The Vision Thing

“Vision animates, inspires, transforms purpose into action” Warren Bennis

I’ve never been a big proponent of writing New Year’s resolutions. The few times I actually wrote down what I resolved to do (or stop doing) in the new year, I would forget about the list by, say, January 5, and pick right up doing (or not doing) what I’ve done (or not done) all along. I am a creature of habit and it takes much more than a few words on paper to make big changes.

This is not to say that I don’t believe in setting personal goals or having a self-improvement plan. I just don’t think the arbitrary date of January 1 is necessarily the day to begin. I remember when I worked out regularly at a gym, I always avoided going the first few weeks of January because it was overrun with wannabe gym rats. I knew that by the end of January/early February, gym attendance would return to normal and I would no longer have to wait in line to use the machines.

As 2013 ends and the year that I will retire begins, I am going to try something different: writing a personal vision statement. I have written many vision statements over the years for various organizations, but I have never thought to craft one for my own personal goals, ambitions, and dreams. Although I know that, like New Year’s resolutions, just because something is written on paper doesn’t make it so, I think having a well-thought-out vision statement can help me stay focused on creating the future I want.

A simple Google search will yield tons of articles about writing a personal vision statement. Some have handy step-by-step instructions, some give examples of what one might look like. Most of the articles suggest that it be kept to just a few sentences and to write it in the present tense; as if you have already achieved your goals. Your vision statement can cover several areas of your life (e.g. health, education, and relationships) or focus on one particular dream or goal. The important thing is that it speaks to your soul and inspires you to move forward.

Before I started to craft my personal vision statement, I thought it would be helpful to make a photo collage that created a visual representation of my perfect future. I gathered up a pile of old magazines, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and a poster board and started to cut out pictures and words that resonated with me. As I assembled the pictures and words on my board, I discovered four main areas of focus: health and exercise, travel and recreation, creativity and art, and friends and food.

Photo Collage

Using this collage as my inspiration, I will next capture in words the life I want to create for myself as I move into retirement and beyond. I may not share the final product with anyone but I will re-visit it often to draw inspiration and to make sure I’m doing what I need to do in order to live the life I want to live. If any part of my vision statement no longer resonates, I can simply change it so that it reflects my new path.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

3 thoughts on “The Vision Thing”

  1. Your areas of focus are almost identical to mine. By the way you are right about the gym. In my current life I go several times a week, and although I am briefly ashamed of myself, I am none the less grateful for all those that abandon their fitness goals.

    For me, the art part is photography–which is a way to extend the enjoyment of travel and jog the memory.

    Food, yes–I am finally–and slowly–learning to cook properly. my husband is grateful.
    And friends-I am accumulating those treasures regularly, and loving it.
    Great idea about the collage!

    1. I recently purchased a nice camera – not professional, but a few steps up from my point and shoot. I’m struggling a bit with all the settings, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it soon enough. I really want to work more with Photoshop. Your pictures are really nice – have you learned by trial and error, or have you taken any courses?

      1. Hi Janis,
        good luck with your new camera. Thanks for the kind words about my photos. I did take a course a few years ago– a full day workshop sponsored by Nikon. I don’t know if they offer them any more. I also look very closely at photos that I like to try to figure out what makes them special. But the real trick is to take lots of photos and throw all except the best ones away. I don’t do photoshop. I just crop and sometimes straighten if the horizon is crooked. I just don’t want to spend time messing with Photoshop. It is easier to just take several shots and change the exposure. Have fun!

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