This blog is dedicated to helping you live an amazing life, which shouldn’t be too surprising given the title. One of the key elements is to develop plans to achieve success. Then, to break down those steps into simple workable plans that we all can implement. That is true of today’s post as well. The two keys to success. What it comes down to is needing to elements to succeed in any area of life – a vision and action.
It is all rather simple. Our vision will determine what kinds of actions we will take. If you goal is to be fit your actions must reflect that vision. Certainly eating a large pizza for dinner every evening would not get you there. Why is it then we often find ourselves taking actions contrary to our vision? We have a vision of ourselves being fit and full of vitality but then find ourselves having a cup of coffee and a twinkie for breakfast because we are running late. In this case we must take a hard look at our vision. Is it truly something we want or are we doing it to impress someone else in our life? Perhaps it is something we truly want but are still having a hard time maintaining the proper actions that correspond to that vision. What then? Then we must look at the reason why we desire that vision in the first place. What would being fit and healthy get for us? What would we lose by not being fit and healthy? We must strengthen our why.
On the flipside is people who take a lot of action but have no clear purpose. I equate that with getting in a taxi and giving him a million different directions all at once. Chances are you will not get very far if anywhere at all. Having a vision helps us guide our actions. We can see if we are getting closer to our vision (taking the right actions) or getting further away from our vision (taking the wrong actions) It is important that we then adjust accordingly.
Having a clear vision and not taking any action gets us just as far. Maybe your dream is to own a beautiful home in a lush tropical setting so you can spend your days lost in creating a brilliant literary masterpiece. Then again, maybe that is just my goal. The point is, if you just sit and dream of it every day, you are no more likely to get there than someone who has no goal. Our vision must be strong enough to inspire action. Inspired action that can be measured against the ability to draw us closer to our vision.
To discuss this point we must bring in your refrigerator. Yes you heard me right. I need you to think about your fridge. What color is it? Does it have two doors? Do they open left to right or right to left? Now think about your car. What color is your car? What color is the interior? When I asked you to think of each of these items you had a picture in your mind, didn’t you? You did not think of “I drive a Honda CRV.” You actually pictured your car.
The reason this happened is because we think in pictures. Now if I were to ask you what your mind looks like most of us would conjure up a thought of the brain. Why? Nobody knows what the mind looks like. The mind is not the brain, but it is the closest thing we can come up with.
What does all this have to do with vision boards and living an amazing life? Let us think of what success looks like for us. Do you have a clear picture? For you it may include more money, a bigger house, a fancy car or a million other different things. If they are just abstract thoughts that your brain does not have a picture to correlate with, it will be a thought of very little power. This is why we need to get clear as to exactly what we are looking for. What does ‘more money’ look like? What would you like your house to look like? Brick? Field stone? How many bedrooms? A hot tub maybe? What kind of fancy car would you like to drive? What color would it be?
This may seem like trivial details to some. If you are familiar with the law of attraction, however, you will understand how important this can be. From a scientific standpoint, without a clear picture of your goals in your subconscious mind your brain will not know exactly what to work towards. You may have periods of productivity followed by what seems to be regression and chaos. It is the ‘one step forward, two steps back’ situation.
Enter the vision board. In a nutshell a vision board is a board with pictures of all of your goals on it. Not only will this help you see your goal (it is hanging on the wall in your hallway) but it will do so with no work on your part. You just walk up and look at it. This helps program the images of success into your subconscious mind. Now, even when you are unaware, your brain is laser focused on your goal and will be constantly on the lookout for things that match it.
When you wish to put your mind to work for you, the first thing you have to do is speak its language. As we discussed earlier, we think in pictures. By showing you brain pictures of your goals daily (you standing by the car of your dreams, the house you want to build, etc.) you are speaking them into your mind. That my friends is how a vision board works.
When I look at this picture one word comes to mind – FAITH. The essence of faith to me is a kind of positive perseverance. It is not for the weak and takes a great deal of strength. How, in the middle of the storm, can we have faith the sun will shine once again? The answer is surprisingly simple, because it always does. The seasons of life, much like the seasons of weather always repeat themselves. When we are experiencing a winter period in our lives it can be hard to hold tight knowing eventually spring will come. In the depths of winter it can seem that spring may never arrive. As I write this the temperature is well below the freezing mark and there is plenty of snow. As a person with Seasonal Affective Disorder this can seem like a very dark time indeed. I have been on this wonderful planet long enough to know that eventually the temperature will rise and the snow will melt. Birds will return to sing once again and the trees will regain their leaves. Feeling this in your heart and knowing it emotionally can be a difficult thing to do. This very same scenario is the same when it comes to dark and cold periods of our lives. It may seem things will never turn around and it will be winter forever. Of course we may very well know in our heads that is not so, but if we do not feel it in our hearts it can lead us to feeling overwhelmed and depressed. So, how to beat these feelings, keep our faith and remain positive while waiting for things to turn around? That is the million-dollar question. There are many different things we can do to help ourselves in this arena. I have learned many of them while doing my best to deal with my S.A.D., but they work for increasing the strength of your faith as well. I suggest doing as many of these as you can. It never hurts to have another option when it comes to increasing your faith. Surround yourself with pictures of both things that inspire you (for example I have plenty of tropical pictures everywhere during the winter) as well as pictures of your accomplishments. Knowing you overcame challenges in the past can be just the boost you need to do it in the present.
