Better Than a Vision Board: An Accomplishments Board

A poster board collage illustrating what is better than a vision board: an accomplishments board

Better Than a Vision Board: An Accomplishments Board

Sitting cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by craft supplies, a woman makes a vision board

If you travel in self-development circles, you have no doubt been invited at some point to make a vision board. The assignment, as you understand it, is to envision all that you want to manifest in your life – things like “enough” money, perkier boobs and a hot new coworker.

You then plaster pics of these things onto Dollar Store poster board while simultaneously drinking Sauvignon Blanc and wrestling the cat for the glue stick. And then you wait.

And wait.

Meantime, the Subaru dies, gravity does not respond to your request to be exempt and your new coworker turns out to be 5’2″ and named Earl.

Do Vision Boards Work?

So what gives? Why did this amazing thing that everyone can’t stop talking about not deliver results?

According to Jack Canfield, many people fail to realize their dreams through visualization alone because they are missing the critical next step: action.

This makes me laugh.

The wild popularity of The Secret back in 2006 suggests that millions bought into the idea that they could drink wine and wield a glue stick once and wake up to the life of their dreams. We weren’t adequately warned there was work to be done.

So do vision boards work?

Not if you’re looking for the lazy man’s option.

The Dark Side of Goal-Setting

There also exists a school of thought that argues that goal setting itself – of which vision boarding is just one practice – has major downsides.

“Arrival fallacy,” for example, is the idea that in the process of working toward a goal, you come to expect that you will reach it, which triggers the reward centers in the brain. You get the hit of satisfaction in advance of reaching the goal (incidentally, the entire premise of vision boarding). Therefore, once you actually attain the goal, it’s much less satisfying than you expected.

Alternatively, there is the belief that goal-setting gone wrong can actually result in less happiness. When we dwell too much on goals, we become preoccupied with their achievement – or lack thereof. Rather than focusing on the life that is unfolding before our eyes, we think about what we have to do more of, what we’re doing wrong and how far away our objective seems.

The Antidote

I’m not saying vision boards and goal setting are pointless exercises, but I am offering another wildly empowering strategy that you might want to try instead.

Enter The Accomplishments Board.

This activity will scratch your crafting itch while simultaneously giving you an invaluable resource to draw upon any time you are facing imposter syndrome. You probably know it well: the little voice inside your head that constantly tells you you’re not good enough, experienced enough or worthy enough to have the life you want.

To silence that voice, shift the focus from what you don’t yet have to all the things that make you a rockstar.

A poster board collage illustrating what is better than a vision board: an accomplishments board

Steps For Creating Your Accomplishments Board

So what are good accomplishments to list on your accomplishments board? Anything and everything! Now is not the time to be modest.

To find your inspiration, begin by asking yourself the following questions:

What do people tell me I’m great at?

Do friends constantly ask you for advice on their writing projects, how you always find the most amazing home decor or why your dogs are so well-behaved?

What are people always asking me to do for them?

Do you often get tasked with baking your friends’ birthday cakes, making the banner for your kid’s soccer team or organizing the silent auction prizes for a local charity?

What are my professional achievements?

Have you opened a boutique, started a successful calligraphy business or given talks on innovative methods for coping with stress?

What are my most special relationships?

Are you proud of the fact that friends always confide in you? Are you grateful for the awesome relationship you have with your step-child? Do you know there’s no better home than yours for rescued Siamese cats?

Now, start collecting images.

For instance, my Accomplishments Board includes pictures of my amazing, loving friends and welcome home cards from my favorite teenager. It has images of epic sushi platters I made for catered events and berry-covered shortcakes I baked for a special someone.

A whole section is devoted to the Halloween costumes I’ve sewn from scratch over the years. I even included one of my biggest paychecks as a reminder that clients won’t hesitate to pay me well for my work.

I also wrote in my two favorite compliments:

“Jennie has the temperament of her father and the intellect of her mother,” and

“Jennie is one of the top five people I’d take a spontaneous road trip with.”

I even included several pictures of me laughing like a whacko because I’m pretty sure that’s how I’ll be remembered after I die.

Lastly, refer to your board whenever you feel self-doubt. 

Maybe you need a self-confidence boost before a big work presentation. Or maybe you’re questioning whether you have what it takes to write a novel. 

My wish for you, in your darkest hour, is that your Accomplishments Board will be just like a trusted friend who reminds you when you most need to hear it that you are lovable, talented and worth every penny. 

Red headed woman with glasses on a dark blue background next to a title that says: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome to Live Without Regret

Overcome Imposter Syndrome

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