The Anatomy of a Goal-Dream Board

How to deal with feeling overwhelmed about dreams and goals and how to keep track of their progress with a custom goal/dream board…

I’m a very visual person. I prefer writing my ideas by hand than typing them into either my phone or laptop. I also find that I process information and learn better by taking notes by hand. 
I’m also a person with a lot of dreams. 
And with a lot of dreams comes the need to be able to know what to focus on next. 
A lot of the times, being self-employed introduces a few problems: 
I have a lot of time at home, countless distractions or excuses to slack off and do something else, the feeling of relaxing – because thats what home represents to me.
So when I moved into my new home, I finally explored the opportunity to have my own “Creative Cave”.
What is a “Creative Cave” you may ask? 
Its my version of a room that is decorated, laid out, conceptualised solely by me that I’m able to retreat to and lock myself inside to block out distractions and focus on getting things done. This allows me time to work on getting closer to my goals and dreams. 
I know that some may not have access to a room of their own, separate from their allocated sleep quarters, but a desk can suffice as your “Creative Corner”. 
Don’t let lack of materialistic things hold you back from starting a project or pursuing a dream. 
A main feature in my Creative Cave is my Dream & Goal Board:
Something I look at everyday when I wake up to give me a clear vision of the dreams that I’m working towards.
Since it is a huge help to me, I thought I’d share it with my readers.
Introducing “The Anatomy of a Dream & Goal Board”.
The first thing you’d notice about my board is my centrepiece.

Its a dreamcatcher with a large bird sitting in the centre and with other, darker, smaller birds fleeing or leaving the dreamcatcher. To me, the smaller, darker birds represent negative thoughts, people and influences, whilst the larger, stoic bird represents my dreams.

And yes, I understand that technically, dreamcatchers don’t work this way. But I initially drew this as a scribble (without researching how dreamcatchers work, oops!), and decided to use it eventually for my board. And at the end of the day, the only interpretation of my centrepiece that matters is my own.
My centrepiece adds my own creative touch to the board and essentially makes it my own. 
At first glance, some may think “You have too many goals”. Of course, I prioritise some over others – however, these are avenues I’d like to explore in this point in my life. 
Within each envelope I describe what my Dream is: the achievements, the timeline, the fine details.
Because, just as you need to be specific when you pray, you need to be specific about what your Dreams are. 
I’ll open up an envelope from time to time and envision the reality of my dream: its a small motivational boost and reminder of what I’m working for.
I haven’t based my design of my board off anything in particular – I just wanted an interactive surface that I could do something to feel the completion of a goal or task (such as crossing off a list, or in this case, pulling off and replacing a post-it). 
IMG_4686 copy
My goals are week goals.
I constantly used to feel so overwhelmed about my dreams.
One of my biggest dreams is to become a successful singer/songwriter – and sometimes, looking at the people I look up at, or the things I want to achieve – I would think “but they’re so far away, and I feel so small right now, how is it possible to build my way up to that level?”
But someone once told me “If you could envision yourself when you have achieved that dream and you could ask your future self how many steps it took to get where they are, what would they say?”.
They would say “a lot of friking steps.” 
And this simple conversation with my future self motivates me so much because, 
“a lot of steps” translates to “its possible”. Thats why I keep going.
By taking the “next right step” i.e. the next immediate step from my current position (if your a writer and want to write a novel – write a single paragraph), I know exactly what to do.
As E.L. Doctorow said, writing a book is like driving a car at night. “You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – God Never Blinks by Regina Brett
So every week, I sit down and think: “what can I do this week to work my way closer to [dream]?”. 
Its easy to find things to write down, because its “the next right step”, and I’ll feel fulfilled replacing the post-it with a new one after completing a small step that puts me closer to my dreams. 


Lastly, I’ve pasted small quotes along the border of each segment that are related to each dream.
They add uplifting and positive messages to my board.

I hope this post inspires you to create your own Dream and Goal Board!

Dream big, beautiful!


Large Cardboard, Envelopes, Post-Its, Feathers, String from National Book Store  / Decorative Cards from Typo / Coloured Notebooks from Powerbooks / Vase and Flowers from Landmark / Centrepiece Art, Hand drawn by Catriona Gray / Desk by Dimensione
All photographs copyright Catriona Gray

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  • Anonymous
    December 10, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    This inspires me so much. I’m going to college next year. And it feels so overwhelming and I just want the world to end because of it. When I look at your blog it feels like life is actually fun and it doesn’t have to be hard. Definitely gonna try this out. Might not be as pretty as this, but hey πŸ™‚

      January 5, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Hi there! πŸ™‚
      I can completely relate to feeling overwhelmed by what stands before you, but hey, if it was easy than everyone would do it.
      Just take it a day a time, one assignment at a time etc. A whole year of college seems daunting but getting through one day isn’t. πŸ˜‰
      I’d love to see your board if you ever get around to doing it! Send it to me on πŸ™‚
      All the best! <3

  • Aimee Duroux
    December 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    This is amazing!

      January 5, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks Aimee! I hope it inspired you to organise your goals and begin the journey towards achieving them! <3

  • Nicole Cruz
    January 1, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Very inspirational! 2014 was very difficult for me because I would get distracted with my goals, and my mind was just all over the place. Hoping 2015 will be a great one! God bless! πŸ™‚

      January 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Hi Nicole! πŸ™‚
      I experienced the same thing when I had no plan or steps to reach my goals! I hope this post inspired you to take charge of your time! <3 Heres to an amazing 2015!

  • Kirsty Enriquez
    February 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Wow. This is the best thing I’ve seen all day. I’m pretty much having a hectic day and I need to write this statement for my visa application to Aus (teehee, TMI). I wanted some inspiration and I’ve been following you on Instragram for quite a while now then I remembered you posted about this. I feel so inspired now and I feel like if my visa gets approved, I just wanna start fresh in Australia, “live the dream”, like what they say. I can’t wait to have my own Creative Cave regardless of having to share my room with my hubby (yes, I am married at at very young age, but it doesn’t bother me). Thank you so much for sharing this and for being an inspiration! You’re actually one of the very FEW modern women I look up to, Cat. πŸ™‚ Oh and by the way, my hubby kinda knows you cause he is from Cairns as well. Yep, small world. Hahaha! You are a gem! Good day! x

    • Catriona Gray
      December 6, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Hey Kirsty!! πŸ™‚ I hope everything went well with your move to Australia! Thanks for the wonderful message you left here on my page! It’s comments like these that make writing articles so worthwhile!

  • Coolen
    December 2, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Hi! I really like this post of yours. It inspires me to continue working on achieving my goals in life. This is a timeless article. I just knew that you also have a blog. Watched an Etcetera episode with you as a guest sharing your favorite website yesterday. I remember you singing at the Bench Fashion Show a year or two ago. πŸ™‚

    • Catriona Gray
      December 6, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Hey Coolen! πŸ™‚ I’m so happy that you’ve found this article to be uplifting! Hopefully some of these tips will help you have the best year ever next year! All the best! <3

  • Jessica
    December 11, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    This is so on-time for the last week of Uni this year. Thank you so much for this?

  • Irah
    December 22, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    “‘a lot of steps’ translates to ‘its possible’. Thats why I keep going.” I love this. Very inspiring and motivational. I’ll surely carry this quote to reach my goals and whenever, in case, like giving up along the way. Love this forever!

  • Kim Santos
    January 12, 2019 at 12:36 am

    Wow..this is really good stuff! No wonder you won Ms Universe!!!