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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

13 Visualization Techniques to Help You Reach Your Goals

13 Visualization Techniques to Help You Reach Your Goals

Broadly speaking, visualization is all about generating a mental picture that helps you achieve your goals. In some cases, it serves as motivation. In others, it allows you to relieve your anxiety and increase your focus.

In any case, the right visualization techniques can help you succeed—no matter what you’re aspiring to achieve.

What Are Visualization Techniques For?

Let’s take a look at some of the common ways visualization techniques are applied:

  • Motivation – Most of us have experienced difficulty in finding motivation. Visualization can remind you what you’re trying to accomplish, and inspire you to keep working hard to achieve your goals.
  • Confidence – Picturing yourself in a successful or powerful position can conjure feelings of confidence that you’ll be able to achieve this. It’s a neat mental trick that yields a powerful effect.
  • Rehearsal – In some applications, visualization can be used to rehearse a scenario before it unfolds in real life, essentially giving you a “practice run.”
  • Anxiety Reduction – Visualization is also beneficial for stress management if you can use it to assuage your intrusive thoughts or clear your mind of distractions.

13 Best Visualization Techniques (And How to Use Them)

Now let’s dig into the most powerful visualization techniques—and how you can use them to get better results in your personal and professional life.

1. Visualize Yourself Succeeding at Your Goal

This is the easiest visualization technique and the one that most people start with. Simply visualize yourself succeeding at your goal.

You might picture yourself crossing the finish line of a marathon race or see yourself shaking the hand of the CEO after a major promotion. As long as you have some kind of visual in your head, you’ll be able to derive motivation and confidence from the experience.

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2. Establish Triggered Visuals

Our minds are notoriously good at connecting experiences together; it’s why even a faint whiff of a scent can trigger a powerful memory and a flood of emotions. You can set yourself up for success by creating your own triggers.

For example, you can spend time exposing yourself to some kind of sensory input, like listening to a song you love while visualizing something positive. Then, when you need to perform, you can replicate that sensory input and capitalize on the visualization.

For example, you might train for a powerlifting competition with a specific playlist, and play that playlist during the competition to call up the visuals you rehearsed.

3. Create a Vision Board

Our first two examples involve the classic form of visualization: internally visualizing a scenario. However, some people suffer from a condition known as aphantasia, rendering them unable to conjure mental imagery.[1]

If this describes you or if you simply prefer something more tangible, consider creating a vision board. A vision board is typically a collection of photographs and images that remind you of your goals and narrow your focus.

For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you might create a vision board of images of your goal body. Put it somewhere so that you can see it regularly. This works similarly to an analytics dashboard commonly used in business. That which is measured and monitored is improved!

4. Write Yourself a Check

Another effective visualization technique in a physical environment is to write yourself a check (if your goals are monetary in nature). For example, if you want to become a millionaire by age 40, you can write a check to yourself for $1 million and have it framed.

This is a strategy famously used by comedian Jim Carrey, who wrote himself a $10 million check dated 10 years in the future.[2]

5. Use a Notecard to Make Your Goals Physical

If your goals aren’t monetary in nature but you’re still looking for a way to make your images more grounded in the real world, consider writing your aspirations down on a notecard.

The best way to frame these messages is with intention and confidence. Instead of writing “My goal is to improve my relationships with my family,” write, “I will improve my relationships with my family.”

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Again, put these notecards where they’ll be seen regularly to consistently remind you of their existence.

6. Create a “Happy Place”

This visualization technique is best applied as a way to mitigate stress and anxiety. If you frequently find yourself overwhelmed or unable to perform when trying to accomplish something, consider coming up with a “happy place” you can visit and use as a method to destress.

For some people, a happy place is being isolated on a boat in the middle of an open pool of water. For others, it’s in the middle of a mosh pit at a punk rock concert. It doesn’t matter what your happy place is, so long as thinking about it soothes your negative feelings and eases your racing thoughts.

7. Convert Your Desires Into Beliefs

Most people frame their visualizations as things they want to happen, rather than as things they believe will happen. If you want to be successful, it’s important to make the change. Converting your desires into beliefs is an important and effective visualization technique.

If you’re already visualizing hypothetical scenarios, all you need to do is shift the way you consider them. Instead of imagining them as a form of wishful thinking, convince yourself that this is a form of predicting the future.

