The term vision board is the darling of the self-improvement arena. This often prompts questions regarding their true worth or if they are just another fad. Let’s try to unravel the true worth of vision boards and understand their psychological principles and effectiveness.

Understanding Vision Boards

A vision board serves as a visual representation of an individual’s aspirations and goals. It consists of a collage of images, words, and phrases that align with the user’s desired outcome. The idea is that by surrounding yourself with these visuals, you can get in the right mindset to manifest these goals. This visual representation of your goals and seeing them every day keeps them at the forefront of your mind.

Visualizing goals is a psychological technique widely known for enhancing performance. Looking at their goals and visualizing themselves meeting their goals is a tactic used by athletes around the world. By visualizing you are reprogramming your subconscious mind. Seeing goals in or mind or on your vision board actually increases recall by 65%.

A study by Forbes found that 67% of those surveyed believed that visualizing their goals first gave them a greater chance of achieving them. By doing so, you’re engaging your subconscious mind which doesn’t differentiate between what’s real and what’s imagined.

Another important thing happens when you start looking at and visualizing your goals each day. It activates your brain to start looking for similar things. It’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, or frequency illusion. It’s a cognitive bias wherein a person encounters a concept or object for the first time, and thereafter, begins to notice it everywhere. This phenomenon often leads to the perception that the thing in question has suddenly become more prevalent when, in reality, it is merely the individual’s heightened awareness.

You’ve probably had this happen to you when you started looking for cars. When you decide to buy a specific car, all of a sudden, you spot that particular card in driveways, on the road, and even in parking lots. It’s not that they weren’t there before. It’s just that your brain isn’t feeding you that information because it can’t feed you all the information it processes each day. But once you decide on what you want, then it starts giving it to you all the time.

The same works for vision boards. Once a goal goes up on your board, your brain wants to try to help you meet it. You start seeing or hearing things connected to your goal. Opportunities appear out of seemingly nowhere. But, in many cases, the opportunities were already there. It’s just a matter of whether you noticed them or not. It’s the Baader Meinhof Phenomenon at work. Your heightened awareness of your goals serves as a reinforcing mechanism, further fueling their belief in the power of the vision board.

Goal Boards vs Vision Boards

It is worth noting that the term “vision board” doesn’t resonate with everyone. For some, it conjures associations with transient fads and new-age concepts. As a result, there is a growing preference for alternative terms, such as Goal Boards or Action Boards. These individuals argue that it places a more explicit emphasis on tangible objectives and the actionable steps required to achieve them.

But no matter what you call it, creating a visual representation of your goals will help drive opportunities for you to meet them. In the end, the effectiveness of vision boards isn’t set in stone. It depends on a bunch of factors like how clear your goals are, whether you take action, and how much you believe in the power of your vision board. It’s not a magic solution, but it can be a great motivational tool to help you get your head in the game.