Vision boards are a collage of images and phrases that represent your goals, dreams, and attitudes; they help you manifest your aspirations by physically placing your thoughts into the world. Although few studies have measured their effectiveness, experts suggest that creating a vision board can help you reach your goals.

For nurses, a vision board might represent the care you provide or the patients who have left a lasting impact on your career and practice. You can use them to envision your dreams in clinical practice, advanced education, research, and advocacy and health policy, or even personal goals outside of your career, such as travel, health and fitness, or home purchases and renovations. Its therapeutic craft also provides an outlet for creativity and relaxation, improving your well-being.

What the Research Tells Us

Vision boards can help you definitively envision your positive future, improve emotions, increase optimism, and successfully achieve your goals. Even just the process of making a vision board and collecting its components has potential benefits for well-being and success.

They work because seeing is believing. Mental imagery affects cognitive processes such as motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory, which correlate to enhanced motivation, increased confidence and self-efficacy, and improved motor performance.

How to Practice

To create your own vision board, begin by exploring your values and beliefs. Think about what motivates you in your nursing practice and day-to-day life. Ask yourself:

  • What really matters to me?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • Who do I want to help?
  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • What are my goals, and why do I have those goals?

Once you’ve determined the direction for your board, gather your materials:

  • Paper or poster board
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Pencils, pens, or markers
  • Materials to use on your board, such as your favorite quotes, decorative items, and images from:
    • Magazines
    • Newspapers
    • Online printouts
    • Your own photos

Now attach those inspirational quotes or phrases, specific images and photos, and anything else you feel deserves a spot on your vision board in an arrangement that has meaning to you. Remember that your vision board is not just about the individual photos and quotes—it is all about the bigger picture.

Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it regularly, like by your front door, at your desk, or a place that you frequent often in your work setting. Think about the goals you’d still like to reach as well as the goals you’ve already surpassed. Reflect on your vision board daily, and follow it with making a to-do list that helps you turn your vision into reality.