"The one trick that strengthened my marriage."

Do it. Now.

One evening, I sat down with Tim and a pile of glossy magazines, scissors and glue sticks. From a few hours of cutting up the magazines and pasting them onto cardboard would come a vision of what we wanted for ourselves in the coming future.

Creating vision didn’t seem to have much to do with us, a long-married couple working on our relationship. We were at the stage of marriage in which we had a list of long-standing grievances. A seemingly juvenile art project didn’t seem like a grown-up way to fix them.

It wasn’t. But creating a vision board drew out our individual aspirations and created a context in which to see each other’s dreams. And for that, it was worth feeling silly.

As we began ripping up the magazines, I worried that our visions of the future would conflict. I eyed Tim’s pile of headlines and pictures warily. I was feeling more than a little anxious that he would come up with what to me were outrageous ideas.

Onto his board, Tim pasted: “That Changed Everything,” “Bikes, Skis and More,” “Live Life To Discover,” and “You Can’t Fake Yes.”

These made sense to me, and were not far from what I’d pasted on my board. “Reinventing Mum: A New Range of Possibilities,” read one headline I created for my “Excited About 2013” board. “The Best Wildman Ever, Feel Free To Make It Better,” read another one.

How did we create closeness and vision with a glue stick and stack of magazines?

"Write down three things that would move you toward your goal and take one of them." (Image via iStock)

Instead of thinking of the year ahead as a problem to be solved, we've found we're much more likely to consider the potentials -- without getting stopped by the impossibility of what our creative brain comes up with. We notice how we feel when we see the words and pictures once they're on the board. Moving our attention in and out like focusing a camera lens allows us to see differently from our usual posture of "lasering in."

When we completed our vision boards for 2014, the phrase "This is Where it Begins" jumped off the paper at me. Just what was beginning, I wasn't sure. But six months later, we had combined vision with action steps. We answered the question we'd been tossing about -- what to do differently when our youngest child moved out of the house.

We sold our house and moved.


Creating a vision is the first step to getting what you really want. Once you've done your dreaming by ripping up the magazines and letting your creative brain reassemble the words and pictures on paper, decide if you are ready to allow your dream to become reality. It's okay if you're not ready to go all the way. Just one step toward your vision may inspire you to take another. If you've created the board with your partner, talk about what surprised you in the process. Then write down three things that would move you toward your goal and take one of them.

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post and has been republished with full permission.

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