Visualize your goals to make them more achievable.
We all daydream at times. Some of us are better at it than others. Do your daydreams slip from that into day-mares? Becoming lost in thought when floating down a gentle river becomes a moment of terror as the dreamboat springs a leak and sinks under a heavy current.
If that’s too extreme, consider how many times your spouse or child been late coming home, and you already had them lying at the side of a road somewhere, hurt and in trouble? How many times have you assumed the worse when you haven’t been able to get a hold of someone?
Visualizing Creates Biases in Our Minds
We create our opportunities. We also produce our failures. By using visualization to reach your Yearly Goals, you can steer which direction you want to go – positive or negative. Remember: where you are now is the result of choices made so far. I had a brilliant business coach years ago who told me “where you are now is a reflection of what you did six months ago.” That has really stuck with me and keeps me in action!
So how do you create that dream that will take you to success and that Best Year ever?
Be specific. Use numbers, use dates. “I will lose X pounds by THIS date.” “I will be earning X dollars a year by THIS time.” Dig into the details. Goals need to be measurable, so you know when you’ve reached them and how close you are to achieving them.
Put it in writing. Writing things down bypasses the conscious mind and sets the goal into the subconscious. The subconscious mind is where you store habits, where automatic responses are born.
Use pictures and visuals. Some people clip photos from magazines that represent the things they want. That helps the brain attach a visual to the goal. The subconscious also deals in images and symbols.
Harness the power of your overactive imagination. Our brain doesn’t distinguish between dream and reality. Making the connection from here to the end goal creates neural pathways that the brain interprets as having accomplished the goal. This makes it feel achievable and knocks down mental roadblocks that otherwise may have stalled or sidelined your progress.
Put all the oars in the water to move toward success.
But not everything is about mind over matter. Using visualization is a tool. It’s a good one, but it’s only one. It helps the process; it doesn’t replace it. The process is hard work and sweat. That still applies. You still need to put the work in to make things happen.
Visualization can be expedient. If the mind sees that something has already occurred, it’s less likely to balk when presented with such a big and intimidating task as some goals can appear to be.
If you keep these things firmly in mind, you can control the amount the mind panics or fails or tries to shy away from the task at hand.
It may be hard work to meet your goal. Most things worth achieving take hard work. That’s the point. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be taking a whole year to get there. The result will be worth the effort!
Partner the visuals in your mind with real world images and objects to magnify success.
On the shores of Lake Titicaca lies the town of Copacabana, Bolivia. The town is home to many exciting sites, one of which is a 16th century colonial church. Outside the church on Sundays people come with their cars to have them blessed, presumably to keep them running for another week.
Another neat feature outside the gates of the church is a table of objects for sale. When I first walked by I assumed it was just another vendor selling their wares but upon closer inspection I noticed there were no llama hats or colorful purses but rather a table full of toys. There were cars, and little houses, stacks of play money and condominium doll houses. I found out later that these were not toys for the kids but in fact serious items for the adults. What lay before me was a powerful principle in the world of goal setting.
When people make a pilgrimage to Copacabana, they go to the church and purchase one of these trinkets from the table outside, like a car. Then they wait for the church service to end and the priest will come outside and bless the item they are holding in their hand. With this blessing people return home with desired object in hand.
You may not be going to Copacabana anytime soon but you there is a powerful principle at work here. Having an object that physically represents your goal is one way to up the chances of you actually attaining it.
Pictures, or miniature representations of your goals help you in the following ways:
1. Focus – Constantly having your goal in front of you helps you say no to the distractions, which will derail your progress. Most of us do not reach our goals because we cannot stay focused. Having a constant reminder in front of you ups your odds.
2. Motivation – When we lose motivation to pursue our goals we quickly get off track. A physical representation helps us keep the image before us and gives us strength to say no to distractions that may compromise our efforts. The image helps us stay motivated to pursue our goal.
3. Eye Opener – Having your goal in front of you creates a state of alertness to anything related to your goal. This enables your Reticular Activating System (your brain’s filter) to let in any messages related to your goal. By having more access to these stimuli you will now begin to notice more and more opportunities related to your goal. If you are planning a trip to Hawaii and you constantly have a visual representation in front of you, you will automatically pick up on any cues related to Hawaii. You may overhear a coworker talk about their recent trip to paradise, which prompts you to ask them about accommodation options. It might turn out that they own a condo, which they would be happy to rent to you for half the price of any hotel. You may think how lucky you are, but it really is a case of your brain pricking up on relevant cues because you had kept your goal of Hawaii in front of you.
Physical representations of your goals can take various forms:
- A dream board – A photo collage of the things representing your goals
- Miniature versions of your goal
- Screen savers or photos on your desktop of your goal.
- Warning sticker on your credit card – this is helpful if your goal requires you to save money.
- Writing on your mirror with washable felt a list of your goals
There are many more possibilities, what is important is that you have some way to remind yourself of your final destination and that you put it in a place where you will see it often. Even the process alone of creating your physical representation can be motivating.
I journal and I use dream boards. I used to do both of these by hand, but man…the paper and I just want to be done with “stuff” in my life. So now I do both of these activities on my laptop. I use Canva to create vision boards and I journal by emailing to myself, almost every day, and then I save those emails in a file called My Journal. This makes it easier to go back to a certain date and see, for example a year ago what was I journaling about. It helps me track my priorities and my results. And there’s something magical about getting stuff out of your head and onto “paper.” Even if it’s virtual paper.
I encourage you to find the ways that work for you to visualize your goals. The deep subconscious mind is 100% visual. It does not process language at that level; it converts all of your thoughts into visual images and responds only to visual images. That’s why it’s so important and so powerful to visualize your goals – it makes them familiar, and therefore comfortable and safe and then they become real!