You’ve probably noticed that almost every week I’m here saying something about how wonderful meditation is. And that’s because it is.
(BTW you’ve made meditating a regular practice, right? Ok good.)
But there’s another tool that’s equally as important that I also encourage everyone to use in their daily practice.
But before we get into why it’s so important, let me ask you a question:
When was the last time you sat down and thought about all your goals in full-color glossy glorious detail?
I’m gonna wager a guess that it was a while ago, if even ever at all.
Which is too bad. Because our thoughts have power and the more time that we can spend tightly focused in on our goals, the more quickly and easily we’ll achieve them.
Being able to see what we want is the very first step towards making it happen. Everything begins as mental imagery.
It’s all too easy to say I want to meet that person, win that award or achieve that goal — but do we really understand what that would feel like or look like? Have we spent any amount of time at all imagining it? The more weight and power we can put behind that intention, the more likely we’ll be to achieve it.
Our mental images are important. They have weight, both psychologically and spiritually. And they really can change your reality.
You can think things into existence.
Evidence for Visualization
A study of four groups of Olympic athletes using different combinations of physical and mental training yielded some powerful results.
- Group 1: 100% physical training
- Group 2: 75% physical training, 25% mental training
- Group 3: 50% physical training, 50% mental training
- Group 4: 25% physical training, 75% mental training
As you might have suspected, it was Group 4 that performed the best. Which is crazy! The athletes spent the least amount of time physically training had the best results. It seems that time spent doing the work in our own mind is more valuable than time spent actually doing the work.
Scientists now believe that we may experience real-world and imaginary actions in similar ways. Your brain lights up in the same way whether you are just thinking about something or actually doing it.
How To Visualize
So now that you know that it works, how can you start to apply visualization techniques to your own life? Here’s an easy three-step process:
How To Visualize Step #1:
Find Your Goal
So what do you want to achieve in your life? What are your goals?
Right now I’m not going to get into what you’re dreaming about (and why). The only important thing here is to have something to aim for.
Remember that it’s okay if your goals change frequently (and they probably will!).
You don’t need to imagine the same thing every day, in exactly the same way. Just don’t try to target more than one thing at a time: imagine your dream vacation one day and meeting a new SO the next.
How To Visualize Step #2:
Set Your Timer
The important part of visualization is making it a regular practice. Doing something once and then forgetting about it for six months won’t do much at all. So instead of trying to spend 45 minutes in visualization today, I encourage you to tackle a more manageable amount and then stick to it.
For me, that means five minutes. Yup, that’s it! I set a timer and tack my practice on to the end of my meditation practice. But unlike meditation, you can practice visualization anywhere. Why not try it out the next time you’re commuting home on the train or while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store? Just make sure that you use a timer so that you know you’ve hit your target.
How To Visualize Step #3:
The only trick to visualization is to make it as real as possible. So begin to focus on what it would really feel like to achieve your goal.
- How would you feel physically and mentally?
- What would it feel like to call your friends and family with the news?
- What would it actually feel like to talk to your new boyfriend or new business mentor?
- What would it feel like to accept the award? To wear the outfit? To hit the milestone?
The more weight we can put into vividly imagining these scenarios the more likely they are to come true. So walk on stage or through your new apartment door. Look around you. Feel it as much as you can: sight, sound, touch, smell.
Again, don’t feel the need to visualize things exactly the same way every time. Stay open to new possibilities. Maybe you’re suddenly inspired to picture a bigger and better apartment or a more prestigious work award. Go for it! The more excited you can get about what you’re imagining, the more effective the exercise will be.
It might not be a matter of wiggling your nose Samantha-from-Bewitched style but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work! And besides, envisioning a happy future is fun exercise and a great boost for when you’re feeling low or uninspired.
Please play around and have fun with your new visualization practice! I hope you manifest and change your life with ease and grace. See you again next week!