Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, MS, MPH, CSAT, LMFT #88196

Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, LMFT

You deserve a beautiful life

Sex, intimacy, and relationship therapy

Creating a Shared Vision

Am I the only person who made collages of things I loved as a child? Surely some of you readers can relate to cutting pictures out of magazines of your dream boyfriends, careers and phrases like "Just do it" and "Maybe she's born with it." Those glue-stick assembled creations of our youth are worth taking a second look at now as adults. I am referring to creating what is called a "Vision Board." It may sound cheesy but bear with me. This tool can change your life from chaotic and messy to clear and hopeful. How? By actually putting down on paper what you are choosing your life to be about. Many things are out of our control, but much of what we do and how we choose to live is intentional. Life is a collection of many, many choices. Identify the choices you need to make and you can make your dreams come true.

A Vision Board is a map of what you'd like to be doing in 5 years, coupled with the steps you need to take to get there. It is created by drawing a circle on a piece of paper and filling the background with all of your wishes, hopes and dreams for where you would like to be in 2021 (if you did one today, in 2016). Inside the circle, list at least 5 things you can do today or this week or month, to get you one step closer to those long-term goals. Seem easy? Here are a few examples with larger and smaller first steps to get your started:

1. Goal: Have a baby- Track your ovulation monthly and read as much as you can on a fertility diet and lifestyle (Seem overwhelming? Instead start with a trip to the doctor to get checked out this month and start taking prenatal vitamins.)
2. Goal: Be a successful writer- Work on your craft 1 hour a day and read 1 book a week on how to start a writing career. (Too overwhelming? Try blogging one a week and see if you even still enjoy writing before you devote too much time to it.)
3. Goal: Buy a house- Save 20% of every paycheck towards a down payment. (Too much? Try not buying coffee daily and put that money in a "house jar." Even small steps count towards your goal.)

I learned this tool from a recent IITAP conference I attended in Arizona and used it to create a vision of what I'd like my life to look like in 5 years. It was amazing to see a visual representation of what I want my life to be about someday. It really pointed out what's currently missing in my life now. Yet what I realized is that I want to do a vision board with my partner as well. After all, those in long-term serious relationships don't live in isolation. They are part of a team, a unit. Nearly all their decisions are made with someone (or more than one) person in mind. Creating a list of your dreams together using pictures (not words) on the outside of the circle with easy baby steps in the inside is empowering and can help you both to feel more connected. You're working together towards a common goal, not simply living parallel lives. I even had a coworker who put sticky notes in the inside of his vision board (inside the circle) so that after he accomplished those tasks, he could create new ones. Genius! Your Vision Board can be an ever-evolving thing. Perhaps you could even hang it on your wall for daily inspiration.

So next date night or lazy Sunday afternoon, instead of ordering Thai and watching yet another Redbox on the couch, create a vision board separately and maybe also together. It may not instantly grant you the life of your dreams, but it does put out into the universe the things you want to accomplish with your life. What are your priorities? What do you want to spend more time on? What things are you putting off for later?

It's one thing to dream, it's quite another to consciously make steps toward your goals. Be a little bit creative and whip out the scissors, old magazines and Crayola. Ask yourself, what is my vision for my (and our) life? And what can I do today to make that future a reality?