The #1 Goal Setting Tool for Achieving Your Financial Dreams

by Shawanda Greene

Digital Vision Board

The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision. ~ Helen Keller

Very few of us set financial goals for financial goal setting’s sake. Who’d willingly give up cable, vacations, and wine, of the non-boxed variety, for no particular reason? Presumably, we’re working towards something – a predefined end.

One of the main reasons people abandon their goals is due to loss of motivation. We experience a minor setback and lose focus of why we embarked on a get out of debt or start a business or stay at home with babies or [fill in personal goal here] plan in the first place.

Why You Should Create a Digital Vision Board

Put simply, to inspire you to stay motivated. A vision board is a visual depiction of your dreams and goals.

Back in the day, people completed the painstaking task of thumbing thru numerous magazines for inspirational photos. There was cutting and pasting and cardboard. It was an entire production really.

Well that’s over now. Welcome to the 2000teensies.

An electronic visual board is portable, free, as well as, easy to create and update. Vision board software is unnecessary. All you need to do is select your images and insert them into Microsoft PowerPoint (if you already have it) or Google Presentations which works almost just as well.

Basic Guidelines for Your Vision Board

Only include your visions. Randomly select any three vision boards and you’ll likely find three things: an itty-bitty sports car, clear Caribbean waters, and an enormous house. While you’re creating your vision board don’t even look at any one else’s. Sometimes other people’s aspirations remind us of the things we should want. As awesome as it’d be to eradicate AIDS in Africa, I have no desire to do so. I don’t feel called to do such a thing, and I’m not gonna clutter my vision with stuff that makes me feel guilty.

Do not forget this. Any goal that isn’t at the forefront of your mind is unimportant.

Make the pictures large enough so you can see them. Isn’t that the point of this whole exercise anyway? You need to be able to see your vision. You can’t do that when your images are microscopic. If you can’t visualize yourself stepping into each photo on your vision board, then the pictures are too small. Make ‘em bigger.

Be realistic. If you can’t imagine living in a 40,000 square foot house while penniless and unemployed, then don’t put that monstrosity on your vision board. You can and should update it as you achieve your goals. But, like goals, your vision board must reflect the attainable. Otherwise, you’ll feel overwhelmed and quit.

Don’t spend a dime on images. If your vision board can’t be completed with photos you’ve taken, fill in the blanks with photos from the web. You’re not distributing or publishing it, so don’t limit yourself to creative commons images. Find the image you want to pilfer, right click, save image as, and BAM! Instant free photo.

Use photos that appeal to the senses. Perfectly manicured pictures won’t evoke the carnal reactions we’re aiming for. For instance, let’s say you actually do want to leave Fargo, North Dakota for the pristine beaches of San Diego, California. A photo of your toes in the sand is more likely to arouse an emotional response than a picture of some lawns chairs and an umbrella in the sand.

  • You need to taste the fresh nutmeg in that rum punch.
  • You need to feel the cool conditioned air on your skin when you enter your trendy, Manhattan loft on a hot summer night.
  • You need to hear your children laughing and giggling while they play in your backyard.

Got it?

Don’t exclude the things you have now. If you really like wine and cheese, go ahead and put it on your vision board. As your situation changes (for the better), you’ll be able to do more of what you already enjoy.

Your vision board doesn’t have to be perfect. This isn’t a school project. Your creativity will earn you no gold stars. So, git ‘er done and start looking at ‘er.

Top Sources of Free Images

EveryStockPhoto – A massive collection of over 7,000,000 photos. Premium Fotolia images are set inconspicuously off to the side, so they don’t get in the way of the sweet free stuff we’re looking for.

morgueFile – No registration required to download photos, AND you gotta love ‘em for keeping their “premium” images from contaminating their free ones.

Stock.Xchng – There’s an extensive collection of free photos – almost 400,000. Try to steer clear of all the iStockPhoto sponsored, nonfree ones. They’re everywhere!

Stock Vault – A smaller collection of over 20,000 images. Stock Vault is a bit easier to use in that you don’t have to register for an account to download images…yet. Similar to Stock.Xchng, the site is cluttered with photos from Dreamtime that aren’t free. Boooo! Hissss!

Google Images – It’s Google. For images. That’s it.

A vision board is just one piece of the puzzle in realizing your dreams. Your next step – ACTION.

What tools or tricks do you use to stay motivated?

This post was featured in the Saving Money in Crazy Ways – Carnival of Personal Finance #297 over at Money Smart Life.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa @ Cents To Save February 18, 2011 at 5:48 AM

This is a great idea! I am going to work on it this weekend!


Harry @ GoalsOnTrack February 24, 2011 at 11:46 PM

Great post.

Having goals, epseically set in SMART(specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) is a great way to really make them happen.


bed October 19, 2015 at 2:25 AM

Hey there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it
and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this website.
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