How to visualize? 19 creative visualization techniques to reach your goals
The Greek philosopher Aristotle explained the method of visualization in a few simple steps, and even though this advice is over 2,000 years old, it still holds true today.
“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.”
Visualization is a powerful tool used by many successful individuals. It’s a technique of focusing and targeting your mind towards what you want. Through visualization, you can create images in your mind to reflect where you want to be in life and what you want to accomplish. After winning Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger said:
“I had a clear vision of myself winning the Mr. Universe contest. It was a very spiritual thing, in a way, because I had such faith in the route, the path, that there was never any question in my mind that I would make it.”
How To Visualize – Such drive and focus don’t happen instantly, but it shows that with a clear vision and discipline, you will be on your way to success. Whether you want to win a world title or excel in a new education course, the key is to know how to visualize it.
These mental images will drive you to become more focused and proactive about getting what you want. We have created a list of 19 practical visualization techniques that those wishing to empower themselves through starting a business or self-education can use as a guide/start towards achieving their dreams.
How To Visualize – Overview Visualization
Our brain creates visualizations that are capable of bringing about great change. The idea of visualization stems from the fact that we’re more likely to achieve our goals if we can see them. Thus, everyone can use visualization techniques to reduce stress, increase positivity, optimize performance, and reach goals more effectively.
As mentioned above, seeing a goal completed mentally, even an impossible one, is a powerful visualization technique used by many successful individuals. And, it works. What makes it effective is that it harnesses the power of our subconscious mind.
When we visualize a goal completed, it creates a conflicting image in our minds. Our subconscious is struggling between what’s real and what’s visualized. It tries to match the current reality with the one we envisioned. Find the right motivation perspective and the mind starts working harder than ever to help you reach those goals.
Visualization also promotes a positive mindset. Try to visualize the best possible outcome. A positive mindset promotes positive energy, which leads to a happier and more successful life. Let's now learn how to visualize. 3 visualization techniques to warm up.
Create A Quiet Space – Just like meditation, visualizations require focus. Find a quiet place where you can exercise visualizations without interruptions. This allows you to focus and get the most out of your visualization. Remember, each time you’re interrupted, you lose a chunk of your visualization making it all the more difficult to regain focus.
Write Things Down – A prioritized list of tasks is easier to manage than a rough idea. To better visualize ideas and outcomes, create a list of one-sentence goals and post it somewhere you can see it daily, like your work desk. Such lists serve as powerful affirmations or physical embodiments of the positive outcome right in front of your eyes.
Print An Image – Your visualized goals become more powerful if you can actually see them. Print an image that represents your visualizations somewhere visible. For example, if your goal is to create your own business, you may save the company logo as wallpaper or pin a note with your mission to your desktop. Reminders will keep you motivated.
Visualization Techniques – Basics
Your mind is an extraordinary creation. Despite its powerful capabilities, you can’t automatically think your way into mastering a new course or increasing sales. Just like an athlete doesn’t think their way into running longer distances faster. The mind, however, can help you achieve your full potential. You should fully utilize its visualizing powers to create a positive mentality and put yourself first. These 4 visualization techniques will assist you.
1. Be Specific
You may have many goals that you want to achieve, but that could spread your energy thin. Instead, find your highest-priority goals, and avoid the rest that is distracting. Make a list of 25 goals that you have—this may seem like a lot, but you will be surprised at how easily they come. Cut this list down to your top five goals, removing anything that is repetitive or unimportant.
Once you have that list of five, set one specific goal. Normally, your top five will all be supportive or related to the one goal. When you have a focal point to visualize you stop wasting time and energy on other goals that don’t matter or aren’t as important. Be as specific as you can when visualizing and creating goals. Focus on what matters.
2. Be The Star
When you are meditating and creating an image to strive for, you should be the center of attention. Actively participate as yourself in the visualization and not from the role of an audience member. This way, you are removing the passive role that could hinder success. Don’t take the backseat to your visions. Imagine from your personal perspective.
