How to create a vision board and what to do with it.

Me and my vision board(s)

I read too much self-help books growing up (I read self-help books of Canfield & Carnegie since high school—maybe that explains why I grow up like this!). And it was from those books that I absorbed the ideas of vision board and the power of thoughts.

I created my first vision board in my first year in college. I did it on an A4 page that I inserted into a clear envelope inside my ring binder.

It was pretty straightforward and there was nothing aesthetic about it: basically, I just cut out some pictures from old magazines—pictures that represent the things I want in life. At the time, these are pictures of handsome guys, lovey-dovey romantic scenes, and branded goods (plenty of them in the magazine’s ads!). I scribbled some affirmations on top of it with a gel pen. Something along the lines of ‘You’re Beautiful’ or ‘Guys Like You!’.

I guess you could see where my priority lies back then.

What is a vision board?

A Wikipedia entry describes a vision board as:

“A collage of images, pictures, and affirmations of your dreams, goals, and things that make you happy. It can also be called a dream board, treasure map, or vision map. Creating a vision board can be a useful tool to help you conceptualize your goals and can serve as a source of motivation as you work towards achieving your dreams.

After my college days, I kept on creating vision boards, at least once every 1-2 year(s). I no longer made it in my ring binder, though. Sometimes I made a spread of my vision board inside my journal. Other times I created my vision board as a desktop wallpaper so I can see it every time I open my laptop. And about 10 years ago I bought a writing board in a bookstore: half of it is a cork board and the other half is a whiteboard. I used it to create my vision board ever since.

To me, apart from trying to figure out what kind of life I want for myself, making a vision board is simply a fun activity—especially when I am stuck at home with nothing better to do. It’s a bit like daydreaming (or hallucinating), but this time you could actually see what you’ve been daydreaming about right there, on the board (or paper, or whatever medium you choose).

Collecting words, images, and pictures for your vision board.

Because I have stopped hoarding magazines, these days I go to the Internet to find pictures and images for my vision board. My favorite go-to places are Unsplash, Storyblocks, and Pinterest. However, when it comes to selecting words, pictures, or images, there is one thing I learned from my previous mistakes in creating vision board(s).

Previously, I was very literal when it comes to my vision boards. If I wanted to lose weight, I would find a picture of a girl with a fit and well-toned body. If I wanted to be in a relationship, I would find a picture of a happy couple. If I wanted a house, I tried to find a picture of a beautiful house. If I wanted more money? Exactly. I would find a picture of a huge pile of money.

I did this for quite some time only to realize that I usually lost my interest in my vision board after 2-3 weeks (which means I would take down my vision board from the wall and hide it behind my cupboard). Somehow, seeing those things on my vision board weighed me down with the realization that I do not have them. Every time I looked at my vision board, I felt a bit stressed out, as if I was forced to work hard to make them a reality; or else I would end up a failure.

So, here’s how I created my vision board today: instead of focusing on finding the images of the things I want, I am focusing on finding pictures, quotes, or images that stir a happy and comfortable feeling inside of me. That’s it. No more images of a bunch of branded goods, a pile of money, or a first-class cabin–if seeing them don’t make me feel happy or comfortable.

The same goes for finding a quote. If my heart melts when I read the quote, the quote ends up on my vision board.

I realized that this is the approach that works best for me: to concentrate on feelings instead of things.

I want to be able to look at my vision board and feel happy instead of stressed out from thinking about how I would get all those things I didn’t have. I want to look at my vision board and be reminded of the feeling I have always wanted to feel in life: happy, content, peaceful, creative, free, loving, safe.

A vision board works best for me when it focuses on feelings instead of things.

If you think you’re someone like me, you might want to try this approach for your vision board. However, if you think you’re more motivated, driven, and inspired when you know you’re chasing things instead of feelings, by all means, create your vision board that way!

The bottom line is to create the vision board you’ll love, that will make you feel happy and inspired after seeing it instead of stressed out and demotivated. Find out which type of person you are, and create a vision board that will serve you best!

Using your vision board.

After finding all the pictures, images, and words or quotes I want to use on my vision board, I usually print them all (I use usual photocopy paper) and then cut them out. Then, I will try to find the best layout for the cut-outs to be displayed on the board. I mostly use washi tapes and cardboard pins to do this (instead of glues or double-sided tape). I want to make sure that I can reuse the board again the following year.

Once I’m done with my vision board, I display it in a spot where I can see it often, on a daily basis. If I find some particular pictures or quotes that annoy me somehow, I take them down or replace them with something else.

