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Call them goals posters, vision boards or visualizations of your dreams. Whatever you label it, the purpose of the exercise is to create a visual representation of what you want to achieve in life. Whether you're creating one to get ahead at work or you're doing it as an activity with family or friends, you'll be most successful by starting with attainable, manageable goals.
SMART Goal Setting
Business and academic professionals use the "SMART" acronym to set goals that are meaningful and elicit results. Before you start your poster, make a list of goals that are specific, manageable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. The first tenet is "specific." Instead of saying you want to "move up in the company," say "get promoted to X position." The goals should also be something you can realistically achieve with your skills and training. You should also name a specific date by which you'll achieve the goal. Some people create a goals poster at the start of every year to set their intentions for the year.
Gather magazines, photos, puffy stickers or whatever other materials you might use to create a collage. Pore through the magazines for images that represent your goals. For example, if you're aiming to buy a home, you might look for images that represent your dream house. If you're aiming for a raise, look for images of money or dollar signs. Also look for images from the Internet that you can print and cut out. Sometimes, however, visuals aren't enough to represent all of your goals. Use online quote sites to search for quotes that relate to optimism, happiness, health, affluence or whatever else you may be seeking.
Assembling the Poster
On a large poster board, glue your images and then add key words or quotes with colorful markers. Some people also opt to break the poster into sections, such as "Work," "Relationships," and "Health," for example, and separate their goals by section, notes Mary Kay senior sales director Betsy Richard. However you structure your poster, the point of the exercise is to aim for the "wow" of what you can make of yourself, stressed entrepreneur Amy Rees Anderson in an article in Forbes. To that end, you might also add glitter, or even write exclamations like "You can do it!" to inspire yourself.
Put It Where You Can See It
With your goals poster created, the final step is to actually use the poster to your benefit. Don't hide away in a closet or a desk drawer. Put it where you -- and your friends, family or colleagues -- can see it, recommends New York-based Perks Consulting. That way, you'll be continually reminded of your goals, and your friends and family will be able to remind you as well. Not only that, but talking about your goals with others can help you sort out what actions need to be taken to actually turn those goals into reality.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.