For a better visualization experience, try to involve sight, smell, sound, and feel. Make the experience vivid and full of details. In your visualization, be the first person. For example, if you’re practicing free throws, then don’t just watch someone throwing the ball. Instead, be the first person and visualize everything with your own eyes.
Feel the ball in your hands, smell the air around you, hear the noise, see the goal, see the ball travel every step of the way, and score. Hear the crowd roaring in your support! As you see, it's not about any specific action but rather the whole experience.
3. Be Positive
While reaching your ultimate goal can seem overwhelming, your mind can overcome this fear, so you can succeed. Think of your successes or efforts, not failures. These positive thoughts will lift you up to new goals toward your overall vision. It’s more helpful to think of positive accomplishments you’ve had instead of the setbacks. Struggle is an inevitable part of success, but it doesn’t have to hold you back from an optimistic mentality.
Staying positive has multiple psychological benefits including reducing stress and improving your mood. Dwelling on the bad experiences never helped anyone. Instead, use them as a tool to improve.
Visualizations work the very same way. To be successful, try to be positive in your visualization. If you keep thinking that “who am I kidding, I can’t do this”, then you’re telling your brain that yes, you can’t. Meet negative thoughts with a positive twist: “It’s not going to be easy, but I'll get there. Visualize the best outcome, and you will yield the best results.
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Visualization Techniques – Repetition
When learning, repeating the material is necessary in order to comprehend the material, and the same is true for visualization. Repetition helps target in and hone your ideas, so you can get a clearer vision of what you want, and how you can achieve it. By maintaining a constant schedule and visualizing habitually, your images will be more clearly defined and easy to follow. The following visualization techniques may hold some inspiration.
4. Choose a Time
Pick an interrupted stretch of time—about five minutes—where you can work solely on visualization. Make sure there are no distractions or chances of interruptions. If you are choosing to meditate right before bed, then make sure you follow this pattern every night. A routine helps establish an important place for visualization in your life.
5. Consistency is Key
In addition to practicing consistently, you should also be visualizing the same mental image each time you come back to it. Not only will you easily be able to get back into the picture, but also you will create more details and a complete vision. A powerful visualization is full of details and will benefit you in the long run.
6. Exercise Your Mind
When you want to get physically stronger, you do a workout. The same idea applies to get mentally stronger. Details are the most important part of visualization. In order to practice creating images for the important aspects of your life, you should do mind exercises.
Try to simply visualize a person. Is it a man or a woman? How tall are they? Do they have brown eyes? Is there a scar on their leg? Ask yourself different questions to paint a detailed picture of their body, clothing, mood, etc. Start with a general picture and then get more detailed until you are able to zoom in and out. This exercise might seem difficult at first, but with consistent practice, you will eventually be able to do this with ease.
7. Establish Triggers
Our brains excel at connecting various experiences. Has it ever happened that a faint whiff of a scent triggers something and in no time, you’re walking down memory lane?
In the same way, you can trigger itself up for success! For example, listen to a specific type of music while visualizing yourself in something positive. That way, when you perform the specific action, the sensory experience helps you get the most out of the visualization.
If you're preparing for a competition, create a playlist and listen to it while practicing. Listen to the playlist while you’re in the competition and capitalize on the visualization. For students studying for an exam, chewing gum can work the same way. Pick a flavor of chewing gum to enjoy while studying. Have the same flavor during the exam.
Visualization Techniques – Treasure Map
When you close your eyes and think about what you want in life, are you transported to it instantly? Do you have a successful business or education without any obstacles?
Most likely, you do create these barriers in your head because they are a very authentic part of life. In reality, you will have to face certain obstacles or meet requirements in order to achieve your goals. A treasure map or vision board can help with visualizing important goals but also combine various visualization techniques.
