Make this Year Yours by Andrea Thomas

Illustration by Sonia Chintha

A year ago, when I was working at a small insurance company, my work bestie invited me to a vision board party.

We were having lunch together in her office when my eye caught a picture on her screensaver of her holding up what looked like a sign. She explained to me that she had made a vision board for the first time and that she planned to do it again by hosting a vision board party at the start of the next year.

“It helps you stay on track. Almost everything on my friends’ boards came true.”

“Seriously?” I asked.  She told me a few stories about new relationships and career choices of some of her friends but I still had doubts. When it came time to attend the party, I was excited because A) I attend anything that my work bestie hosts and B) My interest in vision boarding was certainly piqued.

Deep down though, I had some reservations. I had to admit to myself what I wanted out of the coming year and share these intimate details with near strangers! Did I believe in this manifesting stuff? Was I going to take this seriously in front of everyone else?

The party was held in my friend’s chic and warm townhome. We made our way downstairs to her cozy “girl cave” furnished with an L-shaped couch and plenty of floor space on the carpet to spread out. As we picked through magazines and cut out pictures and words we wanted to use, people started to share what they were looking for.

I didn’t come to the party with a concrete idea like some of the others did. As I was flipping through a magazine, I saw a lot of headings that focused on lifestyle and health. I decided to use those as inspiration. I made a corner of my board focused on working harder, moving up and studying. I found a nice stack of books and an arrow to add to that corner. I made another corner focused on my marriage and celebrating our 10th year together from the time we first started dating. It was becoming easier to pair title headings in bright and bold fonts with images I wanted to use to depict each goal. I found a heading about getting outdoors and walking. I had just done two squat challenges the previous year and wanted to find more ways to get moving and to lose some excess weight.

My favorite image that went on the board was a monochromatic world map that I cut out and added a hand-drawn route to. My family had been talking about making a trip to Sri Lanka to visit a family member whose health was declining. It had been challenging finding a good time of year for everyone to take off of work and coordinating the details. I had already informed my family I wouldn’t be going. I didn’t think we could afford it and I also didn’t know if my future job (I was job-hunting) would be okay with me taking off the necessary two weeks. The obstacles were fears that I was letting make the decision for me but deep down I knew I hadn’t done any work yet to remove the obstacles. My dad really wanted us to make this trip together as a family and it had been so long since I had been to that part of the world. I decided to be bold and put it on the center of my board. If it was possible to find a way to go, maybe it would happen. I kept my board in a place that I walked by everyday.

Over time, I gained a sense of pride when I could see the goal I had set out for myself in January and visualize it already becoming a reality in real life. It was a satisfying feeling. Even if I wasn’t sure what would unfold during the remainder of the year, visualizing what I had planned for myself reminded me to keep my goals, big or small, at the forefront.

Within two months, the first goal was accomplished. I had a new job lined up right after I left the old one that paid a little better. I was already enrolled in a class I had wanted to take and was managing the workload great with a full time job. During the initial interviews for my job, they asked if I had any travel plans and I went ahead and told them I had an upcoming family trip and they were okay with it since it was “already planned”. Well I hadn’t bought the tickets and I still hadn’t let my family know I wanted to go with them. I talked it over with my family and we came up with which expenses would be shared and which expenses would be individual. It turns out that my dad really wanted us to go and was planning on forking over some of the flight costs for all of my siblings. This is something not every parent would do for their four very capable adult children but it meant that I could go! This was my favorite goal I had set my heart on and the trip was unforgettable.

Doesn’t achieving a goal require working hard towards something you want? Does cutting out someone else’s torso from last summer’s InStyle really help you achieve your body goals? It doesn’t seem like it but then why are so many people into manifesting and positive energy and the law of attraction? What is this sorcery?

Let me tell you: Have you ever half-assed something in life and in the end felt pretty damn amazed at the outcome? My former self was a queen of half-assing all things in life. I have no idea how this has worked in my favor in so many ways. If you used to be or currently are a half-asser, somewhere along the line you’ve discovered that half-assing only works half of the time. Usually you’re so psyched it worked at all, that you forget about the times that you miserably failed.

So think of this—what if you whole-assed more in your life? Forget about the meaningless obligations that serve other people. What about that little compass needle in your soul that flickers when you see someone’s travel posts to your dream destination? How long are you going to tell yourself that you’re going to save a little extra every month and go there for your next milestone birthday? What about that master’s program you’ve been putting off applying to because work is too hectic. Put it on your board so it’s staring at you every day…and start the process a little at a time. This paves the way for them to become a reality.

I won’t pretend that I am an expert on the law of attraction. However, I believe there is something to it from personal experience and the experiences of my friends. Be careful what goes on your board—it’s powerful stuff!

Here are my tips for creating your own vision board for 2018.

  1. Be fearless. Feeling afraid to put something down because it might not come true is not a reason to leave it off your board. Nobody is going to check your board at the end of the year and laugh in your face that you tried to achieve something and it didn’t happen.
  2. Avoid overwhelming your board with too much. I would recommend 5 or 6 goals. Make it a point to hand pick images and words that will inspire you and give you direction. You’ll find that some of the goals are interrelated. For example, finding a way to increase your income will bring you closer to buying your starter home. Baby step goals are equally as important.
  3. Don’t give yourself a timeline. Maybe there’s something you want that will take a little longer than a year. Put it down because you might need it there to get things in motion for the next year.
  4. Be prepared for change. This may be hard to digest but friends, family and relationships could often be holding you back in more than one way. You don’t owe it to someone to achieve something that will please them or bring them satisfaction. Guess what? People who want to steer your life for their own purposes will never be satisfied. When you focus your goals on your desires, you will begin to feel a strong ownership of your identity.

Whatever it is that you may believe in, whether it is a higher power, energy, the universe…there’s no harm in some positive thinking and believing in yourself. Nothing can work against you as much as your own fear and self-doubt. So go for it and start planning for the year. This year can be yours!


image1 (1)Andrea Thomas lives in Silver Spring, MD with her husband of five years. She has been writing for fun since she could hold a pencil and believes it is one of the most powerful creative outlets for young people to develop. She also believes in empowering others to share their voice. She is signed with a model agency called “We Speak” which strives to represent healthy and unique models in the industry. You can find her at


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