I like to see my vision board as a living organism that grows with my state of mind and my state of being. So, I allow myself to change things here and there when I feel the urge to do so. Plus, the idea of having this vision board is to lift up my mood! So, I want to make sure that I like what I see and can feel an instant boost of happiness just by looking at it.

Keeping a vision journal as a company.

Whenever I feel inspired (usually on a relaxing Sunday evening), I will pick an image or a quote from my vision board, look at it, and write down whatever goes through my mind about that particular image or quote. It helps me to access the feeling each picture or quote evoke in me and clarify what the image/words actually represents.

Here are some questions I use to help me when I’m journaling about my vision board:

  1. Why does this particular image/quote feel good to me?
  2. What does this image/quote remind me of?
  3. What does this image/quote represent in my life?
  4. What can I do, daily, to recreate the feeling this image/quote evoke in me?
  5. What would my days look like if I have experienced everything that is represented by this image/quote?
  6. How would I be a different person if I have experienced everything that is represented by this image/quote?
  7. How would my outlook on life change if I have experienced everything that is represented by this image/quote?

To me, answering those questions help to gain clarity on the kind of life I aspire to have and the kind of person I’d like to be. It feels easier because I don’t have to start writing from nothing: I have a picture I want to write about and some questions related to the picture! Now, all I need to do is answer those questions honestly.

I actually find this journaling activity relaxing. It really helps me to bring something abstract into a more concrete pen-on-paper kind of thing. Whenever I reread the journal, I was reminded again of the feelings I want to invite into my life.

It serves as a compass that keeps on pointing to the North whenever I feel like I’m disoriented or about to get lost.

Creating a vision board together.

Creating a vision board doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. If you like, you can also work on a shared vision board with a group of friends, with your spouse, or even with your colleagues.

When I was still working full-time, I created a ‘professional’ vision board together with everyone else from my division. The end result was our division’s vision board, representing everyone’s professional wishes and dreams. Once we completed the board, we took turns to point out the images or quotes we’ve pasted. Each person told everyone else what their images/quotes represent; both for the division and for his/her professional development.

It was a really interesting exercise because it stirred a fun and relaxed conversations about things that are not usually talked about! Professionally, we’re usually talking about what we want (promotion, opportunities, flexible office hours, payrise) instead of why we want them. Discussing the images and quotes in the vision board by answering some of the journaling questions listed above can really help us to understand others better: to know what’s important for them and find out what really moves or motivates them in life.

So, feel free to work on your vision board as a group or a pair!

Anyway, I’ll be very happy to hear your stories about creating a vision board or keeping a vision journal. Let me know if you’ve tried this and what kind of vision board works best for you!

Until then,

Hanny Kusumawati

DIY for Bookworms: Make A Dangling Bookmark

DIY Dangling Bookmark: For A Leisurely Weekend at Home

Hi, Lovelies!

If you’re thinking of spending a leisurely weekend at home reading books, I hope you’ll love this easy DIY dangling bookmark project as much as I do!

A few days ago, I was binge-watching some YouTube videos from Traveler’s Notebook community and ended up in Ali Brown‘s channel—where she made a tutorial on making dangling bookmarks for her journals.

After creating mine (which I loved), I realized that this can actually be a great bookmark not only for my journal, but also for the books I’m reading! I’m the kind of person who reads multiple books at a time, so a bookmark always comes in handy.

However, regular bookmarks frustrate me because: 1) they slip and fall easily from the book inside my bag; 2) slipping the bookmarks in and out when I travel caused me to misplace the bookmarks or end up losing them; and 3) sometimes when I finished reading a book, I accidentally left a bookmark between the pages, and couldn’t find this bookmark until one day I reread the book again and voila—my ‘missing’ bookmark was there!

I realized that dangling bookmarks solve those problems: 1) they don’t slip and fall easily; 2) I don’t have to slip the bookmark in and out because I can just read the book while the bookmark is dangling right there, looking pretty; and 3) because the bookmark is dangling from the page, I would definitely notice it and take it out before storing the finished book—no more ‘missing’ bookmark hidden between the pages of a long-forgotten book!

So, I decided to create several dangling bookmarks for the books I’m reading this month (will add the list down below). They are so easy to make, and I even make some as gifts for my fellow bookworms!

Dangling Bookmark: Tools + Supplies + How-to

Basically, you only need:

  • a  string (this is the one I use; I love it because the knot is very tight and it has been treated with wax)
  • some charms, beads, or broken accessories you can upcycle
  • a pair of scissors

That’s it!

