In January, I do a lot of presentations on vision boards. I also work with my individual clients who are interested in making a vision board. Earlier this month, I sat down with a new client to work with her as she created her first-ever vision board. She’d brought a few images with her and she immediately started pasting things on her board. As she did, she started talking to me about her co-worker’s illness and her grandmother’s recent death, her friend’s cancer, and her fears about getting any and all of the diseases they have or had.

“That’s why I’m focusing on this,” she said, tapping the word Health that she had pasted onto her vision board.

“You’re not focusing on health,” I said, “you’re focusing on sickness.”

She blinked, looked back at her vision board, and said, “That’s right. I’m totally focused on sickness.”

This opening led to a discussion about how to focus on what we want, rather than what we don’t want.

It’s not that easy to do but it’s worth thinking about, as I really do believe we get what we expect. The Law of Attraction isn’t that simple, but sometimes, it is that simple.

Worrying about getting sick is not necessarily going to make you sick, but it’s not going to make you healthy, either.

When our thinking generates fear, we act on that fear. I don’t know about you, but when I’m afraid I tend to hide or try to distract myself. With regard to my health, this does not lead me to exercising or eating right. It’s more likely to lead to me going to bed early with a book and a bowl of Trader Joe’s Ultra Chocolate Ice Cream.

Focusing on health takes more work: Worry and fear are natural to our primitive brains; it takes work to get the more sophisticated parts of our brain generating thoughts of empowerment and choice, which will lead to feelings of autonomy and capability.

A question as simple as, “What can I do today to promote health in my life?” or “What’s the healthiest thing I could do for myself today?” will lead you to answers like:

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid fast food
  • Take a walk
  • Pack my lunch
  • Meditate for 5 minutes

If you are making a vision board, put images (and words, if you like) that make you feel good. If you’re feeling good, you’re thinking good thoughts. And by “good thoughts,” I mean thoughts that will bring about the things and experiences that serve you.

If you’d like more health in your life, you can put healthy foods on your vision board and images of healthy, active people. That’s one way to draw health to you.

Another way is to focus on the fresh food you are lucky enough to have in your refrigerator. Say “thank you,” to all the people who harvested all those salad ingredients, all those who transported and stocked them in your grocery store, even the teenager who checked you out and packed your grocery bags. Then enjoy your salad, really savor it: You are doing something healthy for yourself.

If you are focusing on healthy food images on your vision board or gratitude for the healthy food in your refrigerator, your brain is focused on the positive. You cannot be in fear and gratitude at the same time—our brains don’t work that way—so not only are you focusing on positive images, you’re not focusing on sickness.

Doing this every day, even for a few minutes, will make you healthier.

It all starts with our thinking, so take that time to think about what you want, not what you don’t want.