How To Visualise
a step-by-step guide to visualisation success
The aim of this article is to teach you how to visualise effectively.
Visualisation is relatively simple – but there are definitely a few key points to learn to fast-track your results. I’m going to share these techniques with you now – which I’ve put together after two years of experimentation.
I’ve shared these ideas with my friends and colleagues, who have all now had successes with the unmistakable power of creative visualisation too.
If you do take these ideas on board and try them out, I am convinced that you will see some remarkable improvements in your own life. Not only will you feel better in yourself, but you will move towards your goals quicker. Not bad for 20 minutes a day ay?
You’ll find that my advice on how to visualise is to the point, “hands on” – and relatively detailed. This is because a lot of the information I found when I was learning to visualise was a bit... fluffy.... and didn’t really help me. I presume you’ve found the same. As such, if you do not have time to get into it now, please feel free to print this article and review it later.
I find that if you really understand a topic, and know why and how it works, it is a lot easier to get strong results.
As such, with no further ado, I present to you - How to Visualise.
“The future depends on what we do in the present”
First, write your visualisation down
This is absolutely key. And, what’s worse, it took me well over a year to even give it a go. When I did, my results improved significantly.
The whole point behind writing down what you are going to visualise is that it gives you structure – and a plan to fall back on.
Your brain is an incredibly powerful machine, and unless you are a Zen Monk – and if you are, hello and welcome – you are likely to become distracted by random flying thoughts, irrationally careering through your head at breakneck speed.
There is little more frustrating than imagining yourself in an ideal way, about to achieve every goal you had ever imagined for yourself, feeling magnificent and suitably sublime - when suddenly you become sidetracked with what you had for dinner, what time you’re getting up in the morning, that miserable old sod who barged you on the train this morning and, of course, pondering the meaning of life and our role in the great cosmic plan.
If, however, you have your visualisation written down, you can simply open your eyes, re-read your notes, and gently ease yourself back into that very happy place. Good news.
How to visualise best? I like to break my visualisations up into three or four different parts – such as work, finances and relationships.
I jot down a few bullet points – they don’t have to be detailed – for each. I simply note down my goals, and a couple of elaborations to give my imagination a little nudge in the right direction.
Career – Goal: Run my own business
• See myself as the boss
• I am working from home
• I’m earning X amount per month
• I look forward to every sales call as I know I have the best product
• I’m helping others
Simple! Taking a few minutes to jot down your visualisation first will really help you stay on track and keep your mind focussed. Opening your eyes for a few seconds to check where you are doesn’t hinder you – far from it.
Of course, you need to know your goals before you do this – and I mean really know your goals, the ones that excite you and drive you and almost propel you into action. If you haven’t got these, maybe come back to this How to Visualise article later and take a look at this one first... Setting Goals.
Now, before we move on, here’s a little gem of a secret that will absolutely improve the effectiveness of your visualisation:
In addition to writing down your goals, also write down the emotions you would feel if you had already achieved them.
You’ll see a bit further on that generating the emotions and feelings of success is the key to how to visualise effectively. So, a little way to cheat the system a bit is by working these out before hand, and noting them down too.
Career – Goal: Run my own business - Emotions
• I feel proud of myself for taking the plunge
• It feels amazing to be my own boss
• I feel supremely confident and destined for success
• I am wealthy with no money concerns and feel rich
• I am happy and feel awesome!
When you think about these and write them down, you should start to feel that little excited twitch in your belly that tells you you’re on the right path... This will save you a lot of time and effort later when you’re actually visualising.
Of course, the mere words will be nothing compared to the feelings you generate when you visualise – but you have all this great stuff to come.
So, take a minute now to jot down some key points for each area you will be focussing on – it’s up to you how much depth you go into, but they really don’t have to be that detailed to be effective - and we’re ready to move on.
How to visualise? Relax first...
“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax
and wait for the answer”
William S. Burroughs
It’s important to be as relaxed as possible when you visualise.
You can visualise lying down in bed or in a comfy chair – I do both – but what’s most important is that you won’t be disturbed.
I often put on a comfortable tracksuit, and have a shower if there is time. The more relaxed you are before you start, the better your visualisation will go. Put on some chilled, trippy music if you like – Cafe Del Mar works wonders for me!
If you have your own way to get into a relaxed – or meditative – state, please feel free to use them instead. Equally, if you already have an idea of how to visualise, you probably know how to relax yourself properly already.
