Your Daily Dose of Inspiration

I’m not a goal setter. Perhaps it’s my allergy to accountability. If you never set goals you can’t fail to meet them. But, if you’ve been following along with this latest blog reboot you know that I have set a goal for 2021: complete 40 challenges this year. Tell a few kind souls, like the ones who read this blog and now you have built in accountability, as well. What better way to accomplish my goal, and maybe a few more, than to Make an Inspiration Board?

I knew immediately who I wanted to talk to about this challenge. Inspiration. Goal-setting. Accountability. Mona! Mona and I have been friends for a long time. Fellow Marine Corps spouses, we’ve shared deployments, duty stations and even a trip to Tokyo! When I tackled my 5K challenge, Mona was my coach and my cheerleader. As a runner–a serious athlete–who has run 40 marathons, 2 ultra-marathons, triathlons, Mona makes taking care of her body, mind and spirit a priority. I reached out to Mona, who graciously agreed to video chat with me from her home in Okinawa, Japan!

Lucky for me, this wasn’t Mona’s first inspiration or vision board, in fact she usually makes one every year. Although she didn’t make one in 2020 and that seems like a solid choice now. Mona has even made vision boards with her much beloved nieces. Having not made one myself, I was unsure how to start. Mona divides her boards into the four areas that she focuses on in her life: Health/Business/Charitable Giving/Family. Made complete sense to me, so I decided I would use the same idea to give my board some structure.

The book says that you should keep the board somewhere you can see it, as a daily reminder of what you are working toward. Mona is a believer in the power of the vision board and usually keeps her board by her desk. Her husband, Nick, put a dog in the family section of the vision board and it wasn’t long before they had a dog! Sit down, because that’s not all. Not only did they get their sweet boy, Gus, but one day as Mona looked up from her work and saw Gus in their yard, she glanced to the vision board near her window and realized that the dog on the vision board looked just like Gus! Every year she adds a yellow house on the beach, and now she has her yellow house on the beach. But, be careful what you envision because it’s 6,000 miles away from the family she loves so much in Texas.

Nick, Mona and Gus

So, I was ready! I dug out our overflowing magazine basket and realized a couple of things:

  • your visual options are only as broad as the magazines you have to cut from
  • it would be harder for kids today because there aren’t as many print magazines
  • pictures in library journals aren’t very fun
  • Lee’s magazines are all about coffee and pizza which are both inspiring to me but I didn’t defile them with my scissors
  • we had magazines in our baskets all the way back to 2018 which would have been cleaned out by now if we had moved last summer

I spent some time on my couch, watching Grow, Cook, Eat on Amazon, flipping through magazines, and trying to both look for things that fit my predefined goals/categories and staying open to images that just appealed to me. Maybe a day or two later, I hauled my yield up to the kitchen island and started the serious business of placement.

It was more enjoyable than I expected. I thought I had decided on four categories but once I looked at my final product, I realized it was, well, kind of, ungoverned. In reality it’s probably three, with BE HEALTHIER an overarching category encompassing both food and exercise, and a lot of random other bits. In the upper left corner I focussed on food and healthy eating. Bottom left is an area that I think was supposed to represent my home or family life, with a couple of pictures of appealing houses, growing plants, and a cat.

Sidebar: We haven’t had a family cat since our Katrina died in 2013. We’ve rented houses since that time and it’s just easier to not have a cat when you are asking someone to let you borrow the most expensive investment in their life and you already have two dogs as part of the package. But…that hasn’t stopped me from yearning (begging?) to get another one. And so I’m wishing it into being with my imagination board.

The lower right corner covers my desire to move more. (BE HEALTHIER: Part 2) I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it. Being outdoors. I’d like to hike more, bike more, be outside more. I’ve thrown in a couple of bird pics and a bear or two. Don’t necessarily want to see bears in the wild, and one is a panda, so if I do see that one in the wild, I’m either in China or things have gone way wrong. I am currently obsessed with the baby panda at the National Zoo so that’s probably how he snuck in.

