Goal Visualization: Create Your Own Goal Collage

by Brad Isaac on January 25, 2006

I remembered this tip while I was helping my daughter make a spelling collage for school last night.  We were sitting at the kitchen table cutting out pictures of various foods, animals and people.  We both had a great time looking at all the pictures and determining what each picture “meant” in terms of the alphabet.  When I came across a picture of a boat, it reminded me about a cool way to visualize your goals — Make a goal collage.

A friend of mine introduced me to goal collages about 15 years ago.  I stopped by his apartment one afternoon and I spotted a large collage hanging on his wall.  I hadn’t really seen a collage since about 1978, so I was naturally curious what his collage’s theme was.

On closer observation, I saw he had carefully cut out pictures of Porsche sports cars, mostly in the color black.  He had some guys wearing Armani suits. I may be remembering wrong, but I think there was a personal gym and a huge mansion included.  There was also a woman or two whom he wouldn’t mind marrying.  There was a cabin cruiser yacht and a jet which appeared to be landing in Sydney Australia.  All of these cutouts were carefully glue-sticked into place on a large piece of yellow poster board.

He also had a heading at the top: "Why to continue working so hard." 

Curiosity did get the better of me so I had to ask about his collage.  "I haven’t seen a collage for years.  Is this a collage of your goals? 

"Yeah man," he said.  "I make these pictures when I am feeling down and need a lift." 

Further quizzing on the subject revealed that every time he thought of something big he wanted, like a personal jet, he would search out a photo in a magazine, cut it out and add it to his collection.

I noticed he had also written ideas in the few blank spaces.  Little notes about how he might accelerate the achievement of one of the goals.  "Do some contract work for 6 months so I can buy a few Armanis.  Land a full time position with Creative so I can buy my first Porsche. 

I am sure eventually, those notes would be covered up with a new photo as he accomplished one goal and started further refining another, more ambitious goal. 

If you are visually oriented, I think you have an edge when it comes to this method of goal setting.  People are motivated in different ways than others.  Some can simply look at a picture of a Ferrari and start to feel the emotion of what it would be like to drive one.  For visually centered people like this method should work well.  If you can make the leap to actually seeing yourself in the new car, boat or hang glider, then that’s all the better.

Personally,  I am more auditory and find my motivation from audio programs and from reading.  That is probably why my collage didn’t produce the same results as a well focused written plan for me.  But, it’s not to say you won’t get a great lift from doing it.

Everyone can benefit from making a goal collage.  It’s easy and fun.  It’s inexpensive. And, it’s a totally right-brain activity where you are thumbing through magazines as if it was your personal smorgasbord.  When you see something you want, cut it out.  When you see something that represents a desired milestone in your life, like getting married, retiring in the Adirondacks, learning to horseback ride in Jamaica, cut out the pictures and add them to your poster board. 

If you are stuck behind a computer monitor for long periods of time, this is a creative break from that activity. 

Plus, it gives you something to look at when the inevitable rocky times when the progress is slow and you are tempted to get discouraged. 


Technorati Tags: Goals and goal setting, Creativity, Visualization

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January 26, 2006 at 6:47 pm

I’m afraid if I made a collage, I could not put it up in the office. It would likely be X-rated. LOL!

January 29, 2006 at 9:31 am

Goal collages are great ideas for those visual learners, especially if you add the notes you were mentioning your friend did. Thanks for reminding me of this great idea!

February 15, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Have you tried storyboarding your goals?

Steve-O March 23, 2006 at 10:15 am

To represent my fitness goal, I pasted my head on the body of some hunk in my collage. My boss sat me down for a talk about sexual harrassment in the workplace since I had a picture of a half-naked man in my cubicle. He said it may offend some of the female workers. In my own survey, I found that female co-workers were only offended ‘cos he(me) was HALF naked. (C,mon, ex-IBM-ers, I know you really got a lot of stuff over harrassment in the 90′s but relax!)

March 23, 2006 at 11:31 am

hmmm..is the guy in the pic wearing a speedo or something?

If you were really doing this as a goal setting exercise, I think they might be taking things a little far. I’m not saying you are in this category, but had you said “Hey I’m gay…that’s discrimination.” Then your boss would be scrambling to get you to not go up the chain of command. He would likely have to attend “sensitivity training” if you didn’t shut up.

You’re right though…does the company want happy, goal-oriented people working there? Or a bunch of drones who spend all their time worrying about who is offended by the latest “harrassment” boogieman?

sorry for the rant..just pisses me off when I see management singling out goal oriented (and thus the most successful) in their organizations for criticism based on flimsey crap like this.

I hope you took your collage home so you can still use it. Keep at your goal no matter what the “harrassed” say. Stay with it!

July 5, 2008 at 6:34 am

I LOVE my job! I have my goal collage on my desk, a pinboard with all my fave pics, my choice of colour coded desk accessories, little pigeon holes I have put my favourite items in and my Boss encourages me to be myself!! I even have a 1/2 naked photo of my fave pop star (Sting) taped to my PC aaaaannnnnnddddd I work for a Major TV network as an Exec PA :-)
I TRULY love my job and Boss!
Oh, hey, but I DO have to put up with photos of half naked boobed gals around the office from ZOO magazine, some REALLY offensive so I guess freedom works both ways…

Kittybaroques last blog post..The Sunday Collection….

July 28, 2008 at 10:17 pm

I think collage or just a simple note which reminds you of what you want to achieve can be very helpful in one’s growth. The notes somehow enable you o keep track of how well you are doing with your life. As for me, I get really inspired by songs especially those which talks about of making oneself or not procrastinating. I usually place a line or two from the lyrics of the songs in my shout-outs in Skype perhaps (since I usually go online) or write them down on a piece of paper and post it on the wall of my room. Words that have a strong impact and which I can relate are more appealing to me as a guide to moving forward.

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