May 2, 2022

Visualisation and Personal Development
By Jayne Warwicker

I have talked before about the tremendous power of visualisation when it comes to realising your goals, whether they be personal or career orientated.

In a nutshell, the brain can’t tell the difference between what is real and a visualisation. Isn’t that cool?!!

By practising visualisation every day, your mind starts to believe your visualisations and you are forced into alignment with yourself…your future self. This is the you that has everything that you have ever dreamed or visualised.

Research has examined the beneficial effects of imagining future events. For instance, mental imagery of possible selves (i.e., where one generates images of what he or she could become) has been shown to enhance motivation by helping to identify goals and develop goal-directed behaviour (Oyserman, Bybee, & Terry, 2006), and improved performance through imagining one’s future success (Ruvolo & Markus, 1992). Further to this, social cognition research has found that mental imagery of future events actually increases the likelihood that those events will occur (Johnson & Sherman, 1990).

Goal Visualisation

Mental imagery of future events (also known as mental simulation, goal visualisation, and imagined future) is a technique that helps people envision possibilities and develop plans for bringing those possibilities about. It has been shown to promote goal-directed behaviour by increasing an individual’s expectation for success, enhancing motivation and emotional involvement, and initiating planning and problem-solving actions.

Mental imagery can be outcome-focused, where images of the outcomes or goals are generated, or process-focused, where images of the steps leading to outcomes and goals are generated. This will be up to the individual to decide, as should you have a very systems-based approach to things then process focussed will possibly suit you the best. I myself, however, prefer the outcome-based approach, constantly visualising the acquisition of my goal and living as if it has been already achieved (more on this in my last two blogs on my LinkedIn profile – links on this website)

Although my motto is always ‘Life With No Limits’ it helps to cultivate a mental image that is based on positive expectation (i.e., the belief that the imagined future event is attainable) rather than positive fantasy. For instance, I would love to be a size 10 with no stretch marks or wrinkles – not going to happen at 55!!!)

So where do you begin?

Before I start the visualisation I create, or encourage my clients to create, a Vision Board. It can be like the image above with a picture of your ideal life in the middle, or it can be drawings, images cut out and stuck onto a page or board, or downloaded images. It doesn’t matter, have fun with it and DON’T analyse it or put anything on there that others want for you or think you should be aspiring to. These are 100% personal and should come from your heart. Once done you need to put it somewhere prominent where you can look at it every day. It is now a visual aid to your brain providing motivation and forward-thinking.

Now start your visualisation.

Start by imagining your life as if you have achieved everything that you have ever wanted.

Close your eyes, relax your body and let your imagination drift away.

Personally, I start as if I am living my perfect life. For example, I start by describing and imagining the answers to the following questions:

  • Where am I waking up
  • Where do I live
  • What are my relationships like
  • Who am I waking up with/who is around me?
  • What does my life look like
  • How and what do I feel
  • What am I thinking as I live my best life

This will help you shape the what, where and who behind your dream life (not necessarily the how if you are practising outcome based visualisation as I do).

It is essential that you consistently visualise your dream life. This is to retrain your brain and change the habit of being yourself! Remember that if you put the same thoughts and actions out there into the universe day in and day out, can you really expect your life to change?

If you find it hard to find the time, try and incorporate it into your everyday life. Schedule 10 mins every day where you can practice your visualisation. Over time this will become a habit. This could be on your journey to work (not if driving!!) or part of your morning or evening routine.

Be conscious

You will start to notice the difference as you start to align yourself, and the world around you shifts to become your dream life – as if by magic!! This sounds weird I know but those of you that have followed my story know that it works. You will notice things happening that are leading you toward your dream life. Don’t question them, just accept them and continue to visualise.

As you practice visualisation you become much more aware of what is going on around you and within that moment. You will notice when areas of your life start to align. Above all, your visualisations start to come to fruition.

It’s as if by magic, that everything aligns for you and your natural instinct will suddenly guide you to do, say or learn something. Don’t question it, go with it even if it is scary or well out of your comfort zone. Fear is the main element that thwarts people’s acquisition of their goals. It’s important that you are conscious of these nudges and accept what they are telling you.

Final thought

Although I unknowingly practised visualisation for many years, it is only now that I am consciously aware of its importance. To be honest, it can feel a bit weird to begin with, you can start to dismiss it as silly and a waste of your time BUT HOLD ON! I was living my dream life within 5 months of starting my visualisation.

You CAN create your future and design your life however YOU want it to be.

Change your thoughts, your visions and you will change your life.

Jayne x

P.S: Should you wish to have a guided visualisation to get you started, please feel free to contact me and we will set up a Zoom to complete this free of charge. Once you have the hang of it there will be no stopping you and your potential will be endless 🙂

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