• Work Life Journal

Achieving goals through visualization

Elite athletes achieve their peak performance goals through the practice of visualization. A string of successful Hollywood A-listers have also used this strategy to seize their success, including @tomcruise and @schwarzenegger. For example, when only an emerging young actor, @jimcarrey wrote himself a check for $10M for acting services rendered. He kept it in his pocket for years, intending to cash it in by Thanksgiving in 5 years’ time. Fast forward five years, and @jimcarrey was offered $10M for his role in “Dumb and Dumber”.

Why not try this yourself? It involves clearly rehearsing in your mind – over and over again – the achievement of your goal. Visualize what success looks like for you. Mentally immerse yourself in your desired state of how you will live, look, feel and work? Most importantly, you need to craft and embed a map in your mind of how your goal will be achieved. Play this over like a movie in your mind. It has been shown that the repetitive nature of mental imagery can support the attainment of goals because you become familiar with the process or actions needed to occur in order to achieve them. In some ways, it prepares you with the environment and other factors needed to support your desired achievement. Short-term goals are more likely to be responsive to visualisation, than long-term ones. So, plan smaller steps towards the bigger goal, if need be.

Visual imagery can also be enhanced with some further strategies, such as positive affirmations. Positive self-talk can help improve your mood and self-esteem, which can give you a boost towards your goal achievement. To be most effective, positive self-talk needs to be within your ‘latitude of acceptance’. This means, if you are trying to talk yourself up beyond your own level of self-belief of what is possible, not only will this self-talk be non-effective, it may backfire and send you spiralling downhill. So, as a word of caution, be realistic about the goals you set-up yourself.

Another tactic demonstrated through numerous previous studies have shown that writing down your plan can help cement your thinking and belief in your ability to achieve your goals. What a perfect time of the year to start your planning by aiming high and starting to not only visualize them, but reinforcing these through positive affirmations and a written plan.

In my next post, I will share with you my tips on effective planning – gained through years of corporate and business planning.


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