Visualizing Goals: How to Connect With Your Goal
Duration of the exercise: approx. 20 minutes
Utensils: paper and a pencil
Having a goal and struggling with achieving it can be terribly stressful and frustrating. In some cases, the road just seems too rocky and in other cases, we're not sure if it's even worth fighting for our goal. If you are at a point where you doubt your goal or you wish you had more energy to achieve your goal, this visualization exercise might proof very useful.
The technique of visualization is not a magical tool that lets you achieve your goal with the power of your thoughts alone. You still need to take action to get closer to your goal. However, visualizing your goal can help you to strengthen your belief in goal achievement and increase your motivation to do something for your goal. The more you connect mentally and physically with your goal, the more power, and motivation you can draw from the exercise. Connecting with your goal not only mentally but also physically means that you allow yourself to feel the way that you imagine you will after successfully achieving your goal.
A study on the topic of goal achievement and visualization showed, that participants who had a clear goal in mind and visualized themselves as specialists in their field, showed greater increase in performance compared to participants who didn't. The effect of goal visualization was tested with 373 Japanese university students who took part in an English language course (1).
If you want to try the technique of visualization, we recommend you to start with the following questions. (Try to visualize as many details as possible)
What is my goal?
How can I tell that I have reached my goal?
What changes in my thoughts when I have reached the goal?
How do I feel? What do I feel?
What do I look like?
What changes in my environment?
What does a typical day in my life look like when I have reached my goal?
How do people around me recognize that I have reached my goal?
How do people in my working life recognize it?
How do my friends and acquaintances recognize it?
How can my family recognize it?
What will the moment be like in which I tell someone close to me about the achievement of my goal? How do I feel?
What do other people say to me when I have achieved my goal?
What do people who like me say?
What do people who don't like me say?
Who will be most pleased with my goal achievement?
It can be helpful to answer the questions in writing because that way you can look at the answers over and over again and use them in your visualizations. Once you have answered the questions, try to take a couple of minutes each day to visualize your goal.
Find a quiet place where you are undisturbed and go on your thought journey. During this time go through your answers to the questions above step by step. Try to feel what it is like for you when the answers have come to pass. For example, if a feeling of joy or relief arises in you as you go through one of your answers, focus on giving that feeling space for a moment and feeling it fully.
To finish your visualization, focus on how it feels when you have achieved your goal. Enjoy this feeling and let it spread throughout your body. Then take three deep breaths and finish the exercise at your own pace.
If you like the technique of visualization and you want to visualize not only your goal but also the way to your goal, we recommend the second in-depth part of the exercise.
Author: Anna Seger
(1) Munezane, Y. (2015). Enhancing willingness to communicate: Relative effects of visualization and goal setting. Modern Language Journal, 99(1), 175-191. doi: 10.1111/modl.12193