Have you heard this quote by Life Coach Tony Robbins? "Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life." It’s been said a number of different ways (“I dream, therefore I become,” “You will what you imagine”). I’ve often found these sayings hard to buy; they always sound a bit starry-eyed to me. The idea of imagining an ideal life and expecting it to magically manifest has never quite registered.
Yet some of the most outstanding people I know swear by visualization, the practice of using mental imagery and positive thinking to achieve goals and create change. I’ve become a bit more open minded to the process recently, so I asked some of its champions for some practical advice on how to implement visualization into my own life.
Here are some words of wisdom that were shared with me on how to use the practice of visualization to take action, make change, and turn life’s desires into realities:
1. Keep calm and be honest with yourself.
Relax. Close your eyes. Where do you see your life heading in the next two or three years? What about after that? Are there things you’d like to change? What are they? Visualization is the process of creating a mental image or intention for what we want to happen in our lives. It makes the future clearer. Picturing how you want something to be is the first step toward creating it.
2. Don’t mistake visualization for fantasy.
Many people confuse the term “visualizing” with “fantasizing,” and that's a terrible mistake. By mocking visualization, you take away the hope of a more happy, authentic future for yourself. When you’re honest about the life you want, you can take action and start moving toward it.
3. Have no fear, and take action.
Change can be scary. Fear stops most of us from moving toward the life we visualize; the lives we truly desire. This is why it's important to visualize our goals often; to really allow ourselves to be in touch with what's in our mind’s eye. The more we see it, the more we believe it. The more we believe it, the less we fear it. The less we fear it, the more action we take toward acquiring it.
4. Do not listen to those who doubt you.
A huge catalyst in keeping a lot of us stuck are the opinions of others. People like to weigh in when they see friends and family taking action and making change. Explain thoughtfully and carefully that you're making changes because you need to, then continue to follow that little voice inside you. The gut never lies.
5. Be brave and have faith.
People often look at happy, successful people and tag them as “lucky,” and this is sometimes the case. But many of those people work hard, make sacrifices, are brave, make decisions carefully, and have paid dues we don’t know about. Trust that if you’re brave, work hard, make sacrifices, pay some dues, and face the things that you don’t want to face, you’ll be rewarded too.
6. Take care of you.
Change can be hard, so it’s important to love yourself when making moves. Nourish yourself and take the time to acknowledge who you are and why it’s important to live the life you desire. Choose a hobby to keep your mind healthy. Stay organized. Be honest; stop “playing pretend” around people. Exercise and eat correctly. Keep away from toxic people. Write in a journal. Change takes time; but baby steps will get you where you need to go. Let your aspirations feed you.