No Resolutions Allowed: Create a Vision Board to Achieve Your Best Life in the New Year

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“I have created digital vision boards that I look at when I travel, and of course they are geared towards specific targeted goals,” she said. “I even have one for types of apartments/hotels I would love to stay in while abroad. Visualization has really been a powerful tool for me.”

It’s no wonder. The words and images on Martin’s first board (which she still uses) have come to life in a way she could scarcely have imagined four years ago: Martin posted an image of an evening gown to symbolize her desire to attend red-carpet events, and she was subsequently invited to attend Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Inauguration. The words “Award Winning” led to recognition as one of only 100 U.S. entrepreneurs to receive the 2011 British Airways Face of Opportunity Award, and a slew of product photos showcasing her vision to become a brand spokesperson translated into her selection as a 2011 Fila spokesmodel, complete with a full-page ad in InTouch Weekly magazine.

“Being able to look at a physical representation of the experiences I wanted to have, things I wanted to acquire, and goals that I wanted to achieve has been highly motivational for me,” said Martin. “Seeing those pictures compelled me to keep an eye open for opportunities to make these images happen.”

Indeed, this notion of self-effort is a critical component of vision board success. While valuable inspirational tools, vision boards are no magic bullet and, as in most endeavors, output is directly proportional to input.

“The vision board is there to inspire, but you have to be willing to do the work,” said Elayne Fluker, founder and CEO of Chic Rebellion, an online TV network for women of color. “It’s your vision, so go after it!”

Fluker took her own advice in September 2012 when she struck out on her own, to launch Chic Rebellion after more than 15 years in the media industry, working for top brands including Essence, Latina, and Black Enterprise.

“Seeing truly is believing,” Fluker explained. “For me, my vision board allows me to see, and be reminded, each day what my goals and aspirations are. My 2012 vision board, which I created in January, had words and images that resonated with me around entrepreneurship, independence, strong women, and, ultimately, my very own Chic Rebellion.”

While there is no scientific formula for creating a vision board, Fluker recommends that people get real about what they want to achieve, not what other people expect them to. “Distractions and the expectations of others — partner, family, children, friends, co-workers, society! — can cloud your judgment,” she said. “This is about you. Allow yourself the time and space to consider what will bring you the most joy.”

Once you create your vision board, following are three tips for ensuring that you really do attract the life you want in 2013, courtesy of Rachel Luna, certified professional life and business coach and Amazon best-selling author of Successful People are Full of C.R.A.P. (Courage, Resilience, Authenticity, Perseverance): A Step-by- Step Guide to Getting it Together & Achieving Your Dreams:

1. Take a photo of your vision board and make it the wallpaper on your phone and on computer so it’s always in your face.

2. Strategically map out plans to tackle each area of that board. For example, if you want to increase your revenue this year, pick the dollar amount, place it nice and big on your board, and then break it down. How much do you need to make each week to get that magic number?

3. Tell the world your vision! Be deliberate in what you want, and don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Andrea Williams is a writer and journalist based in Nashville, TN. For more follow her @AndreaWillWrite.

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