Envision Your Future, No Matter Where You Are in the Present

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

SparkPeople talks a lot about creating a vision collage, but envisioning the future--and how you'll look in it--is very hard for those of us who are disabled or have more than 100 pounds to lose. Why?

Sometimes people have never been thin and don’t know what to expect or they’ve become disabled and are unable to reach for the same stars they used to reach. Many people put pictures of themselves at their thinnest weight, at their peak health or of the thinnest models in their vision collages. Yet at their given age or health, they might not be able to attain that.

When you're creating a vision collage and have a long haul ahead, it is better to look to the future rather than the past. Start a progressive collage, a collage that starts with a before picture and continues with after pictures to show progress, surrounded by things you would love to have in your future healthy life.

Perhaps you dream of being able to walk on the beach again. You might cut our some footprints in the sand or glue some shells to your collage. Is there an amusement park ride you dream of going on when you reach your goal? Find a picture of it and add some confetti. Perhaps you have not seen some relatives or friends in a long while. Add their pictures to the collage with a mini calendar next to it to represent planning a vacation or for them to come visit. Find vibrantly colored pictures of the healthy foods you would like to be eating in your ideal life. Are there certain clothes you’ve desired or exercise equipment you’ve dreamed of having? Go to websites and print pictures of your new style and home gym. What about your dream job? Are there pictures in magazines or online that make you dream about becoming more?

Let’s not forget the power of words. Write poetry, use different pens, parchments, high quality papers, cut them out and arrange them. The point is to use words that make you dream and call forth pictures in your mind. You want very vivid words. Hobby stores carry scrapbooking and stamping supplies that make beautiful words and embellishments on pages. In fact, when making your vision collage, you could even do it as a scrapbook. There is always room to add more pages and fabulous choices of papers and trinkets.

When making your collage, it is important that you focus on you and your future, not your past and not a model. You want your dreams to be attainable. Use this collage to define your idea of success for you, not success for someone else. This is one thing you can make all about you and not be selfish.

Another important thing is to remember how far you’ve come, not just look at how long the journey is. Looking at how far you’ve come is like an oasis in the desert. It refreshes you and reminds you that your efforts are not futile.

If you're having trouble envisioning your future, mark your milestones with items you can keep with you as reminders. Some ideas are a charm bracelet that you could add charms to as you hit milestones. Perhaps you could buy a ring (I did this) to remind you of your promise to become healthy or a locket with before-and-after shots that can be changed as you lose weight. Some people collect coins--perhaps you could collect a new lucky coin for each milestone. There are pocket stones with words carved into them such as “Faith” and “Hope.” Perhaps one of those in your pocket would inspire you and you could get a new one with each new stepping stone you reach.

It really doesn’t matter which road you choose. What matters is that when you do your collage, you center on yourself, you dream and actively pursue that dream on paper as specifically as possible. Put all of those things together with colorful pictures and expressive words and emotions and you have your vision. Make the vision so real you can feel it and then live it.

How have you envisioned your future? What ideas do you have in mind to inspire you along your journey?