This is what is going to happen if you stay committed to your goals.

8. Rehearse Potential Situations

In many fields, it’s beneficial to use visualization as a way to rehearse potential situations you may face—especially if those situations are stressful or unpredictable.

For example, let’s say you’re planning to initiate a difficult conversation with your boss about a topic that’s been bothering you for months. Visualization can help you imagine your boss’s response to everything you might say and plot out different branches that the dialogue could follow.

If done right, this can help reduce your stress, making the worst-case scenarios seem more manageable, while simultaneously equipping you with better skills for navigating the situation as it unfolds.

Just be careful not to rehearse so much that you become unprepared to deal with developments you didn’t see coming.

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9. Visualize Multiple Potential Options

Most of the time, the best way to utilize visualization is to picture a single option; you win the race, you lose the weight, you get the promotion, etc. But it may also be helpful to visualize multiple potential options.

What are all the ways this could pan out? What are the best-case and worst-case scenarios?

Again, this is a way to moderate your fears. Just don’t spend too long visualizing negative outcomes, or they may come to dominate the narrative. Always shift back to a more positive mindset.

10. Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes

Chances are, there’s someone you look up to or someone who has achieved your desired goals in the past. Consider using visualization to put yourself in their shoes. This visualization technique allows you to establish a connection with their strongest (or weakest) moments.

For example, what was Steve Jobs thinking when he was originally ousted from Apple, and how was he able to recover? What was Muhammad Ali thinking when he beat Sonny Liston?

Choose a role model you find interesting, and study their path to success or victory—just don’t let survivorship bias cloud your judgment too much.

11. Flesh Out Your Visualizations With Sensory Experiences

At this point, you have the strategies and direction necessary to engage in positive visuals that motivate, inspire, and empower you. Now, let’s focus on a couple of strategies that can help you improve the quality of those visuals.

One key way to make your visualizations seem more “real” and allow them to affect you more strongly is to flood them with detailed sensory experiences.

What is the temperature in your visualization? Who is around you, and what are they wearing? Is there music playing in the background, or can you hear the ambient noise? What are you smelling?

The richer your visualizations are, the more powerful they can become.

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12. Add Positive Energy Into Every Instance of Visualization

Positive thinking is shown to have massive psychological benefits, such as reducing your stress and improving your mood.[3]

Accordingly, you should be framing your visualizations with positive thoughts. If you feel a negative thought intrude your mind in response to your visualization, combat it with a corresponding positive.

For example, you might think to yourself, “who am I kidding? I’ll never be able to accomplish that.” Meet that negative thought with a positive twist: “I may not have been able to accomplish that in the past, but I can now” or “I may hit some major obstacles along the way, but I will accomplish this.”

13. Picture a Happy Memory From Your Past

Most visualization techniques are all about the future, setting you up for success or helping you play out hypothetical scenarios. But it’s also occasionally useful to visualize the past.

Think of a happy memory or a place you used to love; visualize yourself surrounded by people who have loved and supported you, and imagine how you felt in those moments.

It may be just what you need to get through a tough situation.

Bottom Line

Through visualization, you’ll be able to boost your confidence, motivate yourself, and decrease the stress and anxiety you feel as you face new challenges head-on. The more you practice it, the easier it’s going to get.

More Tips on How to Reach Your Goals

Featured photo credit: Simon Migaj via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Jayson DeMers

Entrepreneur and Productivity Expert

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Find Your Passion and Live a More Fulfilling Life

How to Find Your Passion and Live a More Fulfilling Life

If you could do one thing to transform your life, I would highly recommend it be to find something you’re passionate about, and do it for a living. Learning how to find your passion may not be as easy as it sounds, but it’s well worth the effort.

If you dread going to your job, find yourself constantly lacking motivation, or find what you’re doing dull and repetitive, you need to start looking for a new job.

Staying in your current job will not only continue to leave you feeling stuck and make you unhappy, but you are not realizing your full potential in life.

Imagine this instead:

You get up early, jumping out of bed, excited to go to work. You might put in more hours than the average person, but it doesn’t seem difficult to you, because your work hours just zoom right by.

You are often in that state of mind, often referred to as “flow,” where you can lose track of the world and time, losing yourself in the task at hand. Work is not work as many people refer to it, but something that is fun and interesting and exciting. It’s not a “job” but a passion that leads to a fulfilling life.

