Dream boards may sound like new age hocus pocus, but there’s actually some science behind the vision board idea.  The brain likes images, and new research shows it can process pictures at lighting speed.

Dream boards work because we’re visual. We often have a running list of goals, hopes and dreams stuck inside our brains.   The dream board theory: put a picture to it. A picture really is worth 1,000 words.

Science has determined that visualization, or in this case, real life pictures, help to train our brains to envision life in a certain way. Seeing an image over and over encourages us to act in a way that is consistent to that image. Businesses, athletes and leaders often use imagery techniques to reach their life goals. How do you reach yours?

Try these tips:

  • Create a Top Ten

Quickly write down ten things that you want to happen in your life.  Now, narrow your list down to three.  Start flipping through magazines and cutting and pasting images that reflect your dreams onto paper or a poster board. Or, search for images online, then, print or create a digital dream board. Some people have their dream board as their screen saver, or phone lock screen, ensuring their visions stay front and center.  Pinterest is popular for a reason!

  • Focus on Feelings

Focus on how you want to feel: fulfilled, energetic, peaceful, creative, for example, as opposed to things you want: a new car, new shoes, a vacation.  While material things certainly have a place on a dream board, focusing first on feelings will give an authentic glimpse of the life you want.  Include pictures, quotes or imagery that match the feeling you want out of life.

  • Look and Absorb

Actually look at your dream board.  Have it in a prominent but private place that allows you to look at the board and absorb the visual message.  Consider updating or creating a new dream board annually.  This will help you check in and reevaluate your life goals.

  • Stay Positive

A dream board is meant to be a positive motivational tool.  In no way should it diminish your self worth.  A picture of a photo shopped unrealistic bikini body has no place here.  A quote about living a healthy life style and having a strong body does.

The most important visual is to picture yourself realizing your dreams. Put a picture of yourself in the middle of your goals and dream on!