It is a new year and you have most likely set some goals that you would like to achieve over the coming 12 months in different aspects of your life, such as your finances, career, relationships, health and spirituality.
Did you know that you can harness the power of visualization to put yourself firmly on a path to achieving all those goals? Read on and learn about this powerful technique.
What Is Visualization?
It refers to a practice in which you imagine yourself having or being what you want to be or have in the future. You imagine yourself in that future time when you are what you want to be, or have what you want to have.
Visualization works best when you involve all your five senses. For example, what dream car would you like to own in five years? Imagine yourself sitting at the wheel of that car. How does the steering wheel feel in your hands? What are the colors of the upholstery inside that car? What smells can you detect inside that car? How does it sound while you are driving it? What does the drink you are sipping on taste like as you slowly drive around the neighborhood?
The more you involve all your senses, the more vivid the image will be, and the more likely you will be to work towards attaining that goal. If you can imagine it, you can have it. Henry Ford famously said that whether you believe you can, or you believe you cannot, either way you are right. Visualization makes you believe that you can.
Is There Science To Support Visualization As A Way To Achieve One’s Goals?
Yes, there are many scientific grounds to support the results many people attribute to visualization. Those principles include;
The reticular activating system. The RAS is a kind of filter in our brains which sorts what we should pay attention to and what we should ignore. When you practice visualization, you program this system to focus on sensory input aligned with your goals. For example, if you decide to buy a certain model of car in the near future, have you noticed that you keep seeing those cars as you go about your day? That is the RAS drawing your attention to what you have set your mind upon.
Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the brain to create new pathways and connections between its different parts in order to perform a certain role better. For example, when you are just beginning to learn a new skill, it takes a lot of effort to execute basic tasks requiring that skill but as you keep practicing, you gain “muscle memory” and the skill becomes second nature to you. That is neuroplasticity at work, because your brain has now created strong pathways to control the execution of that skill. Visualization facilitates neuroplasticity and the result is that you are better able to attain a set goal.
There are many other scientific principles at play, such as the placebo effect and the activation of one’s motor cortex. All these play a varying role in making visualization a powerful technique.
What Steps Should Follow In Visualization?
- Clarify what you want
The first step to using visualization is to be crystal clear about what you want. Write it down as vividly as possible and describe how your different senses are involved in enjoying that which you see in your future. Infuse your goal with as much emotion as possible, because it is the emotions which will supercharge the drive for your subconscious mind to work towards attaining that goal.
- Create a vision board
Your mind’s eye requires visual and emotional input in order to be activated. Get images of what you want to achieve and pin them on your vision board, together with descriptions of those goals. You can even go as far as inserting your image or name in magazine or newspaper articles talking about someone who attained what you want for yourself.
Make sure that you look at this vision board as often as you can, at least as soon as you wake up and just before you retire to sleep. This will keep reminding your subconscious mind about what you are focused upon.
- Visualize your goal daily
Every day, and for at least five minutes, sit quietly and visualize yourself as having attained your goal. For example, if it is being promoted to a senior management position, imagine yourself sitting in that corner office and performing the tasks typical to that office, as well as seeing your paycheck reflecting your new salary. When done daily, the mind soon believes that you already have what you want and it gets to work to create congruence between what is in your mind and what is in the real world.
- Take massive action
Visualization alone will not magically deliver your dreams. You have to put in the legwork to propel you to your goals. The action you take can include taking a course to acquire a necessary skill, hiring a coach or finding a mentor, and doing everything else required to move you towards your goal. Fortunately, visualization will help you to set the right priorities, so it will be easier for you to make the right choices as you go about each day.
- Tap the benefits of exposure
It is also helpful for you to expose yourself to the experiences associated with the goals you are visualizing. For example, if you are dreaming of owning a certain car, why not visit a dealership near you and test drive that car? You can even take photos inside that car and add them to your vision board. This will provide powerful visuals to enhance your visualization and you will be motivated to work to achieve your goal.
Many famous people from Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James, Will Smith and Michael Jordan all confess to using some form of visualization to catapult themselves to the top. Visualization boosts confidence, enhances performance, aids in focus, reprograms your brain, creates beliefs, helps to combat anxiety and does so many other positive things depending on the specific use to which you put it. Start making use of visualization and see how your life starts to transform for the better!