Picture This...Why Visualization Works


By the time we turn 35 years old, 95% of who we are is a set of memorized behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, and preferences.  Yowza.  This means, you and I, as clever as we are, will walk through life unconsciously programmed to behave a certain way every single day. 

That is unless we decide to wake up and choose what it is we really want for our lives.  Something I’ve learned as a therapist and serial self-improvement advocate, is the biggest obstacle in this process isn’t the actual change in behavior, it’s knowing and crystalizing what we want and why. 

When asked, “what do you really want for your life?” do you have a precise, accessible answer?

I’m not talking generalized ideas here.  I’m talking the full play-by-play, detailed description of the day including what you’ll eat for breakfast kind of answer. 

Why bother?  Great question. 

Getting clear on our daily and long-term intentions matters.  Research shows that our brains don’t know the difference between imagination and reality.  Meaning, we can rehearse mental pictures of ourselves achieving a certain goal, receiving an award, having a loving relationship, etc., and the neurons in our brains will fire in the same way they would if these outcomes were taking place in reality.  

As a big-picture thinker, I’m becoming convinced details matter. 

So how do we gain clarity on our own intentions?  One of the best practices around is visualization.  It’s not a woo woo, baseless tactic, either.  It’s supported by substantial scientific evidence and practiced by successful people everywhere from professional athletes, musicians, actors, and thought leaders.  

Visualization is simply a technique for creating a mental image of a future event.  It primes our brain and overall biology to behave in the necessary ways that match our desired outcome.  In the same way practice makes us better, visualization, or mental practice, gets us closer to the goals and desires we hold for ourselves. 

The older I get, the more wakeful I want to be in my own experience.  I don’t want to live out of old programming.  I want to create the most beautiful, vibrant, inspired life possible.  I believe one of the most powerful ways to do this is through preparation and practice.  Visualization provides the perfect platform for which to do both. 

My favorite part about visualization is it’s a powerful tool in making the unconscious conscious.   Remember that 95% statistic earlier? In order to wake up and choose something different, we must get crystal clear on what it is we want to create.

Here are a few other reasons this stuff works:

1)    It jumpstarts your creative subconscious which alerts you to otherwise unforeseen creative ideas needed to achieve your desired outcome.

2)    It programs and provides infrastructure for your brain to identify what it needs in order to achieve this goal.

3)    It creates and sustains motivation over time in order to take consistent action in achieving your desired outcome.

4)    It activates intention and focus which attracts the resources needed in order to complete the goal. 

Rest assured.  Your desires are vitally important, especially as they pertain to finding purpose and creating the life you want.  The science behind visualization encourages me in that half the work involved in creating beautiful change in our lives is indeed, an inside job.  We don’t have to wait for the stars to align in order to start.  Today, it begins, on your watch and the canvas of your imagination. 

Love & Gratitude,