You have a dream for the future. But for some reason, the completion of the goal always stays just out of reach. Every day you strive, but something, somehow, is always holding you back.
Have you considered the problem might be…you?
It’s an uncomfortable thought. Not that you aren’t doing enough. The funny thing is, you can still be half-killing yourself with effort and not getting anywhere. No, what we’re talking about here are the ways you hold yourself back, either consciously or subconsciously. The mind if a powerful thing and can very easily become a roadblock keeping you from ultimate success. How?
The answer to this is relatively straightforward. Negative self-talk, constant worry…these things start chipping away at self-confidence. We start building walls internally, which keep us from moving forward. Every piece of half-remembered criticism becomes another brick, mortared in place with our own self-doubts.
Thankfully, there is a tool that can destroy these walls, with minimal effort on your own. It’s called visualization, and there’s a whole lot more to it than ‘looking on the bright side’ as so many people think.
Visualization has been around for centuries and has been used in both Eastern and Western philosophies. There’s mention of it in the works written by the ancient Romans, and it’s seen again in places as diverse as the Canterbury Tales published in the 14th century. The idea behind it is relatively simple.
Visualization starts in your mind, using the imagination to form very detailed images to create your vision of the future. As you work to build these images, you’re also working through the emotions that come with the visualization, and believe it or not, are doing the work to form the future you’re creating.
The process is straightforward. You start with your goal. From there, you create the outcome of this goal. What does it look like? Smell like? Taste like? Spend time creating every detail. When you have this image, pay attention because you’re going to want to revisit this several times a day. Eventually, when you feel comfortable with this stage, you’re going to go back and layer in all kinds of good emotion into this image, until it feels positive and light when you examine it again. Imagine success as coming right here and now. Imagine how you feel when it does.
You need to think of visualization as a way of opening doors to the future. Sound hard? It’s not. Try these tips to get you on track quickly and easily:
Visualization, or any kind of positive mindset for that matter, never works well when you’re coming at it frantically and stressed. While visualization is a great place to start with, calming yourself to the kind of visualization geared toward reaching goals, you also might want to pay attention to how you set yourself up for a session of visualization. A quiet place, in a relaxing atmosphere, is necessary. Pay attention to the ambiance as well. Think about adding in soft music (if it’s not distracting), candlelight, or even diving into a bubble bath first to get yourself in the right frame of mind.
Having trouble building your first visualizations? Try writing down what you want in detail. You can use this description as a launch point for your visualization sessions. Remember to add in details as you would for any visualization.
Use positive words to give yourself a good talking to as you figure out your visualization. Remind yourself of your successes and how this is also going to be a success. Use pleasant words to build yourself up. Remember, negativity has no place in this dialogue.
Visualizations are not about other people, so don’t waste time casting celebrities or heroes into the starring role. This is about you. You’re the one who should be center stage.
Dig into Details Don’t just picture a single image when creating your first visualizations. Add in the texture and nuance to the image. Say you want to win a tennis championship. Seeing the trophy in your mind is a great start. But you’re cheating yourself out of true success by not including in the tennis match which earns you that trophy. See the game, play it in your mind all the way to the winning stroke. Use the image of the trophy as the culmination of the vision. See someone placing it into your arms when the match is over.
The big long-term goals are great. They’re also impossible to reach without a whole lot of smaller short-term goals creating the steps to get there. Don’t just visualize the great big goal. Also, spend time visualizing the next level or steps. Map the path needed to get you where you want to go, and you’ll have no trouble finding your way when the time comes.
When visualizing, it’s easy to become caught up in the image of what you want. But what about your other senses? Don’t just see things, but hear them, feel, taste, and smell the future if you can. Adding in all the senses truly puts you right there.
While engaging the senses will make for a richer visualization, don’t forget the emotional tone you’re looking for to complete the picture. What do you want to feel in your visualization? Are you happy? Ecstatic? Satisfied? Energized? Whatever you think you should be feeling from the outcome, be sure to include also to make the visualization come to life truly.
Practice truly does make perfect. The more you do visualization, the easier it will be to slip into those visions, and the more likely you are to see success. Make a point of taking time for visualization throughout the day, especially when you find yourself feeling tension, anxiety, or frustration.
Sometimes visualization might seem hard, especially if you’re not used to doing it. If you’re intimidated by the thought of getting started, don’t be afraid to seek out mentors, even virtually. There are many videos online with guided visualizations. Also, seek out books written by experts who know a lot about the subject. But don’t discount what you can also learn from your friends. It never hurts to ask questions, especially from people who are further along this journey than you are.
The biggest stumbling block to visualization is always ourselves. Negative self-talk, and the sure belief you’re not good enough, smart enough, or even that people like you, will set you back a thousand percent of the time. Be aware you might have some work to do regarding this self-talk as you move forward. Working through the reasons why you try to talk yourself into failure should be the first step when this happens.
The best visualizations take those around us under consideration as well. Don’t just focus on a successful outcome for yourself. Instead, ask, how can my vision or goal benefit someone else. Now you’re thinking bigger. Even better, this is the kind of thinking which changes the world.
Visualization involves an awareness of how things come together. This, in turn, leads to the awareness mentioned above of how your dreams impact the world. When looking at the big picture, this awareness doesn’t just let you know how you will impact others with your dream in a physical way, but in the ways that matter. You start learning empathy and even finding sympathy for others in this kind of deep focus. From here, you build the outcomes which not only benefit others, but this benefit becomes the primary goal of your vision. Here is where you build the kind of character worth having.
As mentioned before, Visualization always works best if you practice it often. To make sure you’re getting the optimal benefit out of the experience, make a ritual of it. Put visualization on your schedule at a time when your mind is alert and ready to receive the idea. Either first thing after you get up or right before bed seems to work best.
If you start worrying there is a “Right way” or a “Wrong way” to do things, you’re going to wind up shutting yourself down. The only way to fail at this is to stop doing it or to allow negativity to block you from the process. Relax, and just do. You’ll find your way in no time.
Going Visualization has a way of leaving you full of hope and positive energy when you’re finished. Don’t let this feeling fade when you open your eyes. Hold onto these feelings and allow the energy to guide your next actions. This is the real power of visualization at work right here! Conclusion Visualization is something you need to practice for the best success. So, no matter what you’re imagining, give yourself time to settle into the visualization, and to revisit it often. Over time you’ll be amazed at how life-changing it can be just to open your mind a little and give yourself room for the possibility of success. There here is the very key to visualization itself. Once you've mastered this, your dreams are yours for the taking!
Visualization is something you need to practice for the best success. So, no matter what you’re imagining, give yourself time to settle into the visualization, and to revisit it often. Over time you’ll be amazed at how life-changing it can be just to open your mind a little and give yourself room for the possibility of success. There here is the very key to visualization itself. Once you have mastered this, your dreams are yours for the taking!
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