So, basically, what you need to do is measure the length of your bookmark. Sure, there are different sizes of books; but usually, I only make two different lengths: for the paperback size and the hardcover size. These are the two sizes of books I mostly read anyway.

Just measure the length so you can have the desired dangling effect once the bookmark is slipped between the pages.

After that, add some charms or beads to the end of each string, and tie a loose knot. Insert the dangling bookmark between your book’s pages and adjust the length when necessary. When you’re happy, tighten the knot. And just like that, you have your dangling bookmark.

Now, you can slip the string between the first page of the book and the page you’re currently reading. Bring the string close to the binding of your book, and it will rest there nicely while you’re reading; and it won’t bother you at all.

Dangling Bookmark: Use What You Have!

I didn’t buy the charms on my dangling bookmarks. Most of them came from broken accessories that I liked so much, but because they were broken, I couldn’t wear them anymore. I kept them in my drawer thinking that one day I would fix them, but of course, it never happened.

So, I’m happy that they can get a second life!

This bird bookmark, for instance, came from a broken earring I got years ago. Some others came from broken bracelets and from my mother’s beads collection.

So, why don’t you check your drawer and see what kind of charms or beads you can use to make your own dangling bookmark? (If you don’t have any, you can also get some charms from here.)

Let me know if you tried to make a dangling bookmark this weekend! Feel free to share some pictures of your dangling bookmark and tag me if you like!

I assure you that you’ll have a pleasant weekend making your own dangling bookmark, and read your book while the bookmark is dangling pretty between the pages!

Hanny Kusumawati

 

 

 

The books I’m currently reading:

  • After Midnight by Rainbow Rowell (just finished it today!)
  • Balik Kampung 
  • Lotus by Lijia Zhang
  • Kebaya Tales by Lee Su Kim
  • Sales Mind: 48 Tools to Help You Sell by Helen Kensett
  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (reread)
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (reread)
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  • A Journey Through the Heart of A Pig by Johnny Lloyd (reread)
You might have noticed some links to Tokopedia e-commerce site in this post, but this is NOT a sponsored post. Personally, I love using the site to get my craft supplies for a bargain, so maybe you want to check it out.

Journaling 101: How to Start Journaling Your Life

Hello, there.

If you are following me on Instagram, you might have known that this year, I’ve been picking up a lot of creative projects in my spare time. Or maybe, I have really positioned my creative life on the top of my priority list. I started to pick up some of the things I have abandoned before, including painting, crafting, creating art, and journaling. Interestingly, these are the things I have always enjoyed doing when I was little.

ON JOURNALING IN A PHYSICAL NOTEBOOK

I have filled in several journals (from cover to cover, around 15 books all in all) in my life, especially during my teenage years. I always believed that writing keeps me sane, and journaling helps me navigating my chaotic life during many of my coming-of-age episodes.

When blogging came into the picture, I started using it as a platform for me to post my chaotic thoughts, building what might later turn out to be a ‘digital journal’. However, I have to admit that I miss the act of journaling on a physical notebook: seeing the way my handwriting changes, seeing the tear-stained pages, or festive fonts on celebratory days. There are certain emotions that digital platform—like blogs, or even Facebook Memories—could not evoke in me; the way a physical journal could.

These days, when I flipped some of my teenage journals, I could also remember those happy days of going to a stationery store with my mother to pick a new book. I could still feel the giddy feeling, the excitement, and the confusion of having to make decisions upon seeing those beautiful books and diaries. In the end, I could only pick one—the one that ended up coming home with me: becoming the source of my anger, sadness, happiness, and frustrations.

This month, I picked up journaling again, diligently. I got myself a Midori Traveler’s Notebook that I had been eyeing for more than 3 years now (always postpone yourself from buying things immediately; this is how you know if you really want something!); and started writing. I also have my daily bullet journal on the side (a cheap notebook I bought at Miniso), but the Traveler’s Notebook soon becomes my mood-lifter journal (the one you see in this post, where I collect things that can lift up my mood) and my travel journal (because those pictures and mementos got lost in the digital world).

I also started journaling while scrapbooking and making collages; then learning how to press flowers to be pasted on my mood-lifter journal. It feels so good to finish a spread and re-reading my life as I flipped through the pages.

Do you think you’d like to start a habit of journaling as well?

JOURNALING 101: SO YOU WANT TO START JOURNALING?

If you’re thinking of starting a journal or documenting your life in a creative way, here are some tips I have for you:

1. Start with a thin + cheap journal/notebook, and fill it in from cover to cover.

Don’t make a mistake of investing too much before picking up a new hobby. Try it out first. Who knows, maybe you don’t like it, maybe it’s not for you, maybe you lose interest quickly. If you want to start journaling, just pick up a notebook you already have (you can redecorate the cover and the pages) or get a cheap and thin notebook (around 48 pages).

