While the origin of the vision board is unknown, we do know that people have been visualizing their desired results for thousands of years. Many ancient native peoples had a practice of visualizing a successful hunt prior to setting out with their hunting instruments. Today, everyone from eastern spiritual healers to Navy Seals use visualizing techniques to help achieve goals. In fact, according to Psychology Today, studies have shown that visualization in athletics can actually increase muscle development. In a study examining brain patterns in weightlifters, psychologists found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they simply imagined lifting weights.

Vision boards are not magic, pasting what you want on a piece of cardboard does not, by itself, create results. However, we are visual creatures and seeing our goals daily reminds us to stay focused and take steps toward achieving our goals.

If you have a business with partners, or a mate, you may want to consider creating a company vision board and/or couples vision board as a group project. My husband and I create vision boards annually and never fail to marvel at the number of items that we throw on our board, on a whim that actually come to fruition.

If you’ve never created a vision board, it’s a fairly simple process. Here is what you’ll need:

  • A large poster board
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Tape (regular or double-sided)
  • Magazines (business, fitness, decorating, travel, etc.)
  • Pictures of yourself that you can cut
  • Logos or pictures of potential partners or desired places of employment

Optional items:

  • Stickers  (places, sayings, etc.)
  • Glitter (guys bear with me)
  • Stencils

Now that you have your supplies, open your magazines and look for words, phrases and pictures that fit your 2014 goals. As you cut out these items, begin to arrange them on your board, but do not secure them with glue or tape yet. If you have body goals, or are envisioning yourself in specific places, cut out pictures of yourself and place them on others’ bodies or next to landmarks in your desired locations. For instance, every year, my vision board features a picture of me on a stage. Once you have everything arranged, begin gluing/taping your items to your board. If you’d like, add stickers and/or glitter. I highly recommend you include numerical goals on your board. Do you want a raise, or to hit a certain revenue number in your business? Place that number on your board.

Once your board is complete, place it somewhere where you’ll see it daily. At the end of the year, evaluate which items you accomplished and which need to be carried over to a new board.

Do you create annual vision boards? What suggestions do you have for first timers?

This post first appeared on Personal Branding Blog.