Did you know you have the power to change your life for the better? That this power is buried inside of you and it is easy to unleash? This power can be harnessed at any time and many of the most successful people in the world use it all of the time.
What is this super power? It is the power to visualize, or more importantly, the power of visualizing your goals.
Visualizing your goals has become a hot trend recently. The idea behind visualizing your goals is that if you “see” your goal, you are more likely to achieve it. Some of you might think I have fallen off my rocker, but I encourage you to read on and see for yourself how this works and then make a judgment.
The Power of Visualizing Your Goals
If you want to increase the likelihood of reaching your goals and dreams, goal visualization is where it all begins. By having the ability to visualize your goals, you do a few important things:
- It teaches your brain to recognize what resources it will need to help you succeed in reaching your goals.
- It creates an inner motivation to strive for your goals and dreams
- It promotes positive thinking, which will help you to stay on track to be successful in the long run.
How To Visualize Your Goals
To begin visualizing your goals, you need to find a quiet place where you can sit, uninterrupted. All you have to do is get comfortable and let your mind and imagination go to work. For me, this usually happens at night when I first lay down. I also do it first thing in the morning, either while lying in bed or when I first get into my office.
I do it at these times because I rarely get interrupted. My cell phone is off, my computer is off. There are very little if any noises at night and since I am up at 5am, there are little to no noises at that time either.
Currently, one of my goals is to lose 20 pounds. When I visualize success with this goal, I see myself in my mind, 20 pounds lighter. I see my clothes fitting better. I see and can taste the healthy foods I am eating. I see how happy I am.
In other words, I envision my life as though I have reached my goals. In my daily life, when I am craving a burger or a pizza, I simply find that image saved in my mind of me 20 pounds lighter and it helps me to overcome the craving.
Visualization And Professional Athletes
Athletes use visualization all the time to better their performance. Arguably the greatest golfer in the world, Jack Nicklaus once said,
“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a color movie. First I “see” where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I “see” the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there’s a sort of fade out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”
There is also a scientific study that was conducted on a few athletes that were looking to improve their free throws in basketball. They were divided into three groups:
- Group 1: They physically took practice free throw shots during the day
- Group 2: They only visualized making shots every day
- Group 3: They physically took practice free throw shots during the day and before going to bed they visualized making perfect shots.
The results of the study were amazing:
- Group 1 (only took shots): Improved free throw shooting by 7%
- Group 2 (only visualized making shots): Improved free throw shooting by 10%
- Group 3 (took shots and visualized making shots): Improved free throw shooting by 32%
Steve Nash uses this technique to perfect his free throw shooting. The fact that he is the best free throw shooter based on percentage shows you that visualization works.
Why Visualization Works
You might be wondering how goal visualization works. It works because of how our brains are wired. The neurons in our brain interpret images as real life. For example, when we envision ourselves running up a flight of stairs, the neurons in our brain receive an impulse that tells them to perform the movement.
This then creates a new neural pathway that tells our bodies to act as we have just imagined. So when you visualize doing things, your body is creating pathways and memories of how to do that action even though you never actually performed the action.
Keys For How To Visualize Your Goals
There are some key aspects that you have to be aware of when using goal visualization as a technique to help you reach your goals.
Focus on your senses: When I visualize another goal of mine, the goal of my dream house, the picture in my head is this: I am standing in my front yard with my dog. I can feel the warm sun on my back. I can hear my dog panting. I can smell the fresh cut grass.
All of these things help my visualized goal to become more real. When you first begin to visualize, you may not be able to experience all of your senses. This is OK. It is a lot like trying to clear your mind meditating or trying to touch your toes when stretching. At first, you most likely cannot do either, but with time and practice, you are able to clear your mind when meditating or touch your toes while stretching.
Focus on details: This takes focusing on your senses to the next level. When I say focus on the details, I want you to get very specific. For instance, I can see the individual blades of grass in my front yard and I can see the fibers of the tennis ball that I am throwing to my dog as I visualize. I can feel the warmth of the sun on me. Work your way up to being able to see very specific details. In time, this will become easier for you.
Limit Distractions: I mentioned this earlier when talking about when I do goal visualization, but it is vitally important. When you visualize, you cannot have any distractions. Turn off your cell phone. Go to a room where you won’t be disturbed. It should be you and quiet so you can focus 100%.
This is especially important when first starting out since you need practice to get better. Once you have been visualizing success, some noise in the background isn’t the end of the world. But you still shouldn’t have your cell phone around when you are visualizing.
Don’t Give Up: You won’t be an expert at the start. You probably will even struggle a bit. For many, visualizing success isn’t natural. It is something that has to be learned, like riding a bike. You will fail in the beginning, but you have to keep trying and you will get better each time.
First Time Practice Tips
In addition to the above keys, I have a few exercises you can do to help you practice and become better at visualizing your goals.
One exercise is to practice seeing colors. Look at a page with various colors on them. Study the colors and then close your eyes. Now picture the colors.
Another exercise is to light a candle and sit close to it, ideally 3 feet away. Watch the flame and study its color and shape and how the flame moves. Now close your eyes and picture the flame. See the color and shape of it. See it move around. Open your eyes and repeat this exercise 3 more times.
When you first do these two exercises, the pictures in your mind will quickly fade. This is normal. As you get better at visualizing, the image will stay longer as your focus improves.
Finally, you can practice by using the video below. It will help you start out by focusing on images and then picturing them in your mind. As you get better, the images will float around and as such you will practice having them float when you visualize as well.
The Importance Of Visualizing Your Goals
At the end of the day, if you want to be successful, the making it a habit to visualize success is critical. But don’t think you can just sit back and day dream about a fantasy life a few times and magically your life will improve. Visualizing doesn’t work this way.
Visualization is a tool in your tool chest for reaching success and your goals. It works alongside hard work, surrounding yourself with good people, and pushing yourself to be your very best. It is not a substitute for any of these things.
Looking back at the example of shooting free throws should make this clear. Those who where most successful practiced their free throw shooting and visualized. It wasn’t one or the other. The key was doing both.
Overall, using goal visualization techniques goes a long way in helping you to achieve your goals and dreams. There have been countless times in my life where I visualize something and it comes to pass. It might not happen tomorrow or the next day, but it does happen.
I encourage you to start visualizing your goals today and see the difference it makes in your life.
[Photo Credit: Evgeni Dinev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net]