8. Identify the Treasure
What is the end goal you would like to reach? If it’s improving your education or business, then that will be the treasure you should visualize on your map. The treasure is a constant reminder of what you are working towards and what you want to achieve. Try to make the end goal as detailed as possible, so you can be certain when you meet it.
While picturing your goals are important, so is including what may stand in your way. On a treasure map, there could be a deep lake or hot pool of lava preventing access to the treasure. These hurdles also exist in your own life, and identifying them can help you reach or jump them.
For example, if your goal is to become a strong proposal business writer, then you should look at what you need to do before accomplishing this feat. You should start by strengthening your basic writing skills, and then focus specifically on the business. This will help you create a realistic visualization and prepare you for success.
10. Get Physical – Vision Board
Create an actual treasure map or vision board by listing, drawing, making collages, or anything else creative. Don’t worry if you are not a great artist—simple creations work too! Think of some affirmations you can include as well, pushing you towards your goals. Use this physical map to mentally visualize goals and what you may encounter on the way.
This step is helpful for those who initially struggle with visualization. It builds a strong foundation and starting point until you are able to create this treasure map without physical aid. A treasure map or vision board also works similar to an analytics dashboard commonly used by businesses. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it!
How To Visualize – Additional Tips
There are many more creative visualization techniques available. Here is a growing list.
11. Visualize Yourself Achieving a Goal
It’s better to start with something simple like visualizing yourself achieving a goal. Imagine yourself becoming the CEO of your business, crossing the finish line at a marathon, or starting your own company. Visualizing your success makes your vision more specific. Now you have a picture, make it a milestone, and start working towards it.
Although, be careful of excessive daydreaming. Too much of it can result in people losing focus and forget useful information. Daydreaming is especially unhealthy and even harmful if you’re constantly having negative thoughts. Unlike them, creative visualizations are about positivity, planning a future, and having attainable goals. Make sure that your visualizations do not include an if-and-then scenario because that’s a daydream.
12. Give Yourself Incentives
Another way how to visualize dreams effectively. outcomes and goals and thus motivate yourself is giving yourself incentives like writing yourself a check. The incentive technique was used by the famous comedian Jim Carrey who issued himself a $10 million check and dated it 10 years in the future. It's especially efficient if your goals are monetary.
13. How To Visualize Using Affirmations
Writing a cheque for yourself is an excellent incentive, but you can also use affirmations for the same purpose. Consider jotting down your affirmations on a sticky note and put them somewhere you can regularly see. This will make sure that your goals are grounded in the real world and you’re consistently reminded of their presence.
To make affirmations work, write them with confidence, and if possible in simple present. Instead of writing “I want to improve my relationship with my friends”, write “I will improve my relationship with my friends”. Or better, “I improve my relationship with friends”.
14. Create a Happy Place
More than anything else, visualization techniques are used to mitigate stress and anxiety. If you often feel overwhelmed and are unable to focus on the task at hand, then consider using the happy place technique. It’s a simple yet effective method to destress.
Everyone has a happy place even if we don’t even know about it. It’s a place that makes you happy, calm, and most of all secure. For some people, a happy place is a quiet ride on the boat or an afternoon on a beach. For others, it’s a room filled with loved ones or a punk rock concert. Whatever it may be, as long as it soothes your racing mind, it’s worth a go!
15. Convert Desires Into Beliefs
Most people visualize things that they want to see happening. Although to make it work, you don’t just have to want it, but also need to believe that it will happen.
When you’re visualizing a potential scenario, don’t see it as wishful thinking. Instead, convince your mind that it is the future. If you remain committed and motivated, then the future will become the present in no time.
16. Visualize and Rehearse Potential Situations
If you have a dream, there will be obstacles in your way. We already talked about it above. Visualization can also help you prepare for potentially difficult situations. This visualization technique is especially helpful if the scenarios are unpredictable and stressful.
