Action Boards...Beyond Vision Boards
Putting stuff onto a vision board is very easy. It’s fun too. It’s almost as fun as adding things to your shopping cart online and then never going to check out…come on, admit it, you do that too!
You get the ‘thrill’ of shopping but not the pain of having to make a payment. Well, vision boards are the same. You can create these collections of wonderful, amazing scenes without having to do one-single-meaningful-action beyond cutting and pasting. And then you sit back and believe the universe will deliver it straight to your front door…
Ask anyone who knows me, I am a massive fan of the law of attraction. I tend to think of it in perhaps more psychological terms but, nonetheless, I believe at it’s core it is a lovely message of positive, mindful living. But alone, it’s not enough.
This is where action comes into it.
I think of it like this: once a cake is baked you can’t dissect it and extract the ingredients. They are no longer recognisable in their original form. The magic of baking (come on, stick with me and my analogy here) means it is now simply a cake. Some things work like this. You get given an opportunity, or meet someone who can offer you some great advice, a vital piece of equipment lands in your lap – to me these are the things of the universe or a higher power. I don’t know how or why they happened. I can’t see the flour, the eggs, the butter (see, told you I am starting to make sense now…)
BUT… then there is fruit salad. Yip, I can see the strawberries, the apples, the pineapple and so on…
Some things in life are simply about chopping the fruit and enjoying the end dish. Studying while raising kids is one of those things.
The ingredients are:
So, your vision board can have pictures of the life you hope to live after you have finished studying.
This is where you (or was that me?) can put pictures of perfectly dressed and coiffed mothers running through the park with their clean, athletic-looking children (you know, like together for fun, not chasing them to get them into the car). You can visualise an empty head and an empty to-do list. You can put a picture of a woman in stilettos receiving her degree on stage, an alphabetically organised pantry, a plate of dinner so colourful it rivals a bag of skittles (and possibly- if you really want to dream big- a kid shovelling it into his mouth) and a new car with clean seats and sticker-less windows. Oh and a massive bath that looks out on to a garden…
But don’t stop there. You need to work out how to make this happen.
By knowing what ingredients you need you are already on the way. And before I go further I just want to say: these ‘ingredients’ came out in my research too, so along with personal opinion this is based on research so-it-must-be-true
You need to create an action board.
Like vision boards, these can be as low-key or as-fancy as you like. I am a fan of paper and pencil/marker so mine would take the form of a big whiteboard with written bubbles and timetables. Others make them a bit more attractive like this one…this is from a blog ‘A Mama’s corner of the world‘ and next to it you can see the action board that matches up with this vision board.
Here are some steps to follow to create a meaningful action board.
Make it a weekly board.
This means committing yourself to writing it up each Sunday night (or whenever you can) for the week ahead. Make a habit out of it so chose a day/time and stick with it. Force yourself and before you know it, it will just be something you do. A small investment of time like this will save you time (and stress).
Set it up so you can ‘cross’ off or mark achievements.
Everyone loves striking through something on their to-do-list. It is really satisfying and motivating. Here is the action board based on the vision board I just showed you…see how you could easily cross these smaller tasks off…
Don’t dismiss doing small things towards the bigger goal.
For example, if you want to grow your nails commit to not biting them while waiting at the traffic lights (geez…I should seriously stop over-sharing here). Rather than be overwhelmed with months of journal articles to read for example, commit to reading one this week. That type of thing.
Don’t go backwards trying to fix things or catch-up.
This is about going forward. I was convinced I couldn’t get on top of my laundry problem (it is seriously my biggest down-fall in this housekeeping gig) so I just didn’t put any clothes away because I was waiting until I had everything organised. I wanted the labelled drawers, a place for everything blah blah blah and then my dearest mother gave each of my boys a box and told them to put their clothes in there. Not a divided box or a drawer box or anything like that, literally a box. She also told me to put their clothes in there. And slowly it all started to get easier…so no matter how old I am, mummy always knows best! I am slowly starting to get a place for everything but in the mean time the boys’ clothes are being put away rather than staying folded on the table or chair or being moved from the table onto the couch then back onto the chair when someone wants to sit (you can imagine, I am sure).
Probably the most obvious but hardest part of this is actually doing what is on the board. Start very simply, with things you know you are definitely going to do. Make a dummy action board with things you already do, like drive the kids to school, buy dog food…whatever it is that you do on auto-pilot each week without fail or thought. Then experience the satisfaction of getting everything done, and the next week add some of your new goals.
Another really important thing is you need to be able to see this board…if you can glance at it several times throughout the day you are more likely to follow through and ACTION those items!
Good luck, I would love to hear how you go or if you have any pictures please share them on the Facebook page!