Norton: What you see is what you get; create visual reminders of your goals (column) |

Norton: What you see is what you get; create visual reminders of your goals (column)

Michael Norton
Valley Voices

I was talking with a husband and wife a few years ago. They were from Kansas and for years came to Colorado every winter for a ski vacation. As they drove in on Interstate 70 heading west, they would always stop as soon as they saw the Colorado Rockies in the distance.

They would pull over on the side of the road and stare at the mountains, they would visualize themselves living in those mountains one day, and they would take a picture and keep that picture on their refrigerator at home as a constant reminder of their goal.

They shared with me that 10 years ago, that dream became a reality, as they moved to Colorado full time.

There has been so much written about the power of visualization and so many shared and great success stories of people who have used visual techniques to not only meet their goals and objectives but, in many cases, they have far exceeded even their own expectations.

So how do we use and harness the power of visualization to set and achieve goals? Well, the very first step in goal setting is to define our goals. Not just keeping them in our head, but actually investing the time to write them down. Whether we do this using technology or on a pad of paper or in a planner, we are creating our first set of something visual that will not only be captured on paper or in our technology; we are taking the first step toward imprinting it in our minds as we review our lists.

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One of my favorite things to participate in is a vision boarding session, either in a group setting as a participant or as a facilitator or simply at home as we plan out our goals and dreams. I am sure many of you are at least aware of this technique, and many of you have already probably created your vision board for 2018. If not, it is a fun and extremely valuable exercise.

A vision board, or even a vision wall, is created by using graphic images of our goals and dreams: the things we want to achieve, acquire, be, do or have in life and then, pinning or attaching those pictures and images to our board or wall. In some cases, as we build family vision boards, they will include images or pictures of what our children hope to do or become, or maybe where they want to go to college.

I have seen some great vision boards in my life, and I am thoroughly impressed when I speak with someone about his or her vision board and ask about the “why” behind each picture or image. Sailboats, Hawaiian sunsets, a map of Italy, an image of a bed and breakfast sign from people who wanted to buy an inn, a trail map of Vail, Beaver Creek or other ski areas, a picture of a university campus, a postcard of an African safari, a graduation cap and gown, a second home, the logo of a company they want to work for one day or a customer that they want to sell to and even images of some kind of currency and, in some cases, actual dollar bills tacked to the wall.

These can be so much fun to put together but, more importantly, a powerful and very visual reminder of what we are doing, why we are doing it and where we want to go in this life. If you have never built one, then send me an email and I am happy to talk you through it.

In addition to a vision board, here is another visual idea that may help you. I find that it really helps me. I keep a notebook with me at all times. For me, I can write faster than I type, and when I am speaking with others, it is just more personal to be taking notes in this way than trying to capture notes on any of my devices. I also write out my to-do list each day so that I have it right in front of me as a visual aid to keep me on task. Last year, I started writing words at the top of each page in my notebook as I created my to-do list. It serves as a constant and consistent reminder of things I am working on in my life.

I write down five things at the top of the page: 1. Seek God first 2. Say “no” so that I can say “yes.” 3. Stop trading time for money. 4. No “FOMO,” which means “stop living with a fear of missing out.” 5. Practice patience. Maybe you will have five, maybe only two or three or maybe just one. And certainly, you will have your own words and attributes that you are working on in your personal life. And of course, feel free to use any of the ones I have listed here for myself or ask me the “why” behind each attribute I have chosen.

Are you a visual person? Does it help for you to be able to see where you would like to go and what you would like to be, do or have in this life? Or do you have other ways or tools that you use to keep you on track while you pursue your dreams and goals? Either way, I would love to hear from you at, and when we realize that what we see is what we get, it really will be a better-than-good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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