I also recommend creating a ‘Happy Playlist’ on your MP3 or even on your cell phone. When you start to feel your faith slip and you begin to wonder if the darkness will ever end, a push of the button can begin to change your state and turn things around. Also keep a great selection of inspirational material at hand. This can range from the Bible, to your favorite joke book. You can have your favorite movie that inspires you or a book of inspirational poetry. Perhaps a picture with an inspirational saying on it. Don’t have one? Take some time to shop for one. Can’t afford it? Perhaps creating one of your own could be the answer.
Speaking of creating, my last suggestion is a vision board. This is simply a board of any nature filled with pictures of both your goals you are working towards, and accomplishments you have achieved. The more you can put yourself into it, the better. Get it that dream car and go for a test drive. Photoshop yourself onto that perfect beach or in the perfect house. Try all of these and more! If you have any other tools you use to keep a positive attitude while waiting for the dark times in life to pass please share them with us.
We all know the people with grand dreams. They seem to move through life undeterred by any obstacle facing them. Why do you think that is? It is my belief it stems from having a compelling vision of themselves and what they would like to be. They know what direction they want to move in. If the course they are taking seems to not be taking them in that direction, the adjust the course. If they run into a wall and seemed to be stopped, they back up and begin again with a new plan of action. If they get knocked down by others or even by life in general, they take a moment, pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start all over again. Trying hard, or as I would prefer to say, working hard, seems not to bother them. In fact, them seem to really enjoy it.
Compare that with the way the average work-a-day person goes about their life. Waking up dreading to go into work. Maybe even worried about what could go wrong at work or the traffic they will have to face on the way in. At best they are looking forward to a vacation they have coming up. They have no profound vision to drive their life. It seems as if they have settled into the “Work, pay bills and die” routine. Without a strong vision and reason to get up in the morning, life can feel like a prison sentence instead of the great gift filled with possibilities that it is.
I encourage all of my readers to develop a strong vision of the person they want to be. Write it down and hang it on the bathroom mirror or somewhere you can see it every day. Perhaps even find inspiring quotes or pictures to hang up as well. Find an inspiring vision of the person you are working to become and make life your goal.
This is a picture of a billboard just outside the Wisconsin State Fair. It is a catchy little slogan for a Mexican restaurant. My mother and I have started taking walks after my heart trouble caused me to take a break from working out as hard as I would like. Being the state fair is probably my favorite place to go, it makes sense to choose that as a location to walk. This particular day my mother and I decided to walk the perimeter of the park to see how long that would be. (roughly 3.2 miles for those keeping track) While on the northern side of the park we came across this billboard.
As we walked passed it I began to think of the slogan “Inhale tacos, exhale negativity”. A slight confession is that I tend to practice a lot of both in my life. The last couple posts we have been discussing meditation and how we can work it into our life. One of the simplest forms of meditation is to pay attention to your breathing. If you add to that visualizing breathing in positivity and exhaling negativity, it can lead to an increased state of peace. I encourage you to practice this for several minutes twice a day and let me know what difference you notice. It is a simple practice, but can bring great change.
Then I thought about inhaling tacos. How could you not after reading that sign? Other than increasing the feeling of hunger I had already started from the walk, it got me thinking. Obviously, they are using tacos as a replacement for the word positivity. This could probably hold true for many people out there. Although saying, “Have a taco day!” Instead of positive day does sound a bit strange. When doing the above exercise sometimes picturing positivity and negativity can be a bit too abstract for some of us. What if we replaced the word positivity with some activity, such as eating tacos or attending the local state fair. In other words any activity that fills us with joy or adds value to our life. As we breath in we could picture being engaged it that activity and breathing in more of those activities into our lives.
On the exhale we could replace negativity with any activity we are trying to remove from our lives. Maybe letting our emotions get the best of us or being filled with stress. As we exhale we could picture that activity and feel ourselves exhaling it out of our bodies and out of our lives. Inhale tacos, exhale being overly emotional. Inhale the state fair, exhale being stressed out. It certainly is worth a try and could be a lot of fun!
WARNING!!! This blog is not responsible for an increase in the consumption of tacos related to the reading of this article. Restraint is recommended in the amount of tacos consumed or one would not be able to inhale or exhale at all. Please read responsibly.
One of the main complaints I hear when discussing how to make the lives of those around us, not to mention our own, more positive and rewarding is the effort it takes. After all, in this age of job uncertainty and just trying to ‘make ends meet’ who has the extra time to worry about happiness. My first response is usually to point out that focusing on surviving will keep you in a constant state of just barely getting by. After all it has been proven what we focus on is what we attract, so why not focus on your dreams? I do not wish to discount this concern though. During the holidays especially it can seem we have 25 hours worth of things scheduled in a day. So I am always on the lookout for ways to make achieving a positive life easier and almost automatic. Here is something even better, this one can actually be fun! It’s something you can do with your spouse or even with the kids! Continue reading “VISION BOARDS”→