It’s December and 2017 is right around the corner. As people prepare for the upcoming festivities, many people reflect on this past year. We may reflect on the things we did that were good. We may even reflect on the things we did that were not so good. We may have lost friends or family or even gained new ones. We may have overcome struggles or are currently still fighting them. Either way 2016 is nearing its end and 2017 is fast approaching.
I’m one of those people who has a genuine desire to start something and finish it. However I struggle with actually completing it. Many times I get side-tracked by that next “shiny object” and leave project after project unfinished. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said I’m going to do this or that. But I end up not finishing it. It’s honestly a daily struggle for me. I truly believe that most of us have the best of intentions when we choose to begin a task even when we never end up finishing it.
As I’ve continued on with my mindfulness journey, I decided to start something new (with the full intention of completing it). I wanted to create my Life Vision Circle before the New Year began. I figured this was a good way to hopefully start something and then be held accountable for its completion. I’m putting it out there for everyone to see and hopefully encourage others to start something too.
So you’re probably wondering what is a Life Vision Circle? Well it’s basically a vision board in the shape of a circle. For those who are not familiar with the term “Vision Board”, I’ve included a basic definition of it here (Vision Board – “is a collection of images and notes attached to a board and placed somewhere that you can see it every day.”; “…at it’s core, is a visual representation of all the things that you want to do, be, and have in your life. It’s a daily reminder of those things. Something you can look at every single day to remind you of your deepest desires.” (http://christinekane.com/what-is-a-vision-board/ 12/11/2016).
I started off by dividing my Life Vision Circle into 6 different components – Health, Wealth, Family, Career/Business, Social/Hobbies, and Spirituality. However I’ve taken it one step further. I decided to make it into a puzzle. A puzzle is basically one big item all broken up into many smaller pieces. When put together it becomes one whole image. We as humans are not separated by our many parts. Only when the pieces are put together do we become whole. When one piece of our “human puzzle” is removed, lost, forgotten etc, it affects other aspects of our life. Furthermore, one component of our life can be categorized into more than one life area. For example, in July 2017 I get to marry the most wonderful man ever (I may be a little biased but he’s really that awesome!). So in the area of Family, I would be adding a picture or word that describes that aspect of my life that is changing (getting married). However my fiancé is also involved in my business (Career and Business), my goals in building a strong financial foundation (Wealth), and is also my best friend (Social/Hobbies). So this example illustrates how one simple thing can be grouped into many different areas.
The Life Vision Circle was created out of an idea I had when I was completing one of my internships for occupational therapy. My clinical was in an in-patient psychiatric unit for adolescents. Towards the end of my clinical, I was required to create a group that would incorporate skills necessary for my patients to gain independence and to be safe when they returned to the community. Back then we didn’t have Pinterest and the internet was still fairly new (this was 2003) so to come up with ideas on your own for a group was sometimes a challenge. Anyway after much thought and deliberation, I came up with the idea of a circular puzzle. Each person involved in the group was required to decorate the puzzle piece that they had been given. The general theme of the group was to decorate (on their puzzle piece) the qualities/strengths that they possessed. Then as a whole, to put the puzzle together in order to signify that all of their strengths together would become one strong unit. Once the puzzle was complete, it would be put up on display for everyone on the unit to see. I was so excited about this group and envisioned the completed work.
Now I would love to say that it was a success (in many ways it was), however it didn’t end up going exactly as planned. Although everyone completed a puzzle piece (and did a great job may I add), one particular patient did not want to give up their piece. Even though the staff explained the importance of it being a “whole puzzle”, the patient refused to give it up. So the circular puzzle was hung proudly on the wall, missing one piece. However the story does not end there. A few days later one of the other patients had a meltdown. During the meltdown, the patient ripped the puzzle off the wall and destroyed it. It was towards the end of my rotation. I have no idea how the other patients felt about their hard work being destroyed like that. In retrospect, I should have asked them. They were so proud of it and worked so hard on it. I felt awful for them. Anyway, I always thought about that group and how each of my patients worked hard to design and decorate something that they truly cared about. When I was thinking about what I wanted to work on for 2017 and incorporate mindfulness and my goals, I thought this would be an interesting and unique idea to continue this journey and display it for everyone to see.
In order to make this more user friendly to my readers, I decided to break this activity into two blogs. The first one will cover the preparation components of creating a Life Vision Circle. The next one will document the process. I will also share my own Life Vision Circle for 2017 and some final thoughts in the second blog.
To begin with, I purchased some old magazines from the library. I’ve included a picture of them here. As you can see, it’s a random bunch of magazines that I thought would have good pictures or words that would represent what I was trying to achieve. I wanted it to be cost-effective so I spent less than $2 total on magazines.
Next I found some cardboard and cut out a circle. It doesn’t have to be big. With a collage you will be pasting pictures over each other. Just make sure that you have enough pictures or words to cover it completely.
Then I sat down and thought about my goals. I didn’t want to be too specific because my goals might change as the year progresses. However I wanted a more general goal or idea to focus on. When you are at this stage you might want to be very specific and write SMART goals (Specific Measureable Achievable Relevant Time). However even coming up with something general will work (ex I will get married in July 2017). But I do encourage you to write your goals down. You can either write them on the back of your Life Vision Circle or you can write them down in a journal or notebook. Either way this will encourage you to really think about your goals and aspirations so that you can begin working towards them (and to be accountable).
So that’s it for the preparations of your Life Vision Circle. Your job now (between today and next week), is to collect some magazines and cardboard and begin to think about your goals in the following areas of your life – Health, Wealth, Family, Career/Business, Social/Hobbies, and Spirituality. If you want to include another section or two, please feel free to do so. This is your Life Vision Circle and you are free to make it your own.