Visualization - Imagining Your Big Dreams
Visualization is a technique we all use without even thinking about it. You use it when you’re in bed thinking about that first cup of morning coffee, just before you go downstairs and “conjure up” a cup. You use it when you decide to have a dinner party and “dream up” a menu. In both cases you are visualizing something in the future and experiencing it in the present in your imagination.
These examples are simple so you might be thinking, what is the big deal?
The big deal is that we do this every day for all the little things in our lives. But we usually fall down on the job for visualizing the big things. Like our dreams.
Without a clear image of our dreams in our imagination, we won’t ever realize that dream. It’s that simple. Visualization is similar to goal setting because you have a goal in mind (start a new business, be your own boss, etc.) It puts power behind those goals and dreams because you will regularly imagine your goals and dreams as if they have already happened.
Visualizing should be done on a regular basis. Some people say twice a day. Others say once a day. From my experience, I’d say once a day is sufficient – and only about 5 or 10 minutes is needed.
To make it a regular practice I’d suggest scheduling it into your day, just as you schedule time for your daily shower, brushing your teeth, or breakfast. It is just as important as any of these things, and maybe even more important!
Here’s how to do it:
1) Set aside approximately the same time every day for visualizing. If you're busy and tend to forget these things, put it on your calendar so you are reminded to do it.
2) Sit in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. I do this indoors and pull the window shades down to slightly darken the room so that I won’t be distracted, but not dark enough to get sleepy.
3) Sit quietly for a few moments and take at least 3 slow breaths in and out to quiet your mind and start to focus on the task ahead.
4) If you have props like a Vision Board or a Descriptive Vision, have those in front of you to help guide you. You don’t need to completely focus on these things – just use them as a prop to stay on track.
5) With your cell phone (or a countdown timer of any kind) set the timer for 5 minutes and press start.
6) During those 5 minutes imagine your ideal life vision in as much detail as possible. Sometimes you’ll focus on your big picture vision, other times you'll focus on some particular aspect. It’s good to vary it a little so you don’t get bored.
Try to imagine with feelings and emotions. So if your vision makes you feel excited – feel the excitement. Smile, laugh, dance. Feel joy. Feel being in control. Feel how you will feel as if you are living your dreams (as if they have already come true). It's okay to get physical and make noise if you feel comfortable doing this. Use as many of your senses as possible during this time.
7) At the end of 5 minutes when the timer rings, stop and get back to your normal day. You have finished the visualization until tomorrow.
8) Take Action. I know, I said you were done in the last step. But this is an important step to help move those dreams from your imagination into reality. Each day try to do at least 1 small action in the direction of your dream. It doesn’t need to be a big action. Make a phone call, sign up for a class, do an internet search related to your dream, think of a cool name for your dream business, write a page for your website. It doesn’t matter what you do, but take one small action every day.
The small step you take each day won’t seem to matter at the time. In fact, you’ll be tempted to skip this step because it doesn’t feel like you’re making any progress. DO IT ANYWAY.
Here are the reasons to keep taking small actions each day:
1) over a period of time these baby steps will add up and take you closer and closer to your dream, and
2) these small actions get you out into the world so that other opportunities will appear or you will meet people who can help you, or you will learn some skill that will come in handy later – the possibilities are endless. But do something every day.
If you want to learn more about visualization techniques, I highly recommend a book by Shakti Gawain titled Creative Visualization. It will explain in detail why this technique works and give you many more ideas about how to incorporate visualization tools into your life to help you achieve your goals and dreams.
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