Moodboards for Making Decisions

Have you ever sat there with too many choices – and wondering how to decide? One of my friends, James*, was looking to move house, but there were to many components to the choice, so we looked at the idea of mood boards. Create a lifestyle for each house type he was looking for and imagine yourself in that world, and feel the feelings, see the sights and experience it. It helps you know your choices for what you feel comfortable and what is not.


For James, his housing choice was complicated:

  • Where would the kids go to school?
  • How close does he want to live to either his parents, or his spouses?
  • Where in the country would it be? (in the city, in a particular town, countryside, near the sea etc)
  • What would his employment be?
  • How close to friends, and what kind of activities would they enjoy.

Here, we have a whole page on decision making. However, in this post, let’s take the Mood board technique.

Example mood boards:

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”2″ display=”basic_thumbnail” thumbnail_crop=”0″]Creating your mood board and helping make the decision:

  1. A good starting point is to use a version of the ‘wheel of life’ to think about the different dimensions (or elements) in your decision. They could be things like: Location, House Type, Size of House, Work, Children, Parents, Schools, Cost to Buy, Impact of Salary, Commute
  2. Then think about the relative importance of them now, and for the future. For example your commute might be 90 mins by metro now, and you might want it to be 30 mins by car in the future.
  3. With those list of options, then dare to dream. Imagine a set of scenarios for you where you’ve achieved the important items. For my friend this was to be by the sea, in a large place, where you could entertain, and go for walks. It could be close to one set of parents.
  4. Then create a ‘mood board’ for each one. Find photos that match this scenario and put them together. This could include:
    • Photos of when you were happy
    • Types of location (e.g. mountain, sea, city)
    • Types of geography (e.g. specific cities, states, countries)
    • Food, hobbies, sports, friends, family
    • Climate (e.g. are you a summer person, a winter person etc)
    • Your workstyle (big city professional, flying traveller, working from home etc)
  5. Now for each mood board imagine yourself there:
    • How do you feel?
    • What does the working week feel like?
    • How do the other people react?
    • What are you enjoying?
    • What makes you anxious?
  6. Then take that mood board scenario away:
    • What does it feel like to take it away? (Relief, missing it, no feeling)
    • What does it feel like to be back to your current reality?
    • Do you yearn this or not?
  2. Take each mood board and do the same. Don’t over think this. Just let your feelings guide you. This should help you discard choices more easily. Now compare side by side, and which one do you prefer, in each set of two.
  3. Finally what have you learnt from this? 
    • Perhaps it became clear that one option felt better than another.
    • Perhaps it became clear that one dimension became really important (.e.g schooling, or friends)
    • Perhaps it became clear that you need to adapt the scenario; something needs to be taken from another scenario and put forward.
    • Perhaps it became clear how urgent your choice was. For example, you might realise you are happy to stay in your current place for longer.

Rarely is a decision just on your own, so consider whom else is involved in the decision, and let them add mood boards, and feel what each choice means. This will help in a discussion on relative importance of choices.



(*not his real name)

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