All that matters is that you are relaxed, your heart rate is lowered, and your brain activity has dropped a bit. I recommend using a meditation machine or
to fast-track this process, but you can do it without – it just takes a little more practice.
Below is a technique I use that guarantees to chill me out. I’d guess it takes about 5 minutes or so before I’m ready to rock on with the visualisation – but take as long as you need.
When you are comfortable, start to focus on your breathing.
Pay attention to the gentle rise and fall of your chest...
Breathe all the way in... and push the breath all the way out...
Breathe slowly and deeply... slowly and deeply...
As you slow your breathing, you will notice yourself start to relax... and feel really good...
After a few minutes, start to pay attention to particular body parts... concentrate on your feet, for example, and feel the warmth and the energy that was always there - but you just didn’t notice...
Then consciously let go of any tension that you can feel there...and feel them relax. Notice how much better it feels.
Focus your attention now on your legs, your stomach and then finally up to your chest... Again, feel the temperature sensations and the energy inside you as you more deeply relax...
Release all the tension... and notice how calm you feel...
Spread this great feeling all around your body for a few more minutes until you feel calm, relaxed, warm - and ready to proceed!
Make your visualisation VIVID!
You now know enough about how to visualise to start practicing...At last!
Take a quick glance at your notes and ease yourself in... How to visualise best? Simply imagine yourself acting the way you would act if your goals had already been achieved.
See yourself as a confident, successful person – in as much detail as possible.
The key is to make the pictures in your mind as bright and vivid as you can. Really see yourself acting the way you want to be.
Look around you and take in your surroundings – where are you? Who else is there? Are they happy and in control like you? Take the time to wander over to these people and have a chat with them. Crazy? No, not really – you’d talk to people in real life, so talk to them here too. They are your friends and colleagues after all!
Notice what you are doing and how you are doing it. Pay attention to every little detail of your routine.
What are you doing differently here that is different to how you act in real life? Go further into the details and uncover every last dissimilarity.
Why are you acting this way now? What value does it add?
Look for more details to make the picture clearer. What’s the weather like? What are you wearing? Take the time to notice and feel the texture of your clothes, the temperature of the room, and any other small details you see when you look around.
Again, the more life-like this is, the better the results you will get.
You are effectively planting new memories into your sub-conscious – so if you make this memory even more vivid and detailed than a real memory you will inevitably see strong results.Learning how to visualise requires learning how to create vivid, bright pictures in your mind.
Act ideally - how to visualise yourself in your imagination
Please remember that today, in your imagination, you are acting ideally.
It doesn’t really matter if your life isn’t much like this yet.
The first hurdle to overcome in learning how to visualise is facing the uncomfortable feelings of doing things that you do not yet know how to do – and the safest place to do it is inside your head. Even in your head it takes bravery and courage to address these issues – but you feel a million times better for doing so.
When visualising, you don’t even have to have faith that this is how you will act tomorrow, or the day after, or next month. If you continue to practice, this will take care of itself.
Just enjoy the feeling of watching yourself act in an ideal way for you. It’s pretty fun to see yourself doing this – and it helps you to realise the simple truth that if you can act this way in your head, it’s likely you can act like this for real.
When you are learning how to visualise, make a point of deliberately visiting experiences that have held you back in the past. If you have been terrified to raise a point in public, see yourself in front of a crowd talking enthusiastically and powerfully. Notice the reaction of the audience – see how apt they are in your presence – and notice how successfully you command their attention and respect.
If you are broke and desire more wealth, watch yourself pull out your wallet... Feel the weight of it in your hands. Pull out the cash and count the hundreds or thousands you are carrying on you. Notice how all this cash feels in your hands. The texture, the smell... Take the time to visit an ATM and check your account balance – and watch as the big number followed by all those zeros shows up on the screen. Notice how it feels to be so wealthy and in control of your finances.
Remember - act how you want to act when visualising. It's the way forward!
Associate and Disassociate - how to visualise from multiple perspectives
I borrowed a technique from
when I learnt how to visualise – it’s called associating and disassociating. Despite the complex name, it’s a really simple idea.
Basically, if you are associated, you are seeing something through your own eyes. If you’re disassociated, you’re seeing yourself from another perspective.
Use both when you learn how to visualise for maximum results.
First, associate and see the experience through your own eyes. Notice how this makes you feel – bloody awesome, I’d imagine!
