As a kid, you were practically obsessed with getting that shiny new 10-speed blue bicycle. Or you wanted to win the high-stakes piano competition. Remember how you felt? Looking back on your well-honed kid skills, you may now realize that visualization is a powerful tool to achieve your goal.
Kids come by this naturally. As adults, we find it harder to activate our imaginations or lean into our feelings. Visualization works on two levels:
- Outcome visualization
- Process visualization
Visualizing the outcome
You’ve heard about this. The idea is that you visualize $1 million in your bank account. Or driving your Ferrari. Or seeing yourself graduate from a prestigious university.
Those are examples of outcome visualization.
Outcomes could be:
- Physical: Cash, a car, weight loss, etc.
- Relational: Finding a mate, repairing a failed marriage, etc.
- Achievement: Getting a new job, flying an airplane, etc.
To help get the image of those outcomes in your head you could:
- Cut out photos from magazines and paste them on a vision board or in a scrapbook
- Use the Miro tool to arrange photos and then put the app on your phone or your iPad
- Plug the images into your screensaver
- Use Pinterest or anything that will improve your ability to embrace that as a mental image.
You could also write text. Journaling is one example.
It may not matter if you use text or images. The aim is to fix the thought or image of the outcome in your brain as if it were happening right now.
Visualizing the process
Most people are less familiar with process visualization.
In this situation, the person visualizes the steps or the choices along the way.
Athletes do this all the time. Tiger Woods visualizes how he’s going to swing the club. Similarly, Michael Jordan visualizes how he’s going to throw the ball to make the free throw. These are excellent examples to demonstrate that process visualization is a powerful tool.
Interestingly, studies have shown that the process of visualizing can be more effective than visualizing the outcome.
Critical points for visualization
After I read Shakti Gawain’s book, Creative Visualization, I began to do some of what she suggested. It works.
If you’re still thinking it’s a bunch of malarkey, please suspend disbelief for just a moment.
There are dozens (if not hundreds!) of videos on YouTube (including TED Talks) where people describe how they used visualization to improve their processes to meet their goals.
A few points are critical to making visualization work for you:
- Make it specific. “Lose weight” or “become wealthy” is not a specific goal.
- Become entirely relaxed when you do your visualizing.
- Believe that what you want is attainable. If you find yourself trying to manifest a million dollars in cash before sunrise, you won’t succeed in getting the money, because that’s not believable. Instead, try visualizing having a million dollars in your account within the next 3 years.
- You must have emotion to accompany your visualization. As the old saying goes, emotion is energy in motion. If you don’t have that the emotion, it won’t work.
- Be grateful for what you have. It’s hard to attract more of something when you have no gratitude for what you already possess.
- End your visualizing session by letting go and believing that it will happen.
Visualization is a powerful tool. All of us should try visualization for either process, or outcome, or both!
Have you used visualization to attain your goals? Share your tips in the comments below.