Visualization Techniques: Imagining Outcomes to Achieve Goals

Visualization techniques can be used to reach your personal and professional potential

Visualization is a cognitive dress rehearsal. It’s becoming who you hope to be, reaching new heights, personally or professionally, through intentional, repetitive thinking. By using visualization techniques, we’re able to harness the power of our minds to dramatically influence our behavior and self-perception. The effectiveness of the practice has led to its adoption by professionals from diverse areas, including: athletes, public speakers, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians, and actors. Seeing truly is believing when it comes to achieving goals.

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.


How Do Visualization Methods Work?

Visualization helps people achieve goals because it:

  • increases commitment, drives us toward success
  • creates a role model to emulate (the imagined future you)
  • serves as a source of motivation
  • builds confidence
  • allows us to predict, and therefore prepare for, challenges and obstacles
  • makes the desired result feel real, possible, 3D
  • speaks to the mind directly, in it’s prefered language

You’ve Already Achieved Your Goal! Can You See It?

Visualize yourself raising your arms as you’re crossing the finish line. Don’t stop there. Tinker with it, look at it from every angle, imagine your accomplishment in as much detail as possible.

Can you see yourself reaching your goals, achieving your dreams?
Can you see yourself reaching your goals, achieving your dreams?

Sensory Visualization Techniques: Establishing a Fuller Picture

What do you feel, see, and hear? Exhilaration! Your heart is pounding. There’s a drop of sweat rolling down the side of your face. You suddenly become aware that you’re smiling from ear to ear. The roar of the crowd is all you can hear as you scan for your family. You feel something grab your legs. It’s a surprise hug from your youngest, shortest child. Turning around, you lift your taller child, who isn’t already wrapped around you. She squeals, “You did it!” You try to respond, but you’re still trying to catch your breath, which is visible as it hits the cool air.

How will you change when you become that future self? Do you seem happier, healthier, more confident, more grounded?

Get Ahead of Hindsight: Trace the Steps from Where You’re Going Back to Where You Are

Once you’ve visualized your goal, focus on each of the steps you must take to get there. See yourself getting up to run when you’d rather sleep in. Imagine yourself shaving seconds off of your previous time. Visualize yourself recording your progress. What was the timeline? How far apart were your benchmarks? How did you hold yourself accountable and reward yourself for progress.

In this more and more complex and intricate vision of the future, are there loved ones who support you in your efforts? Do you have a coach or mentor? Was there training involved? Did you have to learn skills, research ideas, or adopt habits? Did you need to rearrange your schedule?

Use simple techniques of visualization to imagine each step along the path to a desired outcome
Use simple techniques of visualization to imagine each step along the path to a desired outcome

Visualizing the Best, While Preparing for the Worst

To ensure you’re not creating a fairy tale with chirping birds overhead, and clouds underfoot, imagine yourself failing and trying again. Do this not once, but multiple times. Picture yourself becoming more determined, rather than defeated, with each new attempt. Then visualize yourself seeing each “failure” as an opportunity, a lesson, a chance to learn something new. Imagine the pride you’ll begin to feel as your knowledge becomes more nuanced.

If your goal requires learning a new set of skills and techniques, envision yourself as you move from novice to beginner, to intermediate, to advanced, and finally to a level of mastery. Really concentrate on what each state would look and feel like.

Achieve Your Goals With the Help of a Visualization Reminder

Once you have a robust image of where you’re going and how you’ll get there, create a reminder. It could be a picture, quote, or object. What you use is less important than how and when you use it. It needs to be visible. One way to accomplish this is to keep the reminder with you, or near you. People might choose to wear their reminders. A musician may put a treble clef charm on a bracelet, someone training for a marathon may install a runner as a phone screensaver. If you don’t carry your reminder, have it somewhere you’ll see it daily. Set it on your bedside stand, so you can look at it first thing in the morning, and right before you fall asleep. Leave it next to your bathroom sink to remind you to revisit your visualizations for the two minutes (minimum) your brushing your teeth and the twenty seconds (minimum) you spend washing your hands. Did you know you can program your phone to say something when you plug it in or unplug it?

Link your techniques used for visualizations to a physical reminder
Link your techniques used for visualizations to a physical reminder

Visualize often, it’ll come in handy when you need a willpower boost to help you stay on the path toward success. And that is exactly where you’re heading!

Author profile

Hi! I write books and blogs about wellness and adopting healthy living habits. My first children's picture book, Gabby Makes a Friend, is available at Amazon. I’ve been teaching sociology courses at community colleges since. Beyond work, I'm the proud mother of two beautiful, adult children. I’m a recovering perfectionist, whose hobbies include meditation, cooking, hiking, and yoga.

6 thoughts on “Visualization Techniques: Imagining Outcomes to Achieve Goals

    1. It’s one of my all time favorites! And I would call myself a quote collector… I actually put it on my very first checkbook, in high school. I had just finished Siddhartha. Great book 📖

    1. I didn’t mention visualizing the negative, but yes, that is also powerful. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only person who has trouble liking people’s posts. I’ve had more trouble with that than I’m willing to admit 😊 Thanks for stopping by, and for sharing your thoughts 💭 🙏

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