The end of the year brings about the tradition of resolutions. Although goal-making is something you should be active in year-round, there is no better time than now to acquire some new skills in “goal visualization.”
Whether you are a master at sticking to your resolutions, or you are like most of us who fall off the wagon before attainment, there are highly effective ways to make your year 2017 goals undoubtedly come to fruition.
What is visualization?
Visualization is a conscious, proactive practice where you imagine clearly end results in such a way that there is an impact in your mental and physical realities. The human brain is really good at imagining things, for better or for worse, so use that power for good.
For example, Sports and Exercise Psychologists often have athletes or performers visualize making difficult shots or choreography prior to physically doing it. The brain activates in the same way whether you are merely perceiving the action or moving.
Cool, right? Now, let’s make it work for you in goal-setting and achieving.
1. Abandon the to-do lists
You have to know what you want in order to properly visualize it. So often people think of goals like a to-do or grocery store list. And while some steps along the way to realizing the long-term goal can be “checked off,” there is a problem with that thought process.
How many times do you write the grocery list but never look at it once you get to the store? Then you get home, read over what you wrote, and realize that you forgot the milk again?
Here is the issue: you are not maintaining a clear focus on what is it you want. You merely overload yourself with the pieces. Some of those components are not even necessary.
2. Visualize the future
As I mentioned before, athletes do this thing called “mental rehearsal.” Here is how it works. Just like meditation – and sometimes even during this kind of quiet time -you find yourself with a moment to gaze into the future.
Set the stage. Imagine yourself somewhere you passionately wish to be: on stage, over an operating table, in a court room, standing before a blackboard, for example. See every detail of the place. That means note the colors, the lines in the floorboards, the art hanging on the walls, the tools, seats, clothing. Engage all over the senses until it feels as if this is reality.
Once you have created the environment, integrate yourself into it. Embody it. Act within it, either by moving throughout the space, opening doors or windows, or simply running your hands across the ground.
After visualizing and embodying, you step out of the picture. Imagine stepping out of a room, back into the current place in time. Some people even “swallow” the mental picture they made up. However, you can keep it with you, do that.
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3. Draw mind maps
I did this back when I was receiving cognitive-behavioral therapy. It does not matter if you have the drawing skills of a child, because there is different ways to go about it. Do not limit yourself to drawing. Incorporate pictures.
An example of what I am talking about would be finally completing your novel. On a piece of paper or poster board, gather up images – hand-drawn, printed off the internet, or clipped from magazines – to create the settings, the people, and eventually even the hypothetical cover of the book.
If words pop up, draw them too. If there are places you need to go for research, paste pictures of those landmarks. Draw a plane ticket if it helps. See yourself there – wherever that is. Believe it.
Sometimes affirmations are used for reminding ourselves of positive things about ourselves, like “I am strong, invincible, and will achieve my goals.”
But for visualization purposes, affirmations become a verbal key to unlocking images. For example, “I am standing on the street in front of my new apartment in Brussels, gazing up at the balcony, covered in my favorite houseplants, and there is a cat in the window. I am 10 pounds lighter too.”
Make one for yourself and say it often. You will be amazed by how motivating affirmations are.
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The best way to visualize your 2017 goals is to be proactive about them. Due to how engaged you must be with your future, if you believe in the changes that can be made, you will be more driven to aspire to a personal level of triumph. Use your imagination. It is a remarkable thing.