Visualise, Take Daily Action and Achieve
In this blog, I will go through my learnings, hoping some of these learnings will help you in fine-tuning your personal development skillset.
One of the first and foremost things I did was to examine my meaning-making of the word “Resolutions”. While the dictionary meaning suggests resolution as the ability to decide to do or not do something, I noticed my motivation to stick to the resolution waned off quickly. I found making decisions or “resolutions” was the easy part and sticking to them an uphill battle. Many pieces of research suggest that “meaning-making” is critical in getting and staying motivated (Science Direct, 2022). And the language and narrative we use form an essential aspect of meaning-making.
And thus, I decided to rephrase “resolutions” to “life goals” and setting life goals for me no longer denoted single decisions but a combination of decision-making and commitment required to see them through.
I have always been a person with a vivid imagination, and I am someone intrigued by the concept of manifestation, mindfulness, and the role neuroscience plays. And being a creative person, I loved the idea of making vision boards. However, I found it challenging to believe that just by displaying some images on a board, all our visions would come true. The part I struggled with the most was imagining achieving goals or taking actions way outside my comfort zone. The turning point in overcoming this challenge occurred as a side-effect of my further studies and finally understanding what and how creative visualisation works.
Creative visualisation is a technique where one consciously engages in “connecting with their imagination” to visualise specific goals, events, outcomes and emotions one aims to achieve (betterhelp.com, 2022). It is a cognitive process backed by scientific evidence and research. It is also commonly used to support attaining mental health outcomes, like pain management, behaviour change, and developing new habits, mindfulness, to name a few. An interesting concept of creative visualisation is that whether you imagine a scenario or you are experiencing it live, the same neural pathways get activated. We share it when watching a scary movie and noticing our heart rate increase. Or when thinking about eating your favourite food and your appetite suddenly perks up, you crave to eat that food.
One pitfall to watch out for is that the reverse is also true. If we imagine or the emotion behind our thoughts is irrational, we still risk believing it as accurate and getting stuck in the negative thought loop. Human beings are creatures of habits, and to unlearn a learnt behaviour, along with our thoughts, changes the way we feel: our emotion behind the thought fuels the behaviour. And that’s a foundational strategy to remember when visualising.
If your goal sits outside your comfort zone, and you have a belief or emotion like “fear” behind achieving it, this emotion keeps you stuck and hinders your visualisation. So rather than just focusing on creating a collage of the end goals, the key is to visualise and document images of taking actions to work towards the goal. For example, if one of your key goals is to run a marathon when you have never run one. It will prove challenging to imagine or experience the feeling of finishing one.
A helpful hack is to create a vision board with the end goal and images of several small achievable steps, like pictures of you walking 5 km, eating healthy meals, and tuning into the feeling of “small triumphs” and creating an imprint of new beliefs.
One of my key learnings of applying creative visualisation is noticing the prolongation of sustaining motivation. And sustained motivation is a handy tool to have in your development skill set, especially when it comes to achieving long-term goals. It is also a beneficial strategy to teach developing minds as adolescent years come with their share of distractions, lack of motivation, impatience and an enormous amount of peer pressure that influences their decision-making.
The last hack I have up my sleeve regarding taking action is getting an accountability buddy/partner/confidante, and perhaps more than one for different goals. A person or group of people you feel will hold you accountable and keep you motivated.
And one of my goals for this year is to keep up with writing blogs writing every fortnight, and I appoint you, my readers, as my accountability buddies. So, if you don’t hear from me, feel free to give me a holler!
As a parting thought and to kick start your creative visualisation journey, here’s a prompt for you:
“Imagine encountering Aladin’s Genie and being granted three wishes; what would you wish for?”
I’ll be keen to know what they are!
Keen to take the next step and put theory into practice and create a vision board? Check out our upcoming session!
Create your Vision (In Studio)