Many people aren't aware of how powerful visualizing can be in their lives. In fact many of us are doing plenty of visualizations everyday. The problem is that most of us are doing visualizations to create the life we don’t want; we are often using it to imagine the worst outcomes of things or worrying about the future. If you can remember the time when you worried so much about something that it actually happened, is probably a good example of using visualization to create the life you don’t want.
Visualization isn’t something fluffy used by people who aren’t living in reality. It's quite the opposite; it's used by a whole array of people who know how to use it to bring about positive outcomes in their life. Many athletes including Olympians use it to excel in their sports. The benefits of visualizing is also there for children; research from Beijing Institute of Physical Education and University of Ottawa found that child table tennis players between the ages of 7 to 10 performed better when they used visualizations (mental imagery).
Interestingly, research has also found that people who imagine themselves performing a task, improve their performance in that task without physically doing anything. That's what Guang Yue, an Exercise Psychologist at Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, found. He discovered that people who did a virtual workout over three months in their minds were able to increase their muscle strength by 13.5% versus 30% by the people who actually did work out.
Here are some steps to help you visualize and accurately manifest the life you want:
Step 1: Know what you want
In order to visualize and manifest the kind of life you want, it's very important to have a clear idea of what you want and why. This can be achieved by understanding what you value and what brings you the most joy in life. Have you ever had that moment when you were doing something and felt joyful doing it? If yes, then that is a good sign of something you might want to have in your life.
Ask yourself: If I had nothing holding me back, what would I want to see in my life?
Step 2 : Describe your vision in detail
This is one of the most important steps. When you want to manifest the life you want, you have to create a clear vision of what it should look like. You can write this down in detail or you could create a vision board. This will help you to create a clear and full picture of what your life would look like.
Ask yourself: If I had a magic wand to make anything happen, what would my life look like?
Step 3: Start visualizing and create the emotions
Once you are ready, you can take a moment to start envisioning the actual outcome. Start to imagine the sights, the sounds, the smells and even the taste of achieving what you want. As you go along, don't forget to feel the emotions you would feel, as if this "life" was your reality now.
Ask yourself: What would I feel if all my visualizations came true?
Step 4: Take daily actions
There's a saying that “Rome was not built in a day.” Similarly, the life you want to create won’t happen in one day but will eventuate in a series of days and actions of working towards your goal. Don’t get too caught up with how far you are, instead focus on the present and set yourself daily or weekly actions to get to where you want.
Ask yourself: What is one thing I could do today that would help me get closer to the life I want?
Step 5: Have grit and persevere
When creating the life you want there, you will be faced with challenges. In fact one important tip when you are doing your visualizations is to imagine yourself facing these challenges and most importantly overcoming them.
Ask yourself: What would help me persevere when I am faced with a challenge?
As you visualize the life you want and utilise the five steps above, you will start to find your life reflecting your visualizations. Remember many people including celebrities, who started without much in their lives like Jim Carrey and Oprah Winfrey, use and swear by visualizations too. Be open, try it and see where it takes you!
*This blog post was first published in Forbes
Bhali Gill is a Psychologist (org), Coach, Trainer and Founder of Corporate Wellbeing. She coaches individuals and leaders to overcome the challenges they face at work and in life, to reach their personal and professional potential. Her work involves inner-transformation, and becoming more of who you are. She also works with organisations to improve their productivity through employee’s mental and emotional well-being, and self-empowerment programs. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org