Reality can exceed dreams - have a goal, but look beyond

I love a good vision board. In fact I use them frequently. Try it, it’s a great way to focus on your goal:


Think about the following 4 areas of your life:

- Relationships/Family/Home life

- Friendships

- Career

- Other goals eg. Travel

Also identify:

- Motivational quotes or positive statements that are meaningful to you

Represent your goals in these areas with images or photographs to inspire you.

If you are a fan of “The Secret” or “The Law of Attraction” the vision board is a technique used to express your goals to the universe. I find that a very positive idea, but I also like to hold my “psychologist” view – it gives us a focus. Through knowing what we are aiming for, we have primed our mind to focus better on achieving it.

A simple example of this is when I was house hunting. My husband and I had a series of requirements one of which was “open plan” but never having had an “open plan” home I wasn’t really sure what was on offer. I found a photo I liked and added it to my vision board. We looked at a number of homes, but one weekend a new photo came up on “Rightmove”.

That weekend we visited 3 houses, this particular one was the very top end of our budget, but it ticked every single box – we made an offer that day which was accepted (there had been two other lower offers also that day) – and you are now looking at a (much neater) version of my beautiful kitchen-dining area! Had I not known what I was looking for, I might have missed the opportunity.

Of course it’s not “exactly” the same

The outcomes as you achieve your goals may not be “exactly” as you imagined them, and of course you are perfectly able to change your goals as your desires change (or perhaps as you achieve) – but that leads me to a positive statement I use on my board “Reality can exceed dreams”.

This serves as a reminder to not be limited by my own imagination.

Things may yet occur that you would never have dreamed of. Sadly too of course - while I might have been able to imagine illness and loss, I would not have seriously contemplated a 2020 global pandemic.

But, similarly, when it comes to goals, know that somethings can also be even better.

Ask “would your younger self like you as a role model” rather than “would your younger self be happy with where you are today?”

Your younger self - no matter how nurtured or supported - will have set out their goals (perhaps like you are right now) within the context of what you know (or knew then).

While we can expect technological advances or societal changes, we cannot always predict exactly what will happen – therefore some flexibility is always in order. While I might have believed I would write a book, I would not necessarily have predicted I would be supporting clients with embedding mindfulness into architectural master planning.

As someone who instigates a lot of projects, sometimes my teams feel the “completion blues” sometimes before the task has come to an end (particularly if they have been enjoying it.) I always remind them that everything we do shapes us, and while this may be fun now, the next thing you do – which could even spring board off this – may be even more exciting. Never limit yourself to your current context.

Your vision board will offer you a framework for the areas you wish to develop, and of course it will help motivate you to work towards those goals; but keep your mind alert for other opportunities in those areas too.

Life is dynamic, and therefore so are your dreams.

Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author. Learn more at or follow her on Twitter/IG @draudreyt. Her Online TV Show “The Wellness League” offers easy to follow resilience-based interventions for building inner strength and confidence.

©2019 by Resilient Health: Wellness before the point of crisis.