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  • Writer's pictureSam

The Importance of Visualisation

Updated: Sep 8, 2019

This is actually inspired by most of the coaching that I have done and even what some of my friends have said, but I really wanted to make a post about how important visualisation is for achieving your goals.

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When I say visualisation I literally mean just imagining how awesome things will be WHEN you accomplish you goal.  Examples!  If you’re trying to lose weight, how awesome will you feel when you’ve lost that weight, how great will you look fitting into all your dream outfits, how will you walk when you wear it? Which way will random members of the public faint on the ground when they see your gorgeous self walking down the street? My own big massive goal is that I want to have a sell out international speaking tour in 5 years, (by the way I’m making my goal unimaginably big because I like having something huge to strive for, if something that huge is too overwhelming, don’t worry start small!). Anyway, I regularly visualise walking out on stage to a crowd of cheering fans, I imagine what I’ll wear, how I’ll walk out, maybe I’ll sing something (I’m a singer by the way), I imagine everyone loving what I have to say, I imagine the social media posts I’ll be making about coming to their home city and people commenting stuff like “I have my tickets! I can’t wait to see you!” I imagine hanging out backstage for hours to meet people in the rain, I imagine people saying that my words have changed their life for the better, and I imagine being in tears overwhelmed by how much what I’ve said and done means to people. I do this, 1. because I find it quite fun to imagine the kinds of experiences I want in my life and 2. because it really friggin helps!  I don’t live in this fantasy world, but when I’m doing idle tasks like travelling somewhere, or the household chores, visualising what I want for my future is where my mind will wander to.

To someone who doesn’t do much visualisation, this might seem self indulgent, but visualisation plays a big part in achieving what you set out to do.  If you visualise how you’ll feel when you achieve this, how you’ll look, what you’ll say, what others will say, then this gives you a certain clarity of what you really want, the more you imagine what you want the more details you’ll be able to think about. I don't necessarily think that all those things I mentioned above will happen, things might be very different in the future, but right here and now, that's what I'm imagining achieving.

I do like a good metaphor, so you’re about to get one! Imagine the road to achieving your dreams is literally like a map, if you just look at it every now and then, and only look at the basic area of where you want to go, there’s a strong possibility that you’re not going to end up where you want, but if you pull that map out a couple of times a day, looking at where you want to go, deciding on a new detail each day of exactly where you want to end up, then you’re far more likely to end up in that exact spot.  Just like planning a trip, you’re not going to have a great trip if you just say “I want to go to London” you may well never get there, but if you put time into planning what dates you want to go, where exactly you want to stay, which sites you want to see, where you want to eat, and then give yourself reasonably enough time to really save up for your trip, you’re going to have a great trip where as “I want to go to London” probably won’t happen until you start adding details and making plans.

Photo by Matheus Natan from Pexels

Your mind is like a GPS, if you give it the co-ordinates it’ll find its way there, the more detailed the co-ordinates the easier it is for the mind to get you to where you want to go.

Let’s get real guys, we all know that the more we complain about things the more we see things to complain about, we train our minds to see what we want to see.  If you want to see that it’s everyone else’s fault that you’re not achieving your goals, then your mind will start collecting evidence for that, you’ll see that no ones supporting you and you have no time or money etc etc, as valid as some of those things are we all know of people who have done more with less, everything can be done.  This works both ways though, if you start thinking about what you want, your mind will start tuning in to seeing the opportunities to get you to where you want to be.

You program what you want into your inner GPS, whether it’s evidence for why you can’t do the thing, or spotting opportunities to achieve the thing.

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OK, now I know what one of the biggest things holding you back from visualising is, because this was me too not too long ago, basically I had this going round in my mind: “but what if I sit there thinking about all I want to become and then I don’t do it!  That’ll be so disappointing and disheartening... You know what? It’s not worth it.”  Hey man, I feel you, I’ve been there.  But I have a question for you, what did you want to be when you were a kid? Did you ever want to be a super hero or a Disney princess?  I had a dress up Disney Pocahontas outfit when I was a kid, and I wore it all the time, I used to imagine I was her running through the trees with all the animals, I definitely spent a lot of time visualising being the Disney film version of Pocahontas.

You may have noticed that I did not become the Disney film version of Pocahontas.

But I don’t care, I found other things I wanted to do. My point is, trust me, you won’t be disappointed in yourself if you don’t make it to your goal, because the likelihood is that if you didn’t make it there you’ll have found something else to go after, or you’ll have gotten halfway there and decided that you’re happy with things the way they are now.

Don’t give yourself a hard time! And if you really are going to struggle with not giving yourself a hard time, then its time to practise being more compassionate with yourself, something that I prefer to call “self-kindness” which is often left out of the self care movement.  I'll go into this in detail another time, but it’s basically: cut yourself some slack, would you say to a struggling friend what you say to yourself?  Practise self kindness always, it’s a big step in the road to self confidence.

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