The power of cut-and-paste: How a dream board can be more effective than New Year’s resolutions

By now, you might already have made your list of New Year’s resolutions, starting with losing all the holiday weight that you’ve put on, kicking a nasty habit (such as smoking or drinking a wee bit much), spending more time with your family, or saving instead of spending. Whatever your resolutions may be, we all know the drill–you jot them down on a piece of paper, in a journal, or on a blog, and you make a commitment to stick to them. We also know that, unless you are able to successfully form a new habit out of your resolutions (it takes 21 days to form a habit, experts say), they will be just like many of our to-do lists–listed down but not really fully accomplished.

What New Year’s resolutions lack, I’ve seen, is the power to inspire us with positive images of our desired outcome. More often than not, the resolutions that we list are just means to get to an end instead of the desired end itself. For instance, many of us want to go back to the gym, sign up for yoga, lose weight, or stop smoking because, in the end, we want to live healthier, fuller lives. Or we want to save and invest more so that we can use our money and resources on the things that really matter to us–our families, our dream home, our dream vacation, future needs, and so on. For these resolutions to be truly effective, we need to be able to visualize them and map out how they fit into our lives.

This is where dreamboarding (or vision boarding) comes in.

First, what is a dream board?

A dream board, simply put, is a collage of images that help you visualize your dreams, goals, and priorities. It is made by cutting and pasting images from magazines and photographs onto a large sketchbook or illustration board, accompanied by some sort of mental processing. (More on this later.) It can be as all-encompassing as a dream board for your life goals, as medium-term as a dream board for the next year (or three, or five), or as short-term and as specific as a dream board for school or work, or love. There are no right or wrong “answers” for dreamboarding–although there are ideal conditions and processes for it–and you can do them as often as you’d like.

How it has worked for me

My first experience with creative visioning had been with my grades in school. I was a grade-conscious student, I admit, and I used to put on my bedroom wall ideal grade reports that looked almost exactly like the grade reports that were handed out by my school, but with the grades that I wanted to get. I wasn’t unrealistic by putting straight As on my ideal grade report, but I put in there the highest possible grades that I could get considering all the “givens” for that semester–how easy or challenging the professors were, my level of interest in the subjects, the chances of really getting As, and so on. Seeing the “vision grades” every single day motivated me to do my best in each of my subjects, and I ended up with almost the exact same grades that I put on my ideal grade report.

(The downside: I started using this technique only in my senior year in college–imagine if I had started much earlier!)

After having seen the power of creative visioning in my student life, I took visioning to a higher level and soon created a “vision wall”: a HUGE collage–more like a mural, actually–of images all over my bedroom walls, which I used to motivate and inspire me as I embarked on corporate life.

It’s been roughly 13 years since I first started creative visioning and dreamboarding, and it’s something I continue to do whenever I need clarity or inspiration or simply just a positive boost. There’s nothing like seeing your goals, dreams, and priorities laid out before your very eyes to inspire you to move along the right path–YOUR own path.

Let me share some of my dream boards

This is a dream board that I made with the help of my friend Loes van Mierlo, who runs the soul coaching website Sacred Discovery. Loes was in Manila at the time, and she had gathered a group of friends for some full-moon dreamboarding. I was about to get married to my very own “Music Man” and saw this as the perfect opportunity to create a dream board about my married life.

Dreamboard #1: 2009

This is another dream board that I made–albeit electronically, with the use of Adobe Photoshop–to visualize the things that really mattered to me. I made this early in 2010, not realizing that I would soon be embarking on an European adventure, and not imagining that, in 2011, I would not only be writing for a travel magazine but would be its editor-in-chief.

Dream board #2: April 2010

Here’s another electronic one that I made in August 2011. Do you notice the recurring themes and patterns in my dream boards?

Dreamboard #3: August 2011

Join me and my “writing sisters” for a night of dreamboarding!

To start the year right, we at Writer’s Block Philippines are going to offer a three-hour Dreamboarding workshop, to help you visualize your dreams and goals and inspire you for the rest of the year. This poster below provides the basic information about the workshop, but I would also like to invite you to read our FAQs HERE. To register, fill out this online registration form.

Writer's Block Philippines - Dreamboarding workshop (January 10, 2012; Quantum Cafe, Makati)

Now, if you’re based outside of Manila and would like to get started on dreamboarding, let me know so I can send you some material that might help. I’ll be posting some more resources on dreamboarding here soon, but I hope this inspires you in the meantime.

So… are you ready for 2012? Let’s get this show on the road! 🙂


5 Comments Add yours

  1. patsy says:

    Great article! Shared it on my facebook page! I am so doing this! A wonderfully blessed new year to you and your family! Patsy from HeARTworks

    1. ninaterol says:

      Thank you for your encouraging words, Patsy, and–WOW!!!–what a BEAUTIFUL blog you have! Your works are filled with beauty, joy, and love. I would love to collaborate with you on a project one of these days. 🙂

      Have an authentic and abundant 2012!

      All the best,


  2. Didi says:

    I was inspired by reposting of your entry by Tita Patsy 🙂 I finished my 2012 Vision Board and I love it! Happy New Year Nins! More power to writer’s block! Love you girls!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s