When setting a new goal in life, do you ever close your eyes and picture yourself, vividly and clearly, achieving your goal? What does it looks like? What does it feel like? What does it smell and sound like?
Setting a goal is a great way to put ourselves on the track towards success. When we take the time to actually picture what that success looks like, we take big step closer to achieving our goal in real life.
Athletes have a handy trick for performing better in a game. Before they start, they picture themselves making a goal and scoring. Musicians do it too, by picturing themselves playing the correct notes before going on stage.
What they’ve learned to do is a more-than-nifty trick that involves our brain: When we visualize something in our head, neurons equate the visualization to real-life action.
With goal-setting, our success is often defined by small actions that lead to huge results overtime. Working towards a result that isn’t real right away can keep a lot of us from sticking to our new behaviors. We try a new facial regimen, and rush to the mirror to see if our face is clear. We start learning a new language, and quickly try to jump into fluent conversation.
When we don’t see the results we want as quickly as we want, we can struggle to keep working towards our goal. But if we visualizethe results we want, our brain begins to recognize our future goal as reality before we’ve reached it.
Now our goal isn’t just a possibility. It’s something real and attainable. When we start making small but meaningful changes in our life, we know what we’re working towards. We now have something almost tangible to hold on to, that fuels us to put in the work to achieve our goal.
Goals often are made because we want to make a change in our life, whether big or small. Working towards change can mean putting ourselves in new, unexplored territory. Lots of us have felt the nervous uncertainty that comes with being in a city we’re unfamiliar with - those jitters can also pop up when taking the plunge into a new goal.
Having a visualization of what the outcome will be gives us the confidence to keep working, even when unexpected setbacks arise. We know it’s okay if we feel uncertain in the moment, because those early stages will lead to the picture of success we know we have in our head. Visualizing our goals leads to self-confidence, and the importance of believing in our actions and ourselves can’t be overstated when it comes to our personal success!
When we visualize what we want, the deeper we go, the better the results. Goal setting isn’t just knowing what we want to achieve and why - it’s also understanding the process and challenges involved in achieving what we want.
If we create a picture that’s as vivid as possible of our desired reality, we’re forced to define the small details. More detailed goals help us map out the steps we need to take to reach what we want.
Goal visualization is not just a tried and true method for reaching goals: it’s also very fun, and there are a bunch of ways you can do it!
The simplest way is an easy meditation practice. Go to a quiet place by yourself and close your eyes. Have a goal in mind that you are going to base your visualization on. Breathe deeply for at least 10 breaths to center yourself. Then, start to create a mental image of yourself achieving your goal. Be as detailed as possible. Where are you? Who is with you? What sounds can you hear? What are you feeling? Focus and stay in this place for several minutes, expanding on as many details as you can, pretending you are really there. Try to meditate on this on a regular basis - especially if you ever feel yourself slipping away from your goal. This is a great resource for inspiration and empowerment, to remind yourself what you are working towards.
Another way to goal visualize - that is a little more involved - is by writing out what achieving your goal looks like. This can be a fun activity if you treat it as a short story of your future self.
Write as detailed as possible what it’s like achieving your goal. You can add visual reinforcements to help. This activity of putting our ideas to paper is helpful because we can notice on the page new details or opportunities within our goal that we didn’t notice before. Those little connections we make can be great inspiration for us!
One of our favorite ways to visualize our goals is by making a vision board. This can be especially fun and inspiring when we do it with a group of people.
Pull together a stack of old magazines, books, and photos or illustrations that you won’t mind cutting up. Use a large, heavy piece of paper as your canvas. With a goal in mind, start cutting out pictures and words that reinforce what you want out of your goal. Start gluing or taping them to your canvas. Once your canvas is full, you now have a personal reminder of what your goal looks like, and what you’re working towards. Plus, doing it in a group means bouncing off new ideas!
Goal-setting is a great way to achieve what we want in our life. It takes our dreams and desires out of the background and into the foreground. If we can find ways to make the journey not just easier but more enjoyable, we can all bring ourselves a big step closer to achieving the reality we want!
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