Dare to dream: discover the real you

Young woman looking out to sea

We all have a dream – whether it’s something we’ve always wanted to have, do, or be. But what can we do to help us achieve our heart’s desires?

If you’ve not explored them before, then you may not realise just how much vision boards can empower us to visualise what we want in life. We know it works; athletes use visualisation to improve their performance – so, why can’t it work for the rest of us?

Yet according to one study by the University of California, we could be going about things the wrong way. Instead of setting our sights on our end goal, we should focus on how to achieve it. Dreaming big about a career change, country house, or once-in-a-lifetime vacation is all well and good… but if we put all of our time into the fantasy, it’s easy to forget the most important step: turning that dream into a reality.

How to create a vision board

Before you get started, you’ll need:

  • glue
  • scissors
  • a posterboard, corkboard, or frame
  • a stack of magazines

Identify what you want

Before you begin, take time to ask: what do I really want? Find a quiet area where you can reflect on different areas of your life, how they affect your wellbeing, and where you can imagine yourself being in the future. Listening to soft, calming music or white noise can help you tune out distractions.

Find inspiration online or in magazines

Once you have a rough idea of what you want, it’s time for the fun part: picking out photos, pictures, words, or even quotes that call to you from your stack of magazines. If you’re struggling and have a working printer, try searching online on sites like Pinterest for inspiration.

Image of a photo collage on a wall

Focus on how you want to feel – not what you want to own

Before you start working on your layout, think about your goals and how you will feel when they are complete. Do you hope to feel calmer, more confident, and in control? Perhaps you want to feel more satisfied and fulfilled in what you do? 

Consider the steps you would need to take to get there

Once your board is ready, it’s time to start visualising the steps you need to take to succeed. What is holding you back – time, training, space, or even dedication? Once you identify this, you can focus on how you can overcome it, and create a more concrete idea of the steps you can take towards your goal.

Set yourself up for success 

Ensure your vision board is somewhere you can clearly see it every day. By keeping your end goals – and the steps you need to take to achieve them – firmly in mind, you can turn your focus to making progress towards those dreams each and every day.


This article was originally published in Happiful Magazine (June 2020). You can order print copies online, or read the e-magazine for free on the Happiful app.

Many of us have areas we’d like to improve on. Whether it’s learning a new skill, progressing in a certain area of our life or simply finding a way to accept ourselves as we are. Check out our Self-Help page for more information.

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Bonnie Evie Gifford

Written by Bonnie Evie Gifford

Bonnie Evie Gifford is a Senior Writer at Happiful.

Written by Bonnie Evie Gifford

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