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Career Coach: Picture Your Dreams

Since January is such a great time to set your goals for the year, the Career Coach, Pamela Thompson, lets us know how to create a visual representation of them.

January is a great time to make goals for the year. The few of us who actually write down their goals are likely to file them away in a drawer and never look at them again. An alternative to this is to create a dream board, which is a bold, visual representation of your goals and whats important to you. Hang your dream board in a spot where you will see it every day and it will remind you of your prioritiespersonal, professional, artistic, altruisticand inspire you to achieve them.

To make a dream board you will need: poster board, old magazines, photographs, markers, scissors, glue sticks, and any other materials that you might want to use such as stickers, fabrics, doilies and fancy papers (available at scrapbook supply services).

Get Started

Cut out images or text that evokes a feeling or that will inspire you. The ideas can be concrete or abstract—whatever motivates you and gets you excited.

Examples of images: A family on a tropical beach to represent a dream vacation; or a runner crossing a finish line to represent finishing a long-term project. Examples of text: Just do it to overcome procrastination; Nothing Down, a real estate headline could represent a goal of keeping a positive attitude.

You may also want to use personal photos, drawings or clip art. After you have collected enough material that will visually represent what you want, arrange the images and text on your poster board.

A dream board example: Lance Thompson created this dream board in 2001.

Layout is totally up to you. Put the most important items in the center, top left or wherever it suits you best to keep you focused on whats important. Experiment with the placement of images and size of text. Play with both large and small images, giant headlines and tiny type to see what works for you. The only requirement is that the dream board motivates you. Feel free to personalize the poster board with stickers, drawings or other material that will help convey whats important to you. Once you have finished the layout to your satisfaction, glue everything in place on the poster board. Frame the dream board and hang it where you will see it every day.

Its fun to work on dream boards with a group of friends, so you might invite others over for a dream board party. Its a good way to exchange ideas, motivate each other and get to know each other better. And theres no better networking exercise than sharing your goals.

Your dream board gives you a visual focus for your efforts. Its a graphic reminder that you can look at every day to keep yourself on track and your eyes on the prize.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career coach and recruiter who helps clients to achieve their dreams in their personal and professional lives.