balance, I’ve collected various materials. In addition, I have to hand magazines, brochures and printed images that will help me to capture what I want to achieve.
To build your vision board, you can use a piece of thick card or cardboard, or corkboard... any material to which you can glue or attach the different elements and which will still maintain its shape. You’ll also want scissors, pens, markers, glue... whatever you feel you need.
Once I have everything ready, I take a Mindful pause. I place myself in a state of greater focus and consciousness, being aware of how I feel at this moment... of my surroundings. I allow myself to accept any thoughts, emotions or internal sensations that may be emerging at this time... creating an internal space in which I can simply be... And from there, I observe with curiosity what happens, what emerges...
It’s time then to start depicting my reflections.
I like to start by reviewing my achievements this year. It’s time to compare them with the objectives I set at the end of last year and see what I’ve accomplished.
This process is crucial, because it gives us valuable information about the types of goals we set and how we do it. Sometimes we don’t achieve what we want simply because our goals are unattainable! I’m referring to unrealistic goals, those that don’t motivate us, those that are poorly formulated or aren’t accompanied by an action plan that allows us to carry them out.
This is why I consider it so important to give ourselves a time and a place to make our statement of goals in the right way. We need to connect with ourselves, to connect with what really matters to us, what we really want. If I convince myself that I want something, but it’s not really something that I want, that goal won’t be important enough – it won’t have enough value to be worth the effort.
And the same goes when it’s time to formulate our goals. If a goal is well defined, if it’s clear, if I develop a list of tasks that will allow me to achieve it and I give myself deadlines for carrying them out, then there’s every chance that by the end of the year I’ll be celebrating my personal and professional achievements.
Another aspect I write about is what I liked the most this year, what I liked the least, and why. At this point, I feel that I begin to move to a deeper level of my conversation with myself. I gradually begin to open up, to give voice to those more subtle parts of which we aren’t always aware.
I pay attention to what I would be excited to achieve, what would give me a sense of joy and healthy enjoyment, what would make me feel fuller and more fulfilled... And I begin to outline how I could achieve it: the means, the circumstances, the times... Which people would I like to have by my side in this process? And which ones would I need to distance myself from..?
It’s time to listen to my heart and give myself what I need.
When we feel it’s time to draw a close to this stage of recognition and acceptance, we’re already internally located in a place of greater centre and depth, ready to create our vision board. Because this isn’t about cutting and pasting images without rhyme or reason. A vision board only works if what you put on it is aligned with your values and with who you really are.
This is when we actually start to create our treasure map.
Focusing our attention on where we are, in order to create the place where we want to be, in all aspects of our lives, we begin to explore the material we have: images that we’ve previously printed out, pictures that we want to cut out of magazines or brochures we have with us, inspirational phrases, words that move us internally, and other materials that help us to express our feelings or ideas. Take the time to choose your materials carefully.
At this point, I recommend that you don’t place any limits on your imagination. Be creative! You can use feathers, sequins, ribbons, gems, glitter, craft foam... whatever you want! Allow yourself to explore. Dare to capture your projects with openness and curiosity.
Paste the materials on the board however you feel like doing it. You may like to do it in a way that looks tidy. Or maybe you feel you want to get carried away and put things everywhere. In this, there are no rules. Every person – even more, every vision board – is different. If you’ve done this before, then you’ll know that no two ever come out the same way.
When choosing the images, let yourself be guided by your intuition. If something appeals to you, include it. This is about opening up and connecting with other parts of yourself. If you detect criticism or judgement, simply realise it and gently return to what you’re doing. This isn’t about complying with external aesthetic standards; it’s about giving yourself permission to explore and do things differently. In short, allow yourself to be free!
Be alert to the different bodily sensations, emotions or thoughts that arise. Notice how you feel as you make your board.
On my vision board, I always leave a space for my reflections. I use a corkboard, so I find it very easy to place them in a corner with a pushpin or thumb tack. This is important, because every time I review the board and connect with the images, I also read my resolutions and work on the guidelines I set to achieve them.
When you finish your vision board, continue to gaze at it for a few minutes. Feel it. Feel how you feel about it. And be profoundly grateful to yourself for dedicating this time and space to you. For listening and allowing yourself to be.
If possible, leave the board somewhere visible, so that you can contemplate and review it periodically. Seeing your goals and aspirations reflected is a powerful motivator and helps you to focus on achieving them.
If you prefer to keep it in a more private place, be sure to look at it regularly. Remember the moment you created it, connect with the reason you chose each image, each phrase or element. Why you placed it that way. Allow yourself to reconnect with those feelings of joy, lightness, calm, depth... and thank yourself again for the experience.
A vision board, in addition to reminding you of what you really want and keeping you motivated to achieve it, reflects a part of you. It expresses a part of you. A very important part: your own wisdom, your inner guidance.
Treat it as what it is: a valuable gift you gave to yourself.
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