Neat & Clean in 2016
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Do you ever wake up, look around you, and have no idea how you got to where you are in this very moment?
The other day I sat up and realized that yes, Carolyn, you decided to get married to a Partner at an accounting firm with a crazy work schedule who likes to buy fixer uppers. And live in them. You got pregnant, you started this crazy music project with your little sister and yes that little baby is now a toddler and he needs your full attention. Right now. And for the next 16 years of his life. And no, you didn’t plan that extra rough pregnancy that had you laid out for weeks and forced you to quit your job. And no, you didn’t ask for your child to be sick for 3 months straight last winter causing a gnarly bout of seasonal depression (or was it seasonal?). But for the most part, this is the life you chose.
I know this intellectually. The frustrating part is that lately, on most days, I feel like everything is happening to me— swirling around me-- and I’m barely staying above water. And there are many selfish habits I’ve developed, messy rooms that need cleaning, leftover emotions I’ve been avoiding that keep bubbling to the surface and gosh New Years is such a beautiful time because you feel like you get a fresh start. Whew.
For a few years now my sisters and mother have been creating vision boards for themselves. Apparently Ryan Seacrest is to credit for this idea—the Eldest Sister heard him on her daily commute. They take clippings of magazine images that inspire them to dream big for the next year, paste them on a poster board and hang it where they will see it all year. The idea is that by choosing to envision it, you will it into existence.
Now, to be clear, they are not sitting around pasting giant money signs and pictures of mansions and thinking they're going to win the lottery. They are pasting words and images that describe goals and dreams—peaceful relationships, finally starting that knitting project, a dream vacation… and not letting the laundry pile up to the point of no return.
Surprisingly, there is some science to back up this whole vision board thing. We know thanks to renown Harvard psychologist and professor Dr. Robert Rosenthal that what we expect of others directly affects their outcome. In a famous study, he gave teachers a list of students in their classroom who were “gifted” at the beginning of the year. The students were actually just chosen at random from the roster. At the end of the year, the so-called “gifted” students scored at the top of their classes. Ahead of their peers.
The question then is, does the same principle apply to expectations of ourselves? Does putting our hopes and dreams on a tangible board actually help bring those things to fruition? Sort of… if our intentions are, “strong enough for action to occur.” In other words— having a vision board is less about what might happen to you, but more about what you want to learn, do, see, and experience. By making the board, you set your intentions and springboard yourself into action.
Back to drowning in the sea of life… I decided to make a vision board because I was desperate for change. I gathered up my stack of magazines and sat down to envision my new year with a fresh perspective and a true focus for improvement.
If you’d like to make one, I tell you happily that there are no rules. No right or wrong way to go about it.
I began with my phrase/word of the year “neat and clean” because I know that the thing holding me back from accomplishing more in both personal and professional life is organization. I also know that I need to clean out my emotional closets (cue Eminem). Then, I started cutting random images from magazines that I liked. I slowly organized them by life area—relationships, music, gardening, health, home, etc. My mom started with a focus word and a list of things she knew she wanted in 2016—to travel, to walk/exercise daily, etc. Then she searched for images to match her list. We pasted them on a poster board and they’re hanging in our respective rooms.
So, dream as wild as your heart will let you. But here's the real challenge for us all: get rid of any beliefs that say you can’t accomplish it.
Happy Vision Boarding!