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Very good ideas, because I've gotten hung up on the whole vision collage idea on exactly those points you made, resulting in me just dropping that project out of discouragement. I can't recall many times when I actually felt like I was in a good place for my weight, energy levels, regard for myself etc. Report
I have made a couple of collages in the past and enjoyed the process. However, I have resisted doing the vision collage because it is so difficult for me to sort out what I want. Thank you for the great blog and for providing some much needed inspiration. Report
I haven't created my vision collage yet, and this blog gave me some helpful ideas for putting one together. It's important to work with reality and not an impossible, idealistic past. Thank you. Report
Your blog is definitely an inspiration. Thank you for posting and for your advice about envisioning. It is so hard for me to create a vision of my future. That doesn't mean I shouldn't try. Report
Very inspirational it helped me put things into perspective. Report
Wonderfull blog. I loved reading it and it made me think about being more specific about my goals. Thanks! Report
I like this part - "it is better to look to the future rather than the past". Sometimes, I just feel too frustrated that it seems to be an impossible mission to get back my 10-years ago figure, when I was considered the perfect hourglass by my friends (who I was actually jealous of their slender figure, hehe). But from this article, I realized, it's better to aim something different, something much, much better for the future instead of longing for get back the past glory. Report
I enjoyed your article, but I DO NOT look forward to my future. I try to forget it as much as possible. I know what is in store for me in the future and if I dwelt on it, I would not be able to live for today!! I take life one day at a time,concentrating on the day. Tomorrow is tomorrow, and if and when it comes, I will deal with it! Report
What you are suggesting is so logical! Yes, I will do exactly what you are recommending. Thank you for sharing your ideas. Report
Thanks for much for sharing your ideas. I have not been able to come up with ideas for my vision collage as described by Chris in his book, THE SPARK, but with his ideas combined with your ideas, I think I might have it! I am no longer 30 and haven't been in great health since then, so I didn't have any goal pictures. Plus I have had some health problems in the last year that have frustrated me very much. But with your ideas, I think I can come up with my own vision collage that will be an inspiration to me to lose my last 20 pounds and become as healthy as I can be! Thanks again for sharing your ideas! Report
Thanks for posting this blog....I had been having trouble with the idea of a vision collage, and had just begun to think of it along the same lines you mentioned, so this has been a sort of confirmation that I'm on the right track....I had already bought a scrapbook to begin the journey. Now that I have my camera, I'll be posting on my sparkpage what I'm doing with my scrapbook. Thanks for some great ideas. Report
Thank you so very much. There are such good ideas and I could envision what I want so much better. I had a few pictures in mind, but they were when I was thin and a teen - not practical for a 59 yo. Thank you again. Report
This message really hit home for me. My daughter and I are having a very rough time at the moment. Nothing seems to be going in our favor-everything we try to accomplish is not working. PLEASE all give out good thoughts and thanj you for this message. I think it will help. Report
Great Great Great.... so good..
Cheers Report
Excellent blog. thanks Report
Beth, Again, I find beauty and JOY in your words of wisdom. Thanks for helping me see the possibilities in my future and to realize there is MORE that I can envision. I've got some work to do. Thanks to you.

PS Also, glad to know you will be a regular blogger, I look forward to reading what you have to say. GO GIRL GO!!! Report
I have always cut out inspirational words and pictures and hung them in visible locations. Only recently did I purposely search for words and pictures and put together my vision board. Though I love it, after a few weeks, I am once again collecting words and pictures to improve on it. It might be the perfectionist in me or it might even be that my goals are already changing as I get healthier and continue to visualize. Report
I believe the cliche to change the things I can, accept the things I can't and that God gave me the wisdom to know the difference! I have created a "life" list (not a buckle list!) and have added things there of what I wanna do, not wish to do. We can't change the past however, we can be better peopel going forward because of it! Report
Thank you for this blog. I have been thinking about making a vision board, but am having trouble with the visualization part of doing it.

I am going to print out your blog, and use it to help me model my board. This was needed for me at this time.

Great blog. Report
Beth, I'm waiting for you to ever FAIL to inspire and hearten me on this journey! Your blogs are empathic and power-packed; I always look forward to them! Report
The vision collage: I am rather beauty products oriented, so there is plenty of beauty product smears and fixative on my little collage ... but mostly it's in parchment-like paper Book form. I don't know if you remember or have an idea of when The Body Shop was on some kind of African trade binge, and they'd developed these little books with diaphanous pages made out of elephant palm leaves or something. But also, your collage reminds me of one of those SARK books—it has that kind of color, power and juice to it ... !

I know those entities are brands, and life shouldn't be about Brands ... but as far as brands go, it could be much less conscious, of course ...

Kudos to you! Report
once I hit the 50lb lost mark I put my hair in dreads, something I always wanted to do. I lost 30 more lbs before I hit maintenance, but my dreads that I'm so proud of are getting long and pretty now after more than 2 years in maintenance Report
very inspirational Report
Very inspiring! I like how vividly you described each idea - it made me think about what I'd like to put in my own collage. I'm going to work on mine this weekend! Thanks Indygirl! Report
I've heard of these collages but I've never seen one...and maybe that's a good thing. Now I can make it all my own with no other influences.
Thx Indygirl. I'm going to make one. What a fun project ! ! ! Report
Wonderful. Thank you. Very inspiring. I'm going to borrow from your ideas plenty! Report
Fantastic ideas! Thanks for a great blog and reminding us all - no excuses just action for a healthier life. Report
Thank you so much for this blog! I was feeling sorry for myself for the past, when I should be looking towards the future. I never celebrate my milestones, just concentrate on the failures. Thanks again! Report
Thanks for sharing these great insights on motivational collages! You've inspired me to spend a little time tonight updating my collage. Report
I plan to get a charm bracelet or make one and collect charms to mark milestones. I think this would be a beautiful reminder of how I take care of myself. I have a set of self-affirmation magnets on my refrigerator which are designed by a local artist. Those have helped me immensely. The large magnet says "I AM" and the little ones are individual words that are placed on the larger magnet as needed. Report
You gave great points on our colleges. I did mine after a year on SP. I do not have pictures of models, but I chose to picture hand weights I want. I added how much and when I lost x amout of lbs. I have charts to show better food choices I have made and want to make. I put my college on my pantry. My pantry is my enemy. It houses chips and junk I love to enjoy with the kids. So, when I enter I see messages reminding me how far I have come and it is worth the extra 20min or so on the elliptical.

