Annual assessments have always been routine for me. The only issue is they typically leave me bemoaning the days I wasted and wishing for a time-machine to put the past 365 days to better use. However, there was a major shift this year in my attitude that propelled me to make a vision board in January.
I’d heard people discussing vision boards before, and while I’ve always been one of those people who make new year’s resolutions, it still sounded like some pseudo-spiritual propaganda. Like, really? All I gotta do is tack my goals to a board and they’ll magically manifest? Mkay.
After giving it a little more thought, I realized that a vision board simply reinforces the fact that people tend to be drawn to things they want. If a late-night Wendy’s commercial can lure folks to the drive-thru, why can’t a board that advertises personal dreams and goals essentially do the same thing?
HAS IT WORKED FOR ME?
Well, the better question is whether I’ve allowed it to work for me. 2013 ended on sort of a high note professionally, but personally it was one of the darkest, lowest moments of my life. Therefore, I decided that 2014 had to be better.
I had a ton of stuff on my board, but here a few successes I had this year that really stood out for me:
WHAT I ACCOMPLISHED FROM 2014 MY VISION BOARD & WHY
TRAVELING. Coincidentally (or not), the backdrop of my vision board just so happens to be a photo of London’s Big Ben, a famous European landmark. I didn’t have a particular destination in mind when I mapped out my travel goals at the beginning of the year, other than wanting to go somewhere I’d never been, but Europe was pretty much out of the question…or so I thought. I enjoyed some great trips this year and while I didn’t come anywhere close to having a spot of tea with the queen, I did get to vacation in Paris. The entire trip was (and still is) unbelievable. I never thought I’d go there. Honestly, I wanted to tweet every minute of it, but this trip came at a time when I was on the verge of a burnout, so I stayed off social media and my computer pretty much the entire time.
LANDING MORE BYLINES. I’ve already blabbed way too much about my writing successes since quitting my full-time job in February, so I’ll keep it brief. It’s been a productive year and I’ve learned a few things about freelancing, and even more about myself through pitching regularly for the first time ever and through the great writing friends and supporters I’ve gained online. I’ve even had people reach out to me about work, so we’ll see how that goes in 2015.
LEARNING TO PICK MYSELF UP. These words speak directly to my struggles with depression, which is what made the latter part of 2013 so challenging. So in 2014, I vowed to manage it better by focusing more on self-care through exercise, decreasing negative self-talk, going back to therapy and doing simple things to spiff myself up like finally learning how to do my own makeup (when you look better, you feel better).
Thankfully, my efforts seem to be working because for the past four years, like clockwork, the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) creep in right along with the summer to fall transition and I’ve generally felt defenseless against it. But around this time last year, I got back into therapy, which has helped immensely. I’ve had my moments of feeling down, but I’m beyond relieved to report that this year I feel a sense of peace that I haven’t felt in a long time.
GETTING ORGANIZED. Um, this is still a work in progress, but my office is clean and orderly (it’s usually a total mess), my entire house is more organized and my car is clean (inside), and I must confess: I’ve been hoarding a bag of confidential stuff that needed to be shredded since the beginning of the year. I FINALLY got rid of it and I swear it feels like I gave the boot to a freeloading relative.
VISIONS I DIDN’T ACCOMPLISH:
Buying a baby grand piano, a mansion in the hills, living every day like it’s a vacation, delving more into fashion and getting those elusive washboard abs were also all on my board. As for why those things didn’t happen—my priorities changed in some cases (mansion, baby grand, fashion) and I was doing so great on my quest to have abs of steel, but I lost my momentum after vacation and haven’t quite recovered. For the new year, I’ll re-evaluate these goals and transfer them over to next year’s board, if they fit my vision for 2015.
What are your thoughts on vision boards? If you made one for 2014, how did it work out? Let me know in the comments.