If you’ve got a job you dislike, or even hate, this will sound like a pipe dream to you. And if you never put in the effort to find what you’re passionate about, such a thing will never be possible.

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However, if you dare to ask “how do I find my passion,” imagine the possibilities, and actually search for what you love, it is not only a possibility, but a probability.

How do you go about learning how to find your passion in life? Here are some suggestions:

1. Is There Something You Already Love Doing?

Do you have a hobby or something you loved doing as a child, but never considered it as a possibility for a job?

Whether it’s reading comic books, collecting something, or creating or building, there is probably a way you could do it for a living. Open a comic book shop, or create a comic book site online.

If there’s already something you love doing, you’re ahead of the game. Now you just need to research the possibilities of making money from it.

2. Find out What You Spend Hours Reading About

For myself, when I get passionate about something, I’ll read about it for hours on end. I’ll buy books and magazines. I’ll spend days on the Internet finding out more.

There may be a few possibilities here for you, and all of them are possible career paths. Don’t close your mind to these topics. Look into them until you feel your heart is content, and this will help you get started as you learn how to find your passion.

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3. Brainstorm

If nothing comes to mind right away as you’re asking how to find my passion, get out a sheet of paper and start writing down ideas[1]. This doesn’t need to be an organized list. It can simply be a paper full of random notes or even doodles. All of this will eventually come in handy later.

Look around your house, on your computer, or on your bookshelf for inspiration, and write down whatever comes to mind. There are no bad ideas at this stage.

4. Ask Around

There are likely people you admire in life, and there are things about them that you would like to replicate in yourself. Go to them if possible, and pick their brain. See how they landed where they currently are and whether they feel they’ve discovered their passion.

The more possibilities you find, the more likely your chances of learning how to find your passion in the long run. This may mean that you spend time talking to friends and family, coworkers, or even acquaintances in your free time.

5. Don’t Quit Your Job Just Yet

If you find your calling, your passion, don’t just turn in your resignation tomorrow. It’s best to stay in your job while you’re researching the possibilities.

If you can do your passion as a side job and build up the income for a few months or a year, that’s even better. It gives you a chance to build up some savings (and if you’re going into business for yourself, you’ll need that cash reserve), while practicing the skills you need.

6. Give It a Try First

It’s best to actually test your new idea before jumping into it as a career as you’re wondering how to find your passion. Do it as a hobby or side job at first, so that you can see if it’s really your true calling.

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You may be passionate about it for a few days, but where the rubber meets the road is whether you’re passionate about it for at least a few months.

If you pass this test, you have probably found it.

7. Do as Much Research as Possible

Know as much about your passion as possible. If this has been a passion for a while, you may have already been doing this. At any rate, do even more research. Read every website possible on the topic, and buy the best books available.

Find other people, either in your area or on the Internet, who do what you want to do for a living, and quiz them about the profession.

How much do they make, and what training and education did they need? What skills are necessary, and how did they get their start? What recommendations do they have?

Often, you’ll find that people are more than willing to give advice.

8. Practice, and Practice, and Practice Some More

If you’re getting close to learning how to find your passion, don’t go into it with amateur skill level. If you want to make money—to be a professional—you need to have professional skills.

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Get very good at your future career, and you will make money at it. Practice for hours on end and learn how to focus; if it’s something you love, the practice should be something you want to do.

9. Never Quit Trying

It’s possible that you won’t be able to find your passion at first. However, if you give up after a few days, you’re sure to fail. Keep trying, for months on end if necessary, and you’ll find it eventually.

Perhaps you thought you found your passion but discovered several months on that it wasn’t for you. Start over again and find a new passion. There may be more than one passion in your lifetime, so explore all the possibilities.

Have you found your passion but haven’t been successful making a living at it? Keep trying, and try again until you succeed. Success doesn’t come easy, so giving up early is a sure way to fail.

If you need a little help, the Make It Happen Handbook can provide you with a solid action plan to help you turn your passion in your career. Check out the handbook and start to live your passion!

The Bottom Line

Don’t forget that all of this will be a lot of work, but it will be the best investment you’ve ever made. Put in the time to learn how to find your passion, and you will find that your days are more fulfilling and produce more happiness and well-being in the long-term.

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Featured photo credit: Dewet Willemse via unsplash.com

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