Thought is the most powerful force in the universe. Our thoughts are the controlling factor in what we manifest and create in our lives. The idea precedes the thing. - John Assaraf's The Answer
In this blog I am going to introduce the concept of visualisation and explain how you can use visualisation as a powerful technique to create success. As Einstein’s relativity revolution revealed, everything is made of energy. Everything from the tea in your cup to the cup itself, the cells in your body to the thoughts in your mind—they’re all energy. In his ground-breaking book, The Answer, author and behaviour expert John Assaraf explains, “Thought is the most powerful force in the universe. Our thoughts are the controlling factor in what we manifest and create in our lives. The idea precedes the thing.”
Visualisation is a powerful technique that can help you manifest and attract what you want, whether that is with the short term goals or a situation in this particular moment, as well as being used for your long term goals that maybe a year or two or five years in the future.
Visualising success has been used by phenomenally successful people all over the world, from athletes and entrepreneurs alike. This is something I was first introduced when I started to read books like “The Secret” and Assaraf’s “The Answer”. I have personally used visualisation to help me achieve success in everything from overcoming my eating disorder and depression to landing a new job or promotion. I’ll share how I do this with you a bit later on.
In January 2016, a Forbes business magazine article written by journalist Eilene Zimmerman outlined the popular use of visualisation from a 2016 survey on visualising success. The survey was completed by TD Bank and involved more than 1,100 people and 500 small business owners who used visualisation for their business goals through pictures and idea boards. The survey revealed that most two-thirds of small business owners believe that visualising goals helped them map and develop their business plans and eighty-two percent of small business owners who used a vision board reported that they have accomplished more.
In her article Visualize Your Way to Success (Really!), small-business adviser, Marla Tabaka writes that “as we routinely and intentionally visualise a desired outcome, and step into the belief that it is possible, our brains increase the motivation to make it happen. We become more and more determined to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.” Visualisation is about seeing the goal as already complete in your mind’s eye. Like Tabaka writes, I find that using this technique helps to keep me motivated, as well as harness my brain to accomplish my goals.
In a nutshell, yes! Visualisation is effective because it harnesses the power of our subconscious mind.
In a Psychology Today piece article Seeing is Believing: The Power of Visualization, AJ Adams, a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP), refers to a study which looked at the brain patterns of weightlifters. The study found that “mental practices are almost as effective as true physical practice.” Our brain can “train” for actual performance during visualisation. Adams writes that mental imagery impacts the cognitive processes of motor control, perception, planning, attention, and memory. It will also help to enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, and prime your brain for success.
Visualisation boosts success by programming the Reticular Activating System (RAS), which serves as a mental filter for the 8 million bits of information (that’s a lot by the way!) that are streaming into our brain at any one time. The RAS thinks in pictures, not words. Daily visualisation feeds the RAS the pictures it needs to start filtering information differently. As a result, your RAS will start to pay attention to anything that might help you achieve your goals – information that it otherwise might ignore. American author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield explores this idea in his book The Success Principles. In the book, Canfield writes, ”Constantly fill your mind with images of what you want and picture yourself having them.”
As I said, I always use visualisation to manifest my goals as well as to keep me motivated – let’s be honest, even the most ambitious of us have days when we don't feel like working towards our goals. Visualising is a powerful way to keep you motivated. Every morning after I've done my meditation, I visualise my goals and see myself achieving those goals in the future - for example publishing my current book on time management and creating a life by design that I am writing.
Every day, I spend ten-minutes visualising my goals. It’s not a long amount of time but is a powerful way for me to reconnect to my goals and why I'm working hard for my dream.
I also encourage my coaching clients as well as attendees to my talks and workshops to embrace visualisation to help them achieve their goals. For example I had a wonderful lady called Erica come to one of my THRIVE group coaching calls, and she told me she uses the power of visualisation to help her with her horse riding. She had a bad accident when she was horse riding and now she has a bit of a fear of getting on the horse. Once she's on the horse and horse riding she's absolutely fine and has no fear but it is the initial getting onto the horse which is tricky. So, before every time she goes horse riding Erica visualises herself successfully getting on the horse with no dramas and enjoying her horse-riding session. It works!
Daily practice of visualisation is vital, so start by picking a time during which you’ll review your goals and visualise your success. Ideally, do this twice a day – first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed. You only need to visualise for 10 minutes at a time. If you can’t do ten minutes, even a few minutes works!
According to research conducted by Research Associate in Health Psychology, Dr Phillippa Lally, it takes between 18 to 254 days for a for a behaviour to become a habit. Her research also revealed on average, it took participants 66 days to solidify their new habit.
So, use the following simple steps to incorporate visualisation into your daily routine for 30-60 days and see how it helps you create success!
Step 1: Find a quiet place and close your eyes
First, it is essential that you sit somewhere quiet and close your eyes. After you become skilled at visualisation you will be able to do it anywhere, but in the beginning a quiet space is a must.
Closing your eyes is important because the majority of what you perceive and interpret is visual and comes through your eyes, so closing your eyes helps cut off that stimulation so you can really focus on your visualisation.
Step 2: Visualise exactly what you want
Relax and visualise exactly what you want. To create a powerful visualisation and to get a picture of the future goal that you're visualising, really try to experience now how you would feel at that time of achieving that goal. For example if you were running a marathon, really visualise you crossing that finishing mile – visualise the big smile on your face, your supporters in the crowd, the atmosphere, what colour your running shorts are, your shoes, what would be the first thing you eat after you've completed the marathon. The more you can visualise and feel the more powerful it is.
Your goal must be very clear and specific. Don't get caught up in the "how and why," those will come to you. Simply get very clear on your goal and make it believable.
If you are not naturally a visual person or this is something that is new to you (remember this will be easier with practise and over time), then try creating a vision board to capture all the images of what you are aiming for. For example if you were aiming for a promotion you could create a vision board that depict your ideal career – perhaps on your vision board you would include a picture of the corner office, a smiling team, your sales figures going up, your boss offering you pay rises etc.
Did you know, those who create a vision board (or a less formally organised collection of images and photos) that relate to their goals are almost twice as confident they’ll achieve them than those who don’t visualise their goals in some way.
One of the keys to visualisation is to know what your goals are in the first place. Before you start visualising, don’t forget to write down your goals. Vividly describing your goals in written form is strongly associated with goal success, and people who very vividly describe or picture their goals are more likely to successfully accomplish their goals than people who don’t.
If you are still struggling to set goals then contact me for goal setting strategy visualisation session with me in order to help you set goals, plan your future and start visualising success!
Are you stuck in comfort zone? Read my article, How to Expand Your Comfort Zone to Achieve Your Goals to understand what a comfort zone is and why it is important to step out of your comfort zone in order develop new skills, experience new things and fulfil your true potential.
Are you frightened of failing? Read my article Why Failure is Actually a Good Thing to see why failure is an essential part of your self-development. As Sara Blakely, multi-millionaire founder and CEO of SPANX said, "Go ahead, make mistakes. The worst that can happen is you become memorable!"
Remember, it is always good positive habits that are going to get you success and move you towards your goal not willpower or education or anything like that. It simply is just good daily habits. So, there you have it! Four easy ways to start creating good habits!
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This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.
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Copyright 2020 Alice Dartnell Limited
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