Once you have this book, fill it in from cover to cover with anything: words, quotes, pictures, thoughts, candy wrappers… anything. But, finish the book. It may take you one day, one week, or one year. It doesn’t matter. The goal is to finish it. If you can fill it in from cover to cover, it’s a sign that you’re in for the journaling journey.

Only then, allow yourself to get a new journal you’ve been in love with.

2. Start with anything but a bullet/daily journal.

Keeping a bullet/daily journal can be a daunting task because you feel as if you need to write on it every single day (actually, you don’t have to—but I’ll talk about my own bullet journal style another day).

The original system, however, works beautifully when we are committed to logging in our notes on a daily basis. For me, the downside was the feeling of ‘failure’ when I missed a few days—leaving a gaping hole in my bullet journal. Somehow, there is a feeling of ‘ruining it’ and the feeling can linger for quite some time, making me feel somehow demotivated.

Or maybe that’s just me.

But if you’re also the kind of person who would feel that way, don’t start with a bullet/daily journal. Try to keep a journal that you can fill in whenever you feel inspired; something that won’t burden you with daily commitment.

I would suggest turning your 48-page journal/book into:

  • A gratitude journal. Where you list down all the things that make you feel grateful. You can also paste gift wrappers from a gift you received, pictures of your friends and families, as well as writing down happy events/moments in your life.
  • A mood-lifter journal. Where you can collect things that lift up your mood, like your favorite songs, quotes from a book you love, pictures that evoke a happy feeling inside of you, a letter from a lover, pictures from your last traveling journeys… anything. The idea is to have a collection of things that will make you smile when you see it again in years to come.
  • A dream journal. Where you can dream and design your ideal life. What would you be like? What would you do? Who are you with? Where would you be? How would you feel? It’s amusing to play this game and start filling the journal with your vision of an ‘ideal life’. Don’t forget to include every aspect of your life: family and friends, career and study, spirituality, health, and many more. Isn’t it nice to flip the pages of this journal every morning, to remind you of where you’re heading in life?
  • A learning journal. Where you can write down the lessons you’ve learned in life. These lessons can be an experience you’ve been through, an advice from someone you respect, a quote that speaks to you from a book, a movie with a certain message that is relevant to your situation, or simply new things you learned from the Internet.
  • A letter journal. Where you can write unsent letters to different people in your life. If you tend to avoid confrontations and like to repress your feelings, writing an unsent letter is a great way to channel your feelings and say the things you wish you could say. Or, you could also write a letter to a singer you like, a movie star you adore, a random guy you’ve seen at a coffee shop, a great-great-great grandmother you’ve never known. Let your imagination go wild.

Surely, the ideas are endless. But you got the point. Start a journal that doesn’t need your daily commitment, yet. At least, not until you’re ready to commit. The goal is, again, to fill in your book from cover to cover! The feeling of completion is a great feeling that will get your confidence-level up when you want to take up daily journaling later on.

3. Find a friend or a community.

Picking up journaling as a (potential) hobby doesn’t have to be a lonely feat. You can find some friends who love journaling and organize a Journaling Day-out where you compete to fill in your 48-page journal as fast as you can. Or find some videos on YouTube to get your dose of inspiration; and follow people who journal—just like you. Being surrounded by people who share the same interests with you (even online) can make you feel motivated and inspired.

START WITH WHATEVER FEELS NICE TO YOU

Fill in that 48-page journal however you like it. Don’t think too much. Take it as a personal project, as a practicing canvas. You don’t need to show it to anyone. Treat it as your experimental journal, to see how you’re approaching the art of journaling.

Get yourself used to making mistakes. Don’t worry about smeared pages, crumpled edges, blotted ink… remember, your task is only to fill in your journal from cover to cover. Just let yourself loose, and be honest. Pour your thoughts and feelings on the pages. The more you journal and make mistakes, strangely, you will gain more confidence. The more you hate the spread or the pages you’re working on, the more you’ll know what you like.

One day, there will be a time when you’re working on a spread in your journal and love it. Maybe it’s not perfect, but you feel like: this is it. And that’s usually the day when you know that you’re ready to take journaling as a new hobby.

Until then, your life is a story.
Write it down.

Hanny Kusumawati

 

 

PS: I am conducting a reader’s survey on this blog here. If you have time, would you kindly help me to fill it in? I need to hear from you! :*