“First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends: wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.”
The Practice of Visualization
As one social scientist, Dr. Frank Niles, puts it, visualizing your goals should not be just imagination, but it should be physical too. Or more bluntly, don’t fall into the gimmicks of imagination alone as a way to achieve your desired future.
Visualization is a method of processing thoughts and feelings before taking action. This is a practice of determining values, goals, and steps to reach your goals. It is a practice used by high-profile business people, religious scholars, and everyday people. For this article, we’ll just cover the basics and hopefully set you on the path toward meeting your goals. Many use this practice to sketch out a plan for action for a big project, or brainstorm concrete methods to changing a habit. Walking into this practice, one must have a specific intention to gain insight and vision on one or two aspects of their life.
So, what does this practice look like? It takes 4 steps.
Step 1: Making Time + Space
Like any important project or moment, it is important to be in the right environment and mindset to make this practice fruitful. Begin the practice by making time in your schedule specifically devoted to this exercise. Once you have the time set aside, place yourself in an environment that is conducive to you thinking deeply. It may be useful to find a quiet space, maybe around nature or in front of a whiteboard.
Step 2: The Mental Picture
Once you have time and space, clear your mind as best you can, and focus yourself on where you are in the moment and what you hope to achieve in the session. Then, close your eyes and picture your intended future. Gently ask yourself the following:
- What is the future you intend to build for yourself?
- What do meeting your goals look and feel like?
Step 3: The Plan
Now that you have a visual motivator, shift focus by using paper or a whiteboard to document your thoughts. As yourself the following:
- When is the start and end of my goal journey? Write a date.
- What are three tangible steps to get from start to finish?
Step 4: Commit
Take a moment to re-visualize in your mind how success looks and feels and read your date and your three steps. Like most things, commitment is needed to take concrete action. To gain a solid commitment from yourself, ask yourself (aloud or in your mind): “Am I willing and able to see this through?” then listen to your intuition or gut. If your gut is telling you no, then revisit Step 2 and 3. If the answer is yes, then say to yourself “Alright. I commit to making this happen.”
These four steps are easy to remember and are a sure way to make plans and commitments to change where you are and where you are going. If it works for you, share this method with people close to you, and maybe adopt it as a regular practice. Go and create the world you want to live in.