Since ancient times, people have used different types of mental exercises, meditations, and prayers to help achieve their goals. Visualization is just one of them. However, practicing visualization often gets a bad rap since people claim it isn't grounded in reality or a person needs to believe in spirituality or magic to practice visualization. But the truth is that visualization techniques don't require spirituality to be effective. Visualization depends on your mind and how you picture the proximity of your goals and what you do to achieve them.
Scientifically proven, psychologists have found visualization to be an effective exercise when it comes to achieving goals. Today, visualization techniques are helpful for everyone, from CEOs to athletes, and even students. Learning what visualization really is, what it can be used for, and how you can practice it can help you determine your goals clearly and increase your efforts to obtain them better.
Visualization is the process of envisioning and focusing on the goals you have for the future. It doesn't depend on any spiritualness, rather it subconsciously prepares your body and mind for what’s to come in the future, so that you can aim your efforts to obtain certain positive outcomes. All five senses—sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing are necessary when practicing visualization. Your subconscious is made aware of the eventual result by your conscious mind through visualization. When it comes to goals visualization, there are two kinds:
● Visualizing the desired outcome.
● Visualizing the entire process leading up to the result.
Most of us, even the ones who don't believe in visualization, practice it daily unknowingly. In most cases, we use visualization to create a life we don't want; we imagine the worst outcomes and worry about the future. A good example of using visualization is when you worry about something so much that it actually ends up happening. This is called anticipatory anxiety, which visualization can help control. In a positive approach, you can use visualization to help you to concentrate on and work toward your ideal life in the future. You can use it to increase your self-confidence and reduce your overall anxiety.
You can also approach visualization as a form of mental rehearsal. You envision yourself giving a speech in front of a big crowd or successfully taking your exam. This way, you activate the mental process that enables you to perfect the movements before entering the stage or prepare your mind before taking the exam. Your actions are planned, and you know how to act and what to expect. With a clear goal in mind, you’re more likely to make the relevant efforts to achieve it.
Here are five easy steps you can use to start visualizing your goals:
It's essential to have a clear understanding of what you want and why to start envisioning the life you desire. Understanding your values and the things that make you the happiest in life will help you achieve this. Have you ever had a time when you were engaged in an activity and felt happy doing it? If the answer is yes, that indicates something you could want in your life. Using all five senses, imagine what you want in detail. Your vision will become more concrete as you include additional sensory images and you'll be more inspired to make the efforts to achieve that outcome. Try asking yourself if nothing held you back, what would you want in your life the most?
It’s important to create a clear image of your goals or vision to attract them into your life. You can either write this down in detail or make a vision board. This will help you to create a comprehensive and accurate image in your mind, making it feel more real and achievable. Consider the feelings associated with the outcome. You'll be more convinced that your goal can be accomplished if you can see what it will feel like to achieve it.
When you’re all set, take a minute to begin picturing the actual result. Begin to picture the sights, sounds, scents, and even tastes of reaching your goals. For instance, if your goal is excelling in your exams, start imagining how you would feel in that exact moment, who would you celebrate it with, and how it would impact your life further. You can also envision the entire process of preparing for these exams, the processes and materials you had to go through to achieve success. This helps lay down a set course of actions you would follow to gain that goal.
The life you desire to have won't materialize in a single day but rather over the course of days, weeks, months, even years. It can be easy to fall into the habit of daydreaming and never actually doing anything to achieve your objectives. Remember that you’re present in the reality and it’s by taking action in the present reality, you’ll be able to get the future you want. Concentrate on the here and now and set daily or weekly goals for yourself. As you practice visualization, remember that obstacles will rise in your journey. Close your eyes and envision how you'll respond to obstacles so that you can keep moving toward your objective. What one action could you do today to move one step closer to the life you want?
Set aside 10-15 minutes daily for your visualization exercises. Before you begin visualization, try a progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) exercise to relax your body and mind before falling asleep and after waking up. This practice will encourage your subconsciousness to stay focused on your efforts to achieve your goal. Remember to pay some mind to potential setbacks that you will experience along the way. In fact, one key piece of advice here is to see yourself going through these obstacles and triumphing over them.
It’s not easy to force your mind into imagining achieving goals for yourself if you’ve always been the one to worry about them. You can use these tools to help you practice visualization effectively:
● Make a vision board: You can use a vision board to represent your goals and inspire yourself through images and words.
● Meditate through a guided visualization meditation: Guided visualizations can help you relax and set aside some time for self-reflection.
● Create index cards: Make a list of your goals and make an index card out of each one. Before going to bed or after waking up, go through the cards, close your eyes, and envision yourself achieving those goals.
● Use the available resources: If your goal is publishing a book, for instance, watch videos of people who have done it. Read blogs and articles online or talk to those people in person. The more you increase your knowledge about your goals, the more you’re likely to succeed at them
Before you try visualization, remember that you will be the one who takes all the actions to achieve what you want. Visualization helps you identify and envision the path towards your desired outcome and improves your decision-making. If you don't give them some thought, it's difficult to move toward your goals. It’s about de-fogging the unclear future so you can use your present to work towards an achievable future.
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