For example, if you face a difficult talk with your boss, then rehearsing it in your mind can help. You may visualize the different scenarios and possible responses to them. It is important to not confuse this kind of visualization with overthinking. Overthinking promotes negative energy, whereas this visualization works as practice grounds.
If done right, it can also reduce stress and anxiety. Although, be mindful of preparing too much. You cannot prepare for all eventualities. It's important to keep an open mind as well.
17. Get Inspired (by Someone)
We all have ideals. Someone, who inspired us and has achieved our goals. Visualizing yourself in their shoes can be a good way to experience their strongest and weakest moments. For example, if you’re a tech entrepreneur, then put yourself in the shoes of Steve Jobs. Did he tremble when he was ousted from Apple? What did he do about it?
Find a role model and get inspired, but be careful of survivorship bias clouding your judgment. Stay realistic throughout the way.
18. Create Sensory Experiences
So, far we’ve discussed creative visualization techniques to engage in positive visuals that inspire and empower you. However, visualizations work differently for everyone. For someone, it may be vivid, and for another, it’s not.
The devil is in the details and just like that, small details can make your visualizations more realistic. Start by flooding your visualizations with sensory details. For example, focus on the temperature in the room. What color were you wearing? Was there music playing or a specific smell? The richer your visualizations are, the more impactful they become.
19. Enjoy A Happy Memory From The Past
The past is hardly ever something we should hold on to. Used in the right manner, memories can create a positive impact on your life, though. Unlike most other visualization techniques, in this one, we will be focusing on the past instead of the future.
To begin, reminisce your brain for a happy memory. Don’t look for anything extra special. A happy memory can be as simple as playing catch with your mom, a quiet afternoon with an old friend, or an achievement as simple as tying your shoes. Remember your loved ones who supported you and how amazing it felt!
A little peek into the good old days may be just what you need. However, don't get attached or judge. Remove yourself when done and return to the present.
Visualization Techniques – Conclusion
Wrapping up our guide on visualization techniques. Knowing how to visualize is fun. And, visualizations can get you a long way, though it is necessary to be persistent and practical about them. They’re not random, lazy daydreams, and shouldn’t be treated as such.
If you have big goals, then you probably won't succeed overnight. It's probably not going to happen tomorrow or next week.
Everyone dreams though, but what if you could take these figments and turn them into something useful to better yourself, your career, or your business? With dedication and strong creative visualization techniques, you can transfer these images into actions and succeed. Visualization helps make your ideas into reality.
“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s positive and focused mentality helped him reach his full potential, turning his visions into reality. His results and numerous other successful athletes, educators, musicians, business owners, and so on are proof of the power of visualization. With time, dedication, and positivity, you can also real your full potential and increase potential career prospects. Remember: you attract what you focus on.
How To Visualize – 19 Visualization Techniques
- Be Specific and set a number one goal.
- Be the star. Actively participate as yourself in your visualization.
- Be positive. Think of positive achievements rather than setbacks.
- Choose a time to visualize your goals.
- Practice visualizing your ideas and goals regualrly.
- Exercise your mind and visualize people, items, ideas.
- Establish triggers that lead to success.
- Identify the treasure and understand your desired outcome.
- Identify hurdles and obstacles. Prepare for them.
- Get physical. Draw or make collages to visualize ideas and goals.
- Visualize yourself achieving a goal.
- Give yourself incentives to improve motivation.
- Use affirmations to visualize outcomes.
- Visualize and create a happy place for yourself.
- Convert desires into beliefs.
- Visualize and rehearse potential situations.
- Get inspired (by Someone).
- Create sensory experiences in your creative visualizations.
- Enjoy a happy memory from the past
Concluding our tour of creative visualization techniques, we encourage everyone to deliberately visualize every day. Find a quiet place, sit down, turn off your phone, and give your mind a go. You will soon notice the big and small positive changes it brings to your life!
What are the best visualization techniques? We hope you liked our guide on how to visualize creatively. Please share any additional tricks and tips and the comments below!