Here’s an arts and crafts project that’s fun, powerful, and dare I say a reasonable alternative (or addition) to football for New Year’s day. It’s especially fun to make collages with a group of friends; everyone can bring old magazines and help each other find pictures for your goals. Even better: meet with the same group again next year to find out how everyone’s goals turned out.
1. Collect your goals
This step sounds like something you just sit down and do (and sometimes it is), but it’s often a more organic process than that. It certainly varies from year to year how formally I engage in goal setting, but I do find it helpful to do some kind of thinking that evaluates results from the previous year and projects my intentions for the next one.
I encourage you to write down the themes and goals you identify if you’re so inclined. There’s a fair amount of documentation that the mere act of writing a goal makes it more likely to happen. Plus we’ll be referring to this list throughout the year for other projects.
In terms of the collage project, we’re looking for a list of the topics that you want to focus on for the year — your top three or four goals — plus perhaps a handful of other things that you’d also like to see happen.
2. Collect some pictures
Next you’ll gather pictures that illustrate each of the themes you identified in the goal phase. You’ll get most of your pictures from three sources:
- Cut out pictures from magazines, newspapers, brochures, etc. It can be fun to assemble text phrases from headlines, but make sure you also get plenty of images.
- Download and print pictures from the Internet – Google images is a great source, and next week we’ll feature a guest post that also shows you how to find pictures in the public archives on Flickr.
- Photos of yourself – this is really, really important! Scan or photocopy pictures you already have, or perhaps you and a friend can take pictures of each other for this project. You get bonus points for wearing outfits that are appropriate for your goals.
Notice how the mere act of looking for pictures is already causing you to pay more attention to those goals, causing them to grow stronger in your mind. Great, it’s already working!
3. Collect supplies
- Poster board (foam core board is especially elegant but inexpensive plain poster board is fine)
- Glue stick
- Extra magazines and newspapers
- Optional: crayons, stickers, glitter, beads, etc.
Now for the fun part – assemble all of the images you’ve collected into a visual map that illustrates your intentions for 2009. There are no rules, except to try to make it visually appealing to yourself. Here’s how I go about it:
1. Start in the center.
Include one or all of the following: “2009″, a picture of yourself, a picture of yourself with your family, your summary slogan for the year, a short written statement about your most important goal, a picture of your most important goal.
2. Map out zones on the page
Choose areas of the page that correspond to your major themes, sort of like a mind map. You may label them with cut-out words, or not. Trim the images you’ve collected for each theme and lay them on the page in their respective zones. Often this will stimulate you to go find a few more pictures to fill in some gaps. Experiment with your layout until you like it.
3. Add decoration
Here’s where you get as artistic as you want to. Or not. Just make yourself happy. It makes me happy to overlap pieces of my collage in visually interesting ways. Your results may vary.
4. Glue all of your material to the page.
When your composition feels done, start gluing. For minimal disturbance to your layout gently lift up a corner of each piece to tack it down with the glue stick. Take your time. How often do you get to play with glue these days?
There’s only one step in this phase, but it’s the most important of all:
1. Display your finished collage in a prominent location.
By prominent, I mean very noticeable for you. It’s fine if it’s invisible to everyone else, as long as YOU see it every day this year.
One person who attended a collage party came back a year later and reported that nothing on it had happened. That was puzzling since she had made made a great collage and others from the same party had gotten good — even stunning — results. When we asked where she had displayed it, she admitted she had leaned it against the wall in a seldom-used back bedroom, and had not looked at it again. Now we understood why her results were less than optimal! You must display your collage where you’ll see it often.
You’ll be exposed to over a million commercial messages in 2009. All of them are important to someone; just not you. As is true with so many of the techniques we use at Take Back Your Brain!, the New Year collage makes sure you are also regularly reminded about the things you want to think about, to create the life you want. Happy New Year! Have fun.