5 Steps to Using Visualization to Reach Your Goals

by Aimee Wojtowecz

What do you want out of life? What are your big picture goals? More importantly, how do you intend to go about reaching them?

We all have wants. Some are very simple, such as wanting to lose ten pounds or wanting to be able to run 3 miles. While others, such as changing to a new career, are more complex. What’s interesting is that you can use the very same techniques to reach your goals no matter the scale, big or small.

Visualization is the technique of picturing a goal in your mind in detail so that you can manifest this change in your life. Maybe it sounds a little new agey? Maybe it sounds hard? Not really, it just takes a little time and a little patience. Visualizing your goals taps into your Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is a part of your brain that keeps you alive and sane by automating as much of your behavior as possible. Anything your brain does is saved through neural pathways, the most dominant and frequently used neural pathways aka your thoughts, get stored in your subconscious brain for faster access. 

“The Reticular Activating System just reinforces what’s in your subconscious. So if your thought (belief) in a neural pathway is “I don’t like exercise”, guess what: You’ll battle to get into a fitness routine. Because your RAS will only filter out information that will make you avoid exercise at all costs. To the point where it will block information about any fitness successes, you might achieve.” (https://lifexchangesolutions.com/reticular-activating-system/)

One thing to know about your neural pathways and RAS: It’s an automatic process that cannot distinguish between good and bad behavior. Your RAS does not care whether getting fit is good or bad for you. It only automates what’s in your neural pathways.

By following these five simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to rebooting your RAS and reaching your goals.

Step 1: Engage Fully in the Vision

You absolutely must put yourself into the visualization as fully as you possibly can, fill in all the details. Use all your senses and emotions to experience this vision in a way that is real to you. There can be no holding back here.

Step 2: Experience Different Viewpoints

What does this visualization feel like to you? Experience it first as yourself so that you can connect emotions to actions. You want to feel every part of it. Now, step back and experience it again as if you’re watching yourself succeed from outside of yourself, like watching a movie. Why? This helps you to see details you might miss otherwise.

Step 3: Live the Success

When you’re done with the visualization, it’s time to live the part. Become the person you saw at the end of the vision. How does that person move? Think? Act? What is their daily routine like? How can you implement this in your current lifestyle? 

Step 4: Reinforce the Message

Visualization needs back-up to be successful. The world is full of negative energy, sometimes finding root in your own mind. Keep your self-talk positive, use affirmations, and look for ways to constantly reinforce the vision in your mind without tearing it down.

Step 5: Make the Vision Tangible in a Way You can See it

Creating a dream board or collage will set out your visualization in a place where you are constantly reminded of the experience. Seeing it over and over will also reinforce your goals and strengthen your resolve. Not into crafting? Write it down on post-it notes and stick them to your bathroom mirror, in your car, at your desk, anywhere that you will be able to look at them several times a day. 

By following these steps, you’ll find your goals and dreams becoming more and more solid. Of course, you’re going to have to put in the work to achieve what you want. However, by using visualization and rewiring your RAS, you’ll have a clear path of where you’re going and how to get there.