Where Logic Meets Love

How Did My 2012 Vision Board Turn Out?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

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How Did My 2012 Vision Board Turn Out? | Faith Permeating Life

Happy New Year!

I am a person who likes celebrating New Year's because I like goals and I like self-reflection, and the new year tends to prompt people to do a bit of both.

In 2011, I used the new year to launch a happiness project. That was a great exercise in finding the little and big things that get in the way of, or contribute to, my happiness. At the end of the year, I wrote a project wrap-up that includes steps for creating your own happiness project.

In 2012, I opted to go in the complete opposite direction and make a vision board. I made it as the wallpaper on my laptop for the entire year so that I would see it daily.

Surprisingly, the vision board worked very well. That is, it moved me toward having more of the kind of life I wanted. Except that in some cases, it worked in ways I could not have anticipated!

As I explained in my initial post, I didn't do the vision board exactly the way you're supposed to because many of the pictures represented concrete goals I had rather than a general "feeling" about how I wanted my life to be. Here's how those goals/pictures turned out:

Clean kitchen counter: Inspired by this post from Modern Mrs. Darcy, I found a picture of a long, clean kitchen counter as a reminder of what a difference this makes visually to one's home. While I have been making an effort to keep our kitchen counter clear of stuff, this picture "came true" in a completely different way (this will become a theme, as you'll see in a moment). When we moved into our new apartment, it turned out that we had one long wall-length back counter, exactly what Mike had been wishing for when talking about our future house. We lined up all of our kitchen appliances -- blender, toaster, food processor, rice cooker, you name it -- along the back of the counter, so we no longer avoid making certain things because of not wanting to get down the heavy appliances. Win!

More sleep: Thanks to my new job's hours + commute time, I still struggle to get to bed early enough to get 9 hours of sleep, which is what I really need. However, this particular image has helped me to feel less guilty about sleeping in later on weekends and holidays. It's helped me remember that taking care of myself is equally or more important than Getting Things Done.

Art: I picked some pictures of colorful craft supplies to remind me to take time to be creative. This did lead to me taking time to put together an awesome meal plan display, but other than that I didn't do much with this. I think I need to change my focus from "be more creative" to "work with my hands more," because it's that disconnection from technology and making something physical that helps me de-stress.

This goes along with another goal, knit more, which I definitely didn't do. However, I finally came to the realization that I don't have to consider myself a "knitter" just because I know how to knit and do so occasionally. So rather than thinking of myself as a "bad knitter" who doesn't devote enough time to my projects or learning how to do new things, I'm reframing this as an awesome skill I happen to have and can whip out when it's convenient / I feel like it.

The Message: I included the cover of The Message Remix because my goal was to read through the Message version of the Gospels this year. As it turned out, I loved The Message so much that I read through all the Gospels and on to Acts and then the entire New Testament, then started over at the beginning. I'm into the book of Joshua now. Definitely a success!

Our rats: Here's another came-true-in-a-completely-different-way goal. I included in my vision board a picture of our pet rats because I wanted to make it a priority to spend more time playing with them. I felt like we were not great pet owners (keep in mind this is when Mike was working 12-hour days including weekends). As it turned out, when Mike accepted his new position, we found out we wouldn't be able to take the little guys with us, so we set about finding a new home for them. We found THE BEST home for them with a girl and her family who had been taking care of rats for 10+ years. She sent us an update about a month later about how every week she'd bring home cardboard boxes from work and construct a brand-new playhouse for them, and about all the things she'd learned about their personalities and habits. It was the best possible scenario for everyone involved.

Me and Mike: I wanted a reminder to keep a focus on our relationship. As I explained in this post, this are so much better than they were when Mike was unhappy with his job. Success!

Mailbox: One of my goals going into the new year was to stop getting so much junk mail. I used my winter break when the college where I worked was closed to call every company that sent us things we didn't want. However, weirdly, I wasn't able to find a picture of an empty mailbox for my vision board. So I settled on the next best thing, which was a mailbox full of postcards, to represent wanting to get only good mail from family and friends! Well, these postcards in the picture all happened to be identical, and they had on them the name of the place where we ended up living! Which was completely coincidental, since at the beginning of 2012 we weren't considering moving to anywhere but Seattle. So this was a double success -- we get much less junk mail, and we live in an awesome new place!

Board games: I included on my board a picture of a stack of board games since that's something I love to do and wanted to make time for this year. Again, this turned out even better than expected because we now live in a residence hall where there are always people around, so spur-of-the-moment game nights with 8-10 people are easy to arrange!

Warmth: Finally, I chose a picture of a mug of tea held by someone wearing a sweater to symbolize wanting to keep myself warm. You may remember that my previous job was in a freezing office all year round. In my new job, I get my own office complete with a space heater, plus I brought my electric blanket to work since the space heater takes a few hours to get the office warm in the morning. And no one can see my blanket behind my desk, so I don't get comments on it all the time like before. Not to mention, we now live in a warmer climate and don't have to deal with the Chicago winters anymore, which was a huge incentive for wanting to move in the first place. Hooray!

I included one concrete goal on my original post, which was to launch my job search coaching business. I did officially launch it, but I haven't done much with it. I spent several months helping Mike land a new job and then moving across country, then spent several months trying to get a new job myself, and I provided free coaching to a handful of friends during the year. Right now I'm trying to look at this as "This is something I enjoy doing, but I'm not a failure/horrible person if I don't succeed in creating a successful business around it, even if it is due to my lack of effort."

So that's how everything turned out for 2012! Next up, I'll share what I'm doing for 2013.

If you had goals for 2012, how did they turn out? Links to posts welcome!


  1. "So rather than thinking of myself as a "bad knitter" who doesn't devote enough time to my projects or learning how to do new things, I'm reframing this as an awesome skill I happen to have and can whip out when it's convenient / I feel like it." I understand what you mean! I really enjoy scrapbooking, and when I take the time to sit down and do it, I'm almost always happy with the results. But it is a time-consuming (and sometimes expensive!) hobby that I can't commit to every day or even every week. Like you said, it helps to remind yourself that it's not about being a good/bad _______ ("scrapbooker"), it's about having a skill or interest that you enjoy and can do when you want to!

    1. Exactly! I went to a Meetup group for knitters about a month ago, and the woman who organized it just couldn't get her head around the fact that I I didn't go hang out in the yarn shops downtown to knit, had never made a sweater, and all this stuff. And I'm like, "Why do you care how much I work on my knitting?" So I think some of the pressure I was putting on myself came from spending time with other knitters who are way more into it than I am. It helped to stop thinking, "I could be such a better knitter if I spent more time on it!" and start thinking, "Is knitting a priority for how I spend my limited time?" Which, no.

  2. I love this idea of a vision board! It seems like you've really made it work for you. Maybe it's something I should try, haha. But honestly, this is one of the things I admire about you. You make goals and ACTUALLY go for them. I'm terrible at trying to reach the goals I set for myself. It's something I'm going to try and work on this year.

    1. A vision board is great because all of the effort is upfront. You sit down ONCE and put it together (which I found fun to do), and then you just put it somewhere you'll see it regularly for the rest of the year. That way you have little subconscious reminders to work on the things that are important to you. I think it could also work with a Happiness Project-type approach to goals (lists, measurable steps), but if that kind of thing overwhelms you it's worth a shot to just try the vision board by itself :)


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