Want to create something that you can take anywhere to keep your goals and intentions in front of you this year? Here’s how to create a customizable digital vision board quickly and easily using Canva.

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It seems that there are two types of people: Those who find manifesting and vision boards eye-rollingly absurd and those who swear by them. As someone whose Myers-Briggs is off-the-charts logical (yet who still has a soft spot for magic when it comes along) I think there’s room for both the sensible and the marvelous when it comes to life and to business.

Whether you just feel the need for a little bit of extra hope this year or you’re looking for a way to make manifesting more effective, a vision board may be just what you need. Plus, putting it together in Canva makes it easier and more convenient than ever before.

Why create a vision board in the first place?

You may think a vision board is a little bit silly — some of that “Power-of-Positive-Thinking-The-Secret” voodoo that people do when they’re just starting out and don’t have anything more concrete to spend their time on. After all, you’re a real estate agent and you’ve got clients and marketing plans and actual stuff going on, right?

As it turns out, there’s science behind visualization and manifestation. The difference-maker? What you put on your vision board. If you just put a bunch of pictures of pretty houses and fancy cars, your brain will relax, according to researchers, thinking that you’ve achieved your goals. 

If, however, you put your mind and focus toward how you’ll achieve those goals — good daily habits, for example, or the number of transactions you’ll need to make your financial dreams a reality — your visualization is more effective. Studies have found this to be true for everything from academic achievement to golf swings to dieting. Focus on the how, not the end goal, to get results.

With that said, your vision board can have some of the fun bells and whistles, but it should lean heavily on the strategies you plan to initiate. What about that training you’ve been planning so that you can increase your marketability? How about daily meditation so that you’re more focused and less reactive in stressful situations? Make sure you’ve got concrete goals in mind as you put together your vision for the future.

Why create a digital vision board?

You may be used to a physical vision board, and those certainly have their fans. There’s something fun about sitting down with glue and magazines and physically pasting photos and words to your vision board. There’s also the ability to layer your thoughts together, write some elements, add some puffy paint, and create a board that’s an expression of both your intention and your creativity.

If, however, you don’t have time for that, or if the process feels a little more like a chore than a treat — if, for example, you’re not very crafty and you don’t really enjoy that hands-on approach — a digital vision board can be a fun alternative. You still get to play around with plenty of pictures, colors, fonts and effects and the best part? There’s no cleanup afterward.

For this example, I’ve used Canva, because it’s a platform that I use frequently and that I enjoy. However, you can certainly use something different. Consider arranging photos in a Powerpoint or Google Slides presentation or create a private Pinterest board. Want to increase accountability? Make your Pinterest board public or share it with a few trusted friends and colleagues.

Another reason to make a digital vision board is its adaptability. Here are some ideas for putting your vision board to work:

  • Make it the screensaver for your phone or computer. 
  • Post it in your personal Slack channel or send it to yourself in Gmail and schedule a reminder so that it pops up on a regular basis when there are action items you need to address. 
  • Create a team-wide or brokerage-wide Slack channel where everyone shares their vision boards and create accountability partnerships based on shared goals.
  • If you use Trello, make your vision board the graphic cover for those cards that are related to elements you’re working toward.
  • Share your digital vision board with your mentor, coach or other accountability partners so that you can collaborate on concrete, actionable strategies to ensure success.

Simple how-to for creating a Canva vision board

Canva provides a number of plug-and-play vision board templates. Grab one of these or, if you’d prefer to design your own layout, do the following:

  1. Choose your layout and determine whether you want your vision board to be oriented vertically, horizontally, as a rectangle, circle or a square. If you plan to look at it mostly on your phone, you might want a vertical layout; if you want it for your computer screensaver, you might want a horizontal layout.
  2. Go to the Elements tab and click on “Grids.” Look for one that’s visually appealing and offers you plenty of spots for adding photos and text.
  3. Once you’ve got a layout you like, drag and drop photos and illustrations from the photo tab. If you’re using the free version of Canva and can’t find a photo you like, look for photos online or at Unsplash or Pixabay. They’re just for you, so as long as you’re not publishing them anywhere you don’t need to worry about royalties and copyright.
  4. Make sure that the photos reflect not just goals, but processes. Don’t just show stacks of money; show how you’ll make that money, perhaps by showing the number of sales you’re aiming for next year. If you know what class you want to take or what certification you want to pursue, add that to your training goal. If you know where you want to go on vacation, or where you’d like to stay, include those details.
  5. Wherever you like, add text in your favorite fonts — a word or two of inspiration to better define your goals and intentions. You can drag text and lay it on top of the photo, then adjust the color and size as needed.

Remember, this is an exercise, it’s not something to judge yourself over or get hung up on. Make it something that’s useful and something that’s enjoyable. Don’t worry about perfection. Just let the process guide you.

We all have hopes and dreams for the future and this time of year we’re inclined to feel filled with what might be called “wishful thinking” by the vaguely cynical. A vision board isn’t meant to be magic and it isn’t meant to take the place of work. What it can do, however, is help you bring those vague wishes into the realm of reality so that you can set out to make them happen.

Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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