I love summer vacation. Love. It.
Even though it involves a 14-hour car trip, I don’t mind the travel, because it helps me feel like I’m putting actual, real distance between myself and the chores, routine and hot-hot weather of home.
My favorite things about our summer retreat include cool weather, which means I can run or bike any time of day; morning coffee on the beach; lazy afternoons on the blue lake; dinners in sweatshirts and jeans followed by ice cream or s’mores around the fire; and family games (which usually devolve into someone or everyone yelling & storming away from the table, but are later remembered only as “super fun” times we should do “more often”).
On vacation, everything is just better. The views while I run are prettier:
Food is more delicious and I make beautiful salads that look like this:
And my kids are relaxed and happy and look like this (that’s all 3 of them, actually enjoying trail hikes with us!):
But vacation always ends, and the residual effects of it don’t seem to last long. I can take my pretty beach coffee mugs and my cute beach clothes and my peaceful devotionals home with me to use, but the coffee doesn’t taste the same and the clothes are too bright and my devotionals aren’t as peaceful!
Before vacation ended, on a rainy day just before we headed home, my teens and I started talking about the upcoming school year, and what they hope and dream about… around school, sports, social activities, birthday parties, dances, etc. And I talked about hoping to get in my favorite 10k race between Arkansas football weekends. So we took an idea we’d seen online and decided to spend the rainy afternoon creating Vision Boards.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, a Vision Board is a collection of dreams and goals that you paste together and put somewhere visible – where you’ll see it often – say, your office or family room or refrigerator (or I guess for me, the laundry room, ha ha). Then, at the end of your year, you see what goals you accomplished and what’s still left to conquer.
After a few wise and motherly words to the kids about the importance of setting goals and working toward things, with the caveat that God is in control and sometimes may laugh as we plan, we started our boards. We used magazine cut-outs as our medium, pasting to poster boards.
My magazines of choice were Runner’s World, Real Simple and some regional home/travel. My girls’ magazines of choice were Teen Vogue and some fitness/sports. (Will elected not to participate in our fun – his loss).
Here’s how to create your board:
Step One: Discuss: what are your goals? What do you want to accomplish this year? How do you want to feel? What motivates you and inspires you? (Here, Catie really got into her vision and wanted to make a “life” board – so she was focused on longer-term life goals. Annie got a little overwhelmed with that, so we talked specifically about the next 6 months or so and that helped her focus.)
Step Two: From magazines, collect the pictures, phrases & words that reflect your goals and dreams. These can be really simple and specific, like “Run Half Marathon” or “Get a Dog” or more general, like “Feel Joy” – “Be a Leader” – “Grow my Business” – “Travel.”
Step Three: Place the words and pictures on your board. Make it as plain or as pretty as you want! Here’s an example of C’s in progress:
Step Four: Keep your finished board somewhere visible. Display it where you can check it at least every few weeks to remind yourself what you’re working toward; what you’ve accomplished; or where you need to get moving.
Whether you do this for yourself or with your kids, it’s a great project to: 1) keep off screens/electronics for awhile; 2) talk about your/their hopes and dreams and goals; and 3) tap into some creativity. Once we started collecting pictures and words and phrases, I learned where my girls want to travel, what careers they hope to have someday and that Catie dreams of a big shoe closet (ok, so I let her get a little off track). I also got to focus on some things I want to do, and created a little road map for myself to reach a few of the fun hobby/business goals my friends and I are starting. Research says you’re more likely to achieve goals that you write down, so this was a fun way for all of us to put some thought into where we want to go.
Good luck with your Visions!