Upper right is dedicated to creativity. Many of the images just appeal to me but others, like the picture of the camera or the printmaking image are things I’d like to learn or get better at this year. I like text; meaning words, fonts and letters, so I incorporated some of that, too.

I did worry a bit as I glue-sticked my images, was this a way to envision what I hoped for, a map to it or was I locking myself into something that couldn’t be changed? Was this some kind of Ouija Board thing where my hands were drawn to certain images without my control! Invitation or contract?! What if I decided I didn’t want to do something I pasted? How literal is this thing? I used a picture of blocks with letters because it appealed to me, but now I think they are really small beads, does that mean I’m contractually obligated to take up jewelry making? Mona’s yellow house story obviously made an impact.

When I was all done, I decided to frame it. I used a frame that I purchased last year for something else, which ended up being the wrong size, and was then left unopened on our dining table as testament to the fact that if you leave something somewhere for more than three days it becomes a part of the furniture. Anyway, it looks more official in a frame. I plan to put it on my desk where I can see it every day, and seriously hope a little black and white cat shows up on my doorstep soon.

It’s like a seek and find.

So, now it’s your turn. Grab a friend or family member and give it a go. I tried to get the two men in my house to make them with me, even bought enough poster boards for them, but no. All you need for supplies are some magazines or catalogs, a pair a scissors, a glue stick and a poster board. I originally bought a small cork board with push pins and thought I’d make my board that way but then I realized A) it wasn’t big enough and B) pushpins don’t have the permanency of glue–as an accountability-phobic as I am, the fewer ways to wriggle out the better.

Have fun with it and let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear about your board, especially if you get the pet or house you are looking for, but either way leave a comment. I included the number 40 so now I have no excuse to not reach my blog post goal. Heck, maybe I’ll even lose 40 pounds. May your inspiration board bring you inspiration! Thanks for reading! Hit the follow button to have posts go straight to your email inbox.

Before you go…don’t call your library asking for old issues of magazines. Most libraries can’t just give away items they’ve purchased, and we feel really badly about not being able to help you. I recently turned away a girl scout troop leader making vision boards with that very request. (How timely!) If you need old magazines, may I suggest your doctor’s or dentist’s office? I have no idea if they would actually give them to you, but as a librarian I can’t just tell you no, I must give you some possible answer.

Challenge partner

  • Grew up in Lubbock, TX
  • Favorite activity riding bikes, being outside
  • Played soccer
  • Always wanted to own her own business, at the time thought it would be a toy store.

Currently listening to podcasts:

  • Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard
  • The Rich Roll Podcast
  • Lewis Howes: The School of Greatness

Additional recommendations:

  • Inside China
  • Unlocking us with Brene Brown
  • Malcolm Gladwell: Revisionist History

Check out Mona’s blog MondayMorningwithMona

or follow on Instagram @RunwithMona

Next week: Become an Expert at Something

10 thoughts on “Your Daily Dose of Inspiration

  1. The vision board was my main artistic medium in middle school! I made so many collages in the weekend before a new school year. It helped to have a million magazines on hand. I don’t think people outside our household understand just how many magazines the Suttee’s received each month from ~2002-2010. We could’ve supplied every Girl Scout troop in VA.

    I love the pics of little Mona! Gus looks like such a good boy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We do still get magazines, but I spend no time on thinking inspirationally (or aspirationally). Not that I don’t have inspirations (or aspirations), they just don’t stick around long enough to put them into action. This may be a hard one – I may have to start small!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post! I actually made a vision board in high school with my dream house on it and it looked like the house we live in now. You have inspired us to make our own vision boards this weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Val,

    Lisa and I are inspired to make a vision board! We have talked about this for years and now we are going to do it. Lisa made one in High School and the house we live in is almost identical to the one on her Vision board. Her husband pic was similar other than he had a six pack, rich, and italian. 😂
    Love the blog! Keep them coming!

    Liked by 1 person

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