I’ve emphasized the importance of visualization in a couple of posts already. Everything human-made was a product of someone’s visualization inside their brain first. Think about that. Your phone, your desk, your shirt were all a product of their makers’ minds. They had to visualize the design, the feel, the basic functions of the product.
How do we expect then to achieve our goals without visualizing them to the tiniest details in our brains?
Can you imagine how you’ll feel like when you achieve your goal? Can you describe it? Do you see what you’re wearing? Do you picture yourself in great detail?
The best athletes, artists, not to mention movie directors and chessplayers use visualization to their benefit. It is in fact the most important aspect of their process!
Several studies have shown that the brain doesn’t differentiate between a real memory and a visualized one. Meaning, if you imagine something in great detail, the brain thinks it’s real.
A study by Australian psychologist Alan Richardson revealed that a person who consistently visualizes a certain physical skill develops “muscle memory” that helps her when she physically engages in the activity.
Physiologist Edmund Jacobson discovered subtle but very real movements in the muscles that corresponded to the movement the muscles would make if they were really performing the imagined activity. Richardson wrote that the most effective visualization occurs when the visualizer feels and sees what he is doing.
You have to feel the ball as well as hear it bounce and see it going through the hoop to see the best results.
Your brain is constantly using visualization in the process of simulating future experiences but all of this is happening in the subconscious mind. If you’re not aware of it, you can’t take control of the visualization process and you can’t reap the benefits.
Here’s how to take control of the visualization process.
- Write down what you want to achieve in as much detail as you can. An added bonus would be to find a photo of it as well if you can. Keep it in a prominent place so you don’t forget about it. In fact, I would suggest spending a few minutes looking at it deeply and studying it in the morning and in the evening while brushing your teeth. Your mind tends to be more open and relaxed at these times. Not only will this reaffirm your goal but you will also brush your teeth longer!
- Assign time slots each day for visualization. If your goal is to become a surgeon, visualize yourself learning and working through the ranks until you become one.
- Use cues like photos and visualization music to transfer yourself into visualization mode.
Here’s a Spotify Visualization Music playlist I compiled and that varies from ambient and white noise sounds to longer guided visualization songs. You can do a search on Spotify for “visualization music” to find hundreds of songs and playlists.
This guided visualization exercise video featuring entrepreneur and motivational speaker Lisa Nichols is a great starting point for your visualization journey. You can watch her whole “Live Your Life Purpose” speech on YouTube.
Dreamy music that will help you focus on your visualization. You can sit down and roll back your shoulders. Visualization is the opposite maybe from meditation. In meditation, we want to clear the mind of all thoughts. With visualization, we are injecting our mind with positive images of our awesome future selves.
Get yourself pumped up with this classic Rocky training montage. Extremely inspirational music will help your mind enter visualization mode in no-time. Although I’m not a huge Rocky fan, this is one of my favorites.
I like to gaze at the lyrics of this song and let them take me away.
This is a great song that can get you excited and help you visualize your better future.