How to Create a Healthy Vision Board

You’ve probably heard of vision boards, dream boards, or goal boards. All these are names for the same thing: visual collections of what you want for yourself that you can hang on your wall and look at. Making one is recommended by everyone from Oprah to Jim Carrey. I have a pretty low tolerance for cheesiness, and for years I wrote off making a vision board as silly.

Then I made one.

Amigos, I’m here to say that vision boards are powerful. Collecting images and snippets of text that inspire you and then looking at them EVERY DAY is a huge help in getting you to where you want to be. Constantly being reminded of what you want to do and how you want to do it is powerful in achieving any goal.

What Vision Boards Should NOT Be

Maybe part of why I was so skeptical of vision boards in the past is my firm conviction that most of what you see called “thinspo” and “fitspo” is toxic. The text “NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS SKINNY FEELS” imposed on an image of tan, photoshopped abs only fuels my old fires of being tempted to undereat and overexercise. And to me, being told, “Don’t stop when it hurts. Stop when you’re done” sounds like a pretty good recipe for getting injured! Looking at tiny, sculpted, surgically altered female bodies makes me feel worse about my own and drives me to do unhealthy things to try to reach those impossible ideals. Pasting up a wall of that garbage sounded like (and is!) a really bad plan.

dream boards aren't fitspo
Ha! “Fitspiration” at its pathetic finest. Image grabbed from BuzzFeed.

How to Make a Healthy Vision Board

I decided I was going to make a truly HEALTHY vision board. And here are the three rules I laid out before I began:

  • Absolutely no unrealistic images of bodies to aspire to. I realize that’s somewhat subjective, but I decided any bodies I put up there would simply look like more toned versions of my current self: something attainable through reasonable work and balanced living.
  • Try to use pictures and text about ACTIONS I want to take daily rather than pictures that focus on an end result. For example, better than an image of a girl looking fantastic in a swimsuit, I’d include a picture of a healthy meal or of a girl running.
  • Include as much in both images and text about what I wanted to BE LIKE as what I wanted to LOOK LIKE.

This meant that I had to go through A LOT of magazines to find exactly what I wanted. I also ended up using a lot of actual printed pictures of myself and my family: pictures of happy memories when I felt like I was being and feeling my very best. Here’s how my healthy vision board turned out.

vision board

What My Vision Board Does for Me

My board has been hanging in my bedroom for about 6 months now. It’s on the wall that I see as I walk into the room, so every time I walk in there I see all those bright, happy, positive images and words to remind myself of what I really want to become. And it’s been such a great tool to help me keep my head in the right place. Those constant visual reminders have helped me make healthy choices even when I’m feeling cranky and feel tempted to use sugar as a bandaid. And they’ve helped me remember that health is about how you feel each and every day, not about some magical destination point that includes tanned washboard abs.

More than anything else, your vision board is going to be powerful because it helps you define your WHY: what reason or reasons do you have for wanting to make healthy changes? If it’s all about appearance, your resolve probably won’t last long, because if you’re like me you know deep down that appearance doesn’t really matter. My vision board has helped me tap into real, compelling reasons for making the harder but healthier choices when needed:

*I want to be a good example to my kids.

*I want to be a nice and happy wife to my husband, not the emotionally volatile version of myself I am when I’m constantly bingeing.

*I want to find joy in eating beautiful, healthy food as well as in eating less-healthy yumminess in moderation.

*I want to get faster running times down the line when I’m no longer pregnant.

*I want to have a healthy pregnancy and take good care of this little one inside of me while I’m eating and exercising for two.

*I want to live a long life.

*I want to treat my body like the temple I believe it is.

*I want to finally live my dreams instead of just talking about them.

THIS is what I tried to capture in my vision board, and it’s THESE things that help me stay strong in tough moments, not images of thigh gaps.

I’d love to see some of YOUR healthy vision boards and share your pictures with my readers! Tag me in a tweet or post to Instagram that includes yours, or email pictures to me at thegirlwiththegreenapple@gmail.com.