Design your future

Whether or not you’re an artist, it can sometimes help to stop typing or writing lists and instead draw or collage.

Every few months, I pull out a notepad and draw my family.

In July 2018, I drew me, my husband and three children – as I was hoping to have one more baby (we had two at the time; I now have a third).

I then drew myself and wrote little notes about everything I’d like to achieve (including ‘happiness’ and ‘getting enough sleep’). I also wrote notes on each family member; what I hoped for them, too…

It may look like a scribbly mess (!), but it’s my way of drawing the future

I also love visionboarding. I pull out a load of old magazines (usually borrowed from a friend, as I never have any of my own) and cut out images and words that I like. I then stick them on A3 card (or I cut one side off a cardboard box or use the back of a large envelope) after laying them out in an order that looks nice. This is about creating a board that shows how I want my future to look.

Create your visionboard online

But you can also create a visionboard online, using Canva. It’s free to set up an account, and you can use a ready-made visionboard template. You simply go to canva.com and create an account, or login if you have one already.

Here’s my visionboard template, if you’d like to use it. You can add your own words and images…

I added in my images surrounding the static home I’d love to buy, books to reflect all the reading I’ll be doing there, time on the beach; swimming in the sea – and the hang drum I’d like to own.

You can select ‘upload’ to add your own images, or use Canva’s library of images by clicking ‘photos’ – some you’ll have to pay for, though.

Once you’ve completed your visionboard, download it and keep it on the desktop of your computer, or wherever you store online files (Google Drive, in your emails etc).

You might like to revisit this in the future, and see how much of it has ‘come true’.

The idea behind drawing or collaging your future is that –

1. You’re focusing on what it is that brings you joy, makes you feel good and that would make your life feel fuller, or happier.

2. You’re setting your intentions down physically, rather than just having them floating in your head – so you can refer back to them.

3. You’re exploring options.

This stuff isn’t set once you lay it on paper, but you’re giving yourself the time to think it through creatively, rather than saying over and over again in your head: what do I want to do with my life?

When you know you’re ready to make a change but you’re not sure what that change should be, it’s important to feel inspired. These exercises are designed to get you thinking, feeling excited, motivated and – most importantly – focusing just on yourself, for a change. There are no rules here; it’s just about brainstorming.

Tip 1.

If you get stuck and can’t think of what it is that makes you feel energised, it can help to go back to childhood and think about what you loved doing as a child at, say, eight years old. Was it something active, creative, solitary, involving a team? Make a note of that activity. Think about why you loved it and how it made you feel.

As adults, we’re under so much pressure to fit in; pressure from our parents, our partner, our friends, society but probably most of all: ourselves. Reflecting on what it was that gave you fire in your belly as a child can help you to ignore those expectations and to reconnect with an activity that perhaps still excites you.

Or to at least remember how it felt to allow yourself the space and freedom to engage with an activity you loved. Are you still doing that now? Do you have passions, hobbies and interests that excite you? If you’re a tired mum or a bored employee, it can be easy to let those things slip. But here, you’re giving yourself permission to think freely, with no limitations…

Tip 2.

While on the whole, comparison isn’t hugely recommended, as we’re all on our own journey, when you’re envisaging your dream future – it can help to look around you at other women: your friends, people you follow on social media. Whose work-life balance looks rather nice? Why? What are they doing? This might give you some ideas about what’s important to you.

Challenge 2: Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Just have a go at whichever option works for you: drawing yourself/ family/ friends and annotating the picture with ideas about what you’d like – particularly for yourself but for them, too, if you fancy. Or cut out pictures, gather some stuff from nature and create a visual representation of what a good life looks like for you. Or you can do a visionboard online, using Canva or Pinterest.