Then disassociate and float out of your body. You can try watching yourself on a big screen TV or cinema screen – or by hovering above yourself – or even by seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes.
Experiment and find what works best for you – but do make sure you look at yourself from a 3rd party perspective. This gives you another perspective on the way you are acting – and often throws up some interesting feedback.
How do you feel when you are disassociated and see yourself acting like that? How are other people reacting to you? How do you come across? Do you give off an aura of confidence, charisma and success? If yes, woohoo! If not, float back into your body – associate – and change whatever you need to. Then disassociate again and give it another go!
Learning to review multiple perspectives is key when learning how to visualise - practice and have fun with it.
Feelings and Emotions – your visualisation success depends on this!
You’ve now learned most of the basics. Are you ready to know the absolutely, positively, undeniably most important secret on how to visualise successfully?
Well, if you’ve read this far, I presume that you do ;-)
Here is the key:
To succeed with visualisation, you must generate the same feelings and emotions that you would have if you had already accomplished your goals.
Seeing the pictures in your mind is not enough – you have to show your brain which feelings it has to look out for.
Envelop yourself in these wonderful positive emotions. Experience exactly what you would experience if your dreams had come true. You will no doubt feel joy, pride, success, happiness, wealth, confidence and more.
You are going to be energised, excited and intoxicated with the unbeatable feeling of achievement. Now you can see why I told you that learning how to visualise is fun!
If you’re having difficulties, imagine being one of your role models who has already achieved your goals. How does he feel? What does she experience on the inside? How does it feel to be them?
If all else fails, slow down...
Take every point on your list one at a time. Ask yourself – “how would I feel if I worked for myself?” or “What emotions would I have if I just nailed a speech in public?” You might start to feel a little glimpse of satisfaction. Go deeper into it. Ask – “why am I feeling this way?”
Go even deeper into the feeling. Allow it to take over every cell of your body. See the emotion as a cloak and drape it over you. Dive deep in and let the positive emotions consume you!
Do whatever you can to make the feelings of success become more intense. Then, make them even stronger. You can always – always - go deeper into a feeling. Practice this – it feels awesome.
As you learn how to visualise, try to see your emotions as the language that communicates your goals to your sub-conscious. The pictures are there to show you what to look out for on your road to success – and the emotions and feelings are for the benefit of your brain.
That’s why jotting down the emotions before you start is so important – if you’re struggling a little, open your eyes, read your list of emotions again, really start feeling them – and dive back in.
Practice generating strong, intense feelings and emotions. Really imagine yourself having succeeded – know how much it means to you to have finally won and become all you ever wanted to be - and they will come to you naturally.
Again, the stronger the feelings you generate – the more emotion you experience – the better and faster your visualisation results will be.
That's it! You know how to Visualise!
Wow. That’s it for the basics... you now know how to visualise! Pretty detailed ay?
I guess you can see why so many people fail with the “just shut your eyes and imagine yourself successful” advice that is banded about everywhere on the net.
I hope you can also see now why it took me over 2 years to work out a really compelling process for how to visualise effectively. And I really hope it helps you – please feel free to share your feedback and results!
You are now ready to begin your visualisation practice. The fun is about to begin.
“Repetition is the father of learning...”
Lil Wayne, Shoot Me Down
You can visualise as often as you’d like – just do what feels right for you.
My advice is for the first 5 or 6 attempts, when you are trying to coax your character to behave exactly as you desire, try and do it every night.
All in all, it takes about 20 – 30 minutes on average, but you can do it for longer if you are enjoying it. This is not much of a sacrifice for the results you are likely to get!
When you have a mental movie that you are happy with, and the imagined you does as it’s told and doesn’t digress from the script, I’d recommend between 3-5 sessions a week.
This makes it clear to your brain that your visualisation is a command that is to be followed!
If you have learnt how to visualise well, you’ll begin to see small improvements within a week or so. If you continue to practice, within a month you will experience some really significant changes and begin to feel much better about yourself.
If you carry on visualising beyond that, your self-image will indeed change and you will move quicker towards your goals than you ever imagined possible.
Finally, good luck...! And here is a gem to leave you in no doubt about the potential of your results when you have learnt to visualise properly:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create"Where next?
If you’re already achieving great results with visualisation, check out my
Advanced Visualisation Exercises.
Go from How to Visualise to Creative Visualisation
Go from How to Visualise to Advanced Visualisation Exercises
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