Back in December, leading up to the start of the New Year, I made all kinds of resolutions of what I wanted to accomplish in the New Year. I based my upcoming year off of “The Happiness Project” by Gretchin Rubin. If you’re familiar with this book, Gretchin, essentially creates a theme for each month of her entire year and creates goals centered around that theme. For example, in January, she focused on boosting her energy and working on goals like going to sleep earlier and working out more. Like Gretchin in the book, I wrote in depth goals, separated out by each month of the year. I was determined that 2020 was going to be my best year yet.
But then February 9th happened, the day that changed my life forever. So early into the year I was determined would be my best year, it had quickly turned into my worst with my mother’s murder and my father’s suicide. I spent the next several months depressed and anxious. I had been incredibly naïve when I wrote those unrealistic resolutions.
And while the year is nearly half over, and I know I cannot look back at those goals and resolutions without thinking back to that time before that horrible February night, I can still focus on my goals and the things I want to accomplish in a way that doesn’t feel so overwhelming to me.
So I decided to create a “vision board.” If you’re on Pinterest or Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen this trend. A cork board filled with cute sayings, photos, and all other manner of things that are supposed to represent your hopes and dreams. I feel like influencers often use these perfect looking boards that make it hard not to compare ourselves to them, that make it hard to even know where to begin on creating something that will look equally as Instagrammable.
And while I thought about creating the cute and perfect little cork board, I ultimately decided not to go that route for a multitude of reasons. One, I felt that it would be time consuming and messy to gather all the materials and try to create the physical board. Two, I really wanted it to be in a place that I saw every day, multiple times a day, and there really isn’t a place that fits that description. The closest place would be my office at work, but I am still not there every day of the week. And three, from a sustainability perspective, there are a lot of materials going into the process of making this board that is good for a year of maybe two before you want to redo it and update your goals and the things you want to focus on.
Because of all of this, I decided to create a digital vision board and put it somewhere I knew I would see every day, multiple times a day: my phone. In this day and age, we all seem to be connected constantly to our phone, and I liked the idea of whenever I go to get on my phone to potentially do some mindless scrolling, the vision board on my wallpaper will (hopefully) remind me that there are other things I could be working towards.
I first started out this exercise by just making a list of things that are important to me right now, and things I really want to focus in on in the coming months. Some of the things that made the list were, buying a house, focusing on self-care more, healthy living, getting outside more/walking and/or biking, and then things that I have already been focusing on but what to make sure continue to be a priority in my life like choosing happiness, family, my husband, writing, the Earth and sustainability also made the list (among other things). I think it was helpful to start on with a list like this first, just to get everything on paper, before trying to get something to visually represent things that I wasn’t even sure what they were yet.
Once I had my list, I used Canva, a free online software that already had the dimensions for a mobile wallpaper loaded into their system, to create the virtual vision board. They even had a free background that looked like a cork board, which I thought was perfect for this project. I used some pictures I already had on my phone, like photos of my niece and nephews, and one of Ron and I, one of me with my container garden, etc. to represent some things, and I also used some of Canva’s free photos as well that are essentially just stock images. I added some text of things like “Choose Happiness,” “Love Always,” “Family,” etc. that was harder to represent in photos, and then I just arranged everything in a way I thought looked fairly nice. Once I was done, I simply downloaded the file as a JPEG, sent it to my phone, and set it as my wallpaper.
Now, whenever I am about to get on my phone to mindlessly waste time, I have a reminder that there are better ways I can be spending my times, ways that align more with the things that I tell myself I want to focus on. I can be reminded when I am around my niece or nephews to set a good example, particularly by not being on my phone constantly. And if I am having a particularly bad day, I have a nice reminder to choose happiness.