Kudos to you for you are a super motivator.

(((HUGS))) Report
good advice. I did my collage with all those things I want to again do once I get small enough to do them, which was cool, but somehow I missed instilling in my brain the belief that I will be able to in fact do them - more, I think, because of my life situation not allowing it rather than not reaching the goal. your suggestions will be good to incorporate in the 're-do'. Thanks!!! Report
I really enjoyed this blog and all the comments, it has given me a lot of inspiration. I am going to begin my own vision collage this weekend! Thanks to everyone for sharing their great ideas! I wish everyone continued success in reaching their goals. Report
Thank you for the inspirational blog. I loved the ideas you had (especially the enscribed stones) to remind us of our success. Report
Loved the reality check. Great blog! Report
Thanks for writing a very inspirational blog. It gives me encouragement to continue my journey to a healthier lifestyle. Report
Love your ideas! I belong to a TOPS group at work, and we decided as a group to buy ourselves charm bracelets from the dues we pay. We reward ourselves with a charm of our choice for every 10 pound loss, and for other special challenges we meet. I decided to get a charm with the number 10 for each of my 10 pound losses, and for the challenges I pick something different and fun. I love the idea that eventually I will have 10 of those number 10 charms dangling from my bracelet, instead of 10 times 10 pounds hanging all over my body!

Keep up the great blogs, Beth. You are amazing! Report
I'm so thankful for this blog. This blog really helped me!!! I bought a board in the beginning of 2009 to create my vision board and haven't committed to doing it. I will now begin the process and use this advice in order to create the perfect vision board for ME. I think I was unsure about where to start and what to do and now I understand better. YAY! Thank you!

Great view of the situation. Focusing on how far I have come is encouraging me to keep going, even though it is so slow. Report
I envision myself HEALTHY. Thin may not be in my future but good health WILL BE.
Thank you for the "thinking" blog.... Report
I love reading your guest blog entries Indygirl! You are SO inspirational, and SO positive! You say things is such a way that relate to me totally. Thank you for being who you are, and thank you for choosing to write about it. I'm a better person because of it. Report
I keep past present and future all on my board. Report
I love this idea! Thank you for posting it. I have a vision of what my goals are but other than nailing my "goal pants" to the wall next to my refridgerator I do not have anything inspirational/personal to look at. I think I will start a scrapbook of my goals tonight. There is a Vera Wang wedding gown I would love to be able to buy one day for one of my vow renewals (we have decided to renew our vows every year on our anniversary). Its the first magazine clipping I want to glue in. Report
I needed this blog because i am losing sooooooooo slow on 1200 calories a day @ 3-4 lbs a month. I spend @ 1 1/2 hours on the computer to do the spark and running out of articles to read and don't want to reread them ! I need to buy something i can wear to remind me to keep going i still need to lose @ 10 lbs and i don't want to gain the 15 lbs i have lost! If anyone has a suggestion stop by my page i'm desperate ! Report
Thank you so much for the great ideas. You are obviously a very creative person--treasure that! I am now inspired to do my own vision collage this weekend... Report
Great blog Beth, you always inspire me! THANK YOU! Report
Wonderful ideas and support from a loving person..Thank you!! Report
Great blog entry! Lots of inspiring ideas. Thank you! Report
IndyGirl, your blogs are always inspiring !! I'll be honest, I had a very hard time looking at pictures of myself when I was overweight. They always brought up "bad" memories. I still have a hard time seeing myself that big.

But you know, you've made it easier for me to look at those photos because now I understand that they are part of my journey to my healthier new life.

I don't know where I will be in the future. At this point, I'm wondering what I'll do next week. LOL !!! My hope for the future is that I'll be maintaining my weight loss and still working towards being as fit as I can regardless of my age.

Thanks again for an amazing blog !!

Thanks for being such an inspiration! I'm still working on a collage and come up against a brick wall - I guess there are other ways to mark milestones and I might have to go that way for a while! Report
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