January is often the time of year when we look ahead at the “clean” slate ahead of us. What will 2018 be like?  We start looking forward at the empty pages of our calendar- planning and dreaming. However, do you take time reflecting backwards to see how you got to this point? Do you even know? With a vision board, it is simple to see growth after a year!

Last year at this time, with others, I created a vision board with clear intentions.  A vision board’s intent is to help you visualize your hopes, dreams and intentions for your current life stage and beyond.  For me, it gave me a chance to listen to God’s whisperings in my life and put them where I could see them regularly.

Intentions

My intentions with my vision board included:

  • Getting more connected with my family and extended family
  • Continuing to grow closer in my relationship with God
  • Improving the beauty of my home and landscape around my home through DIY projects
  • Getting healthier through nutrition, exercise and a better smile
  • Growing my business through more writing, coaching, spiritual direction and retreats

The science behind a vision board is the premise of two things.  One, when you give vision and intentions to your dreams and goals, you’re more likely to accomplish them, much like an athlete visualizing themselves winning their race.  The second premise includes alerting your brain to the opportunities around you.  Your vision board helps you notice things differently, much like when you buy a new car, then begin to see that car everywhere you go.

By looking at the vision board on a regular basis, I saw myself growing into the above intentions and am grateful for the changes that have occurred this past year as I revisit my vision from a year ago.  Here are a few of my musings.

Connections

Because one intention was to get more connected with my husband and extended family, I realize many of my prayers this last year have been about those connections.  How do you, God, see those connections?  I feel I am less judgmental of my family, able to see things from their perspective better and conscious of looking for ways we might spend time together, such as watching our new granddaughter at my son’s house two Friday’s a month. I am happier to report my husband and I are closer than ever as well!  By making connections an intention, I feel I was able to be more fully present to opportunities as they presented themselves.

Another way I connected this year was in my prayer life with God.  I feel my relationship with Him has grown as I have intentionally spent more time listening.  As I look back at my journaled prayers and how I feel about our relationship now, I can see and feel the difference about noticing His presence in my life.  I am much more at peace, which was my word of the year for 2017.

Healthier

Another intention I had was to get healthier in 2017.  My teeth were getting more and more crooked as they were shifting in my mouth which was scary to me.  My weight was getting in the way of playing easily with my grandchildren. And I had recently found that chocolate and sugar increased my tendency for migraines.

What intentions could I carry out that would help me get healthier that I hadn’t already tried a million times?

Well, giving up added sugar and chocolate came first.  I now know when I eat either one of those in excess, I am choosing a headache, which I choose occasionally.  The migraine is a great deterrent though to eating those two items.

My teeth came next.  I decided I had to try to save my teeth.  My dentist said I could cap them or get braces.  The braces were a healthier alternative for my teeth, abeit more expensive initially.  I do think getting braces helped with my next goal of losing weight.

Because I had carried extra weight for so long, I wondered how to approach a lifestyle change.  I decided to count calories and record on an app, My Fitness Pal.  The freeing part for me of recording calories is that I could still eat what I wanted.  I wanted to make my eating conscious, and I already knew nutrition.

What has happened is portion control.  My goal is to have fruits and vegetables at every meal and eat less carbs and regular cheese.  Cheese was my favorite snack food and by cutting back on it, calories were significantly reduced.

After 8 months, I have lost 30 lbs.  I still marvel at achieving that.  I didn’t have a weight loss goal.  I decided I would see where my body would go to so I didn’t get in a bundle about a number on a scale.

The other piece that also helped me lose weight was doing emotional work about my past.  For me, I realized I was using food to stuff my feelings.  I had been abused in my youth and until I worked on that through letter writing, journaling and forgiving, I believe a lot of my food cravings came from stuffing my feelings.  Between that and giving up sugar, I don’t have the food cravings I’ve had in the past.  I am free!

The Take Away

What reflecting have you done from 2017?  How can you be clear on what has occurred?  The best thing about a vision board is that you can see what your intentions were and the journey that has occurred from there to here.  You can reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t.  I still have intentions not yet come to fruition.  Your brain seeks out the pictures you put into it.  Becoming more and more clear on what has worked and where you want to go for 2018 will have a big impact on your life.  Dream now on the why’s of your life and what your life might look like at this time next year.

You’ll be so glad you did.

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach.  I love creating safe spaces for you as you go through life’s transitions to discover and support your vision for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  I write about taming the overwhelm and finding ways to find life balance, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive my weekly blog or contact me to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm stress and enjoy a healthy brain .  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

Coming up is a vision board workshop that could help you set your intentions for brain healthy lifestyle.  I am offering a Create Your Healthy Dreams Vision Board Retreat, February 9th, 2018 in the Stoughton, WI area.  Check out the information here and join us for a day long retreat to set your year on the right track.  I can’t wait to work with you!

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