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  • Writer's pictureNancy Schmidt

Visualize the Life You Want

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Have you ever read a story and used your imagination to bring the characters and setting to life? Have you ever imagined what your your life will look like five years from now? Perhaps you have thought about what you would like your business or home space to look like. I remember the moment my husband and I decided to sell our house, buy an RV, and travel the nation. It was on a stormy, snowy Saturday. We had just finished pancakes with the kids and they were off playing. My husband and I started to talk about how grateful we were to have jobs that didn't require us to leave the house and drive through snow. After about a minute of talking, we both looked at each other and almost at the same time said, "we should RV full time!" Ok, it didn't quite happen that quickly but we had just watched a video about a family living full time in their RV and traveling all over the nation "road-schooling" -- we were totally inspired. We knew we would miss our friends and community but we also knew we might never have this opportunity again. So, we sat down and started visualizing what the RV life would be like (and researching a lot because that is what I do). It was such a huge transition for us to go from a house to an RV, but visualization helped us make our dreams an awesome reality.

Our minds are incredibly creative and powerful. When we tap into our imagination, wonderful things can happen. We can be transported to another place and time -- we can increase our confidence -- we can create beautiful things -- we can perform better. In fact, using our imagination to visualize desired outcomes has helped many people including famous professional athletes, musicians, and business executives.

When we visualize and mentally rehearse a desired outcome, our brain reacts pretty much the same as if we were physically acting out the desired outcome. The neurons in our brain interpret images as equivalent to real action. So, when we visualize an act, our brain generates an impulse that electrically transmits information to tell our neurons to perform the act. This creates a new neural pathway that gets strengthened the more we visualize the act. All of this happens without actually performing the activity! We are training our brain to perform better in the real world. Amazing!

Outcome Visualization

To achieve your goals and create the life you want using outcome visualization, you need to first create a detailed mental image of the desired outcome by using all of your senses. For example, if you want to start your own business, you could visualize yourself working in the space you would like to be in - the colors, smells, decor, etc. Try to feel what it would be like working with the people you interact with. Imagine the tasks you would be doing and all of the feelings associated with working your dream job. You may find it helpful to first write your visualization out in detail and then use this script to guide you. You could even use a drawing, picture, or vision board to focus on.

Performance Visualization

This type of visualization focuses on all of the steps needed to achieve a goal or outcome but not on the end result. If, for example, you want to get better at running a marathon. You might visualize yourself running well -- arms relaxed, breathing controlled, and legs pumping strong. In your mind, you might break the course into sections and visualize how you will run each part. You might imagine getting tired and what you would do to keep going strong. Then, you can imagine what it will feel like to cross the finish line and achieve your goal.

Visualization is powerful but it does not guarantee success. It cannot replace practice and hard work. It is just one of the tools you can use to help achieve your goals. A word of caution -- negative thoughts and actions create neural pathways too. The more and more we think and act in these ways, the more the pathways get strengthened. So, stay on top of negativity and flip the switch to get back on the path to leading your best life. Remember, you can do anything you put your mind to!




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