A bright, happy vision board with a mirror in the center.

Goals and Dreams Can Still Exist with Rheumatoid Arthritis: My Experience with Creating a Vision Board

I have been battling rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for 17-plus years now. When I was younger, I was a dreamer and a goal setter. Then in my 20s, my RA was diagnosed and "officially" entered into my life.

It felt like, one by one, I saw my dreams, hopes, and goals being destroyed or taken from me. RA began to take over every area of my life. I didn’t even feel like me anymore, let alone the ability to dream and have goals.

New traditions heading into the New Year

After many years of counseling, formulating a stellar support system, starting to write on a more consistent basis, prayer, and expanding my relationship with the Lord, I realized that I was so much more than a diagnosis.

As I was heading into this past holiday season, I wanted to create a new tradition, one that I could do every year around the holidays and take well into the New Year with me. I went online and started to research some potential ideas.

I then was inspired by a Walt Disney quote: "If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it." That quote inspired me to create a vision board.

What is a vision board?

An article in Psychology Today describes a vision board as "a collage of images that represent goals and dreams. It can include cut-out pictures from magazines and words that help inspire you to manifest your dreams and get you where you want to go..."1

Setting goals and dreaming again with RA

After much researching, I began to realize that creating a vision board was much more than gluing words and pictures onto a page. It was the physical act of visually placing inspirational words and pictures into 1 set area.

These images and words all captured what my current life goals and aspirations are. That board is then a visual representation of where I would like my life to go.

The vision board is not just to be hung, and then walk away. It continues to be an active process daily. A reminder to my brain that the objects and phrases on the board are important to me, a declaration that - despite illness and life circumstances - my thoughts can still help shape the direction of how I live my life, no matter what.

5 steps I took to create my vision board

1. Take time to create goals. For me this was the most important part of my vision board. I really took the time to narrow down and write down very specific goals that I wanted to achieve in the next 1 to 5 years.

2. Search for inspiration pieces. I searched through magazines and the internet for words and pictures that evoked joy and visually represented my goals/ and motivation for my life heading into the new year. I personally choose to keep my board simple and relatively smaller in size. However, you can make your board as large or as small as you want.

3. Pick out the vision board. I used a 12 by 16 inch white, magnetic board. I glued magnets to my pictures and words. However, you could use any size of paper, cardboard, or corkboard.

4. Arrange the items on the board. I then arranged my visual goals and inspirational words onto my board. I played around with the arrangement of items first. Then adhered them to my board.

On my vision board, I placed a mini mirror in the center. It was important for me to remind myself that I was a continued, important part of my board - that the strength and mindset to achieve my goals and dreams was in the reflection I see of myself.

5. Display the vision board. I hung it on the wall in my bedroom, a spot where I could see it every day when I wake up in the morning and every night before I go to sleep. It serves as a reminder - no matter what is going on in my life - to always keep my eyes on my goals, have a positive mindset, and dream daily.

Go out there and start dreaming

My challenge to you all is to set goals and dream again. I don’t know how things will turn out in the future. However, creating a vision board got me to sit down and organize my goals and dreams again for the first time in a very long time. I hope that creating a vision board resonates with 1 person out there reading this.

Just a reminder that no matter what our life circumstances are, we all have the opportunity and the right to have dreams and goals. So go out there and start dreaming, setting goals, and living your best lives.

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