Start the New Academic Year with a Picture

An Experiment To Improve

To be very honest, the elder one felt more obliging than excited to collaborate in this “experiment” – to create a “vision board” for 2021. And understandably so, even though daddy sold him the idea of creating a picture that will help him achieve ALL that he desires with ONE look – and that include increases in his YouTube channel subscribers, higher video hits, more interchange visits to collect bus photos (he is a true-blue bus enthusiast) etc. As parents, we also grab this golden opportunity to also slip in our wishes – to achieve better academic results and to refine some of his lesser desirable behaviors.

It started as an experiment with the elder one at the end of 2020. Trapped at home mostly, at the height of COVID-19 pandemic, and looking at his somewhat unimpressive end-of-year exams results, my wife and I both felt, more can be done when he progressed into Primary 4 in 2021.

The Vision Board

So, what is a vision board? And most importantly, does it work?

The concept has been around for the longest time, and was made popular by authors and celebrities, one of which is Oprah Winfrey. It’s based on the Law of Attraction, which explains that our minds are powerful tools that can turn thoughts and desires into reality.

What we focus on expands and becomes our reality. Where intention goes, energy flows,” says “life essence” coach and vision board instructor Dacey Paul.

In a nutshell, what the above means – when you curate a collage with pictures of your desired outcomes – for a student he may start to put together pictures of himself surrounded by computer games and all sorts of titbit (that’s why we need parents’ guidance) or he can (drums roll), put pictures of himself scoring the coveted AL1 in all his subjects.

And hold and behold, that picture will turn into a self-fulling prophecy when one looks hard and long, day in and day out!

There is no clear Science behind this “magic” vision board– but what we like to believe is that our subconscious mind can’t differentiate between reality and fantasy. But when we focus our attention on a desired picture, we summon our best intentions and generate positive emotions. As the theory goes, one will feel so associated with the rosy picture, such that we’re spurred to achieve what we see in the picture.

Noticed the last sentence – “spurred to achieve” – a vision without action remains a lofty dream. The key lies in “action”.

How did it go?

So then, you might ask? What kind of action has resulted from our little experiment? Did it achieve our secret wishes along the way?

Last year was the first time we did the vision board, albeit a watered-down version with more text and writings than pictures (see photo). Arguably, the impact would be lesser, however, over the one year, I managed to see the elder one looking at his vision board more than a few times, pondering and at times, jotting down notes. And at moments of our lives, when he deviated from what he had written, we gave him reminders of his written goal(s) and had himself to re-calibrate his actions.

So, it worked – to a certain extent.

goals setting
He never leaves out his goals surrounding buses!

His vision board mapped out four main areas.

1) Personal self-growth, stuff like can I learn to be more sensitive? Or can I learn to be more forgiving?

2) His favorite area of interest pertained to his hobby – he had clear and quantifiable targets pertaining to his foray as a bus enthusiast.

3) His physical wellness as he needed to watch his diet and exercise more.

4) And of course, academic results – we allowed him to set his own goals, improving his Chinese composition and oral exams skills, improving his English composition by reading more books, exploring better ways to tell a story, and other targets related to his Math and Science subjects. As parents, we also explored fun and unique ways of learning to help him achieve his goals.

improving chinese, reading, composition, writing, oral exam skills, primary school
His goal on improving his Chinese, in areas such as reading, composition and writing.

It is important that the “specific” outcomes are “determined” by the child – and we’ll be reviewing all of that after 365 days (I suggest a mid-year review to track progress).

At the close of 2021 last month, we had a review. And he looked back with fondness and a certain sense of self-fulfillment, having achieved 60-70% of his goals and targets!

Isn’t this the best gifts a parent can provide for a child? The ability to be the master of your own growth and perhaps destiny?

So, is it really worth a try?

All said, there will always be naysayers pouring cold water on how the vision board will always remain a fantasy board.

And we respect that, because if we care to look at a lot of great revolutionary ideas and life changing inventions, movers or shakers who have transformed their lives – didn’t they love to fantasize how the future might be?

Take the example of our recently crowned World Badminton Champion, 24-year-old Loh Kean Yew, he fantasized about standing on the podium since he was a 10-year-old boy. He might not have a vision board right in front of him, but I’m sure the visual image of him lifting the cup must have replayed tens of thousand times in his head.

If you really want it so badly – you’ll find a way to get it!

So picture this – give fantasy a chance, transform your kids’ vision into a board, feel the joys of his desires and wishes – for all its worth, this could be the best start you can ever get in January 2022.

Co-Founder Vitamin M

setting goals for the academic year

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