The term visualisation can make some people shut off because they put it into the woo-woo category of things. The notion that you can just sit on your couch and visualise your life turning out and magically expect that it will. In my article ‘Hacking Your Brain’ I explained your Reticular Activating System or your RAS for short. The filtering system for your brain that determines what you see in your world and pay attention to. I want to refer back to this to break down why mastering visualisation can be a key to your success.
To refresh your memory, your RAS filters out all the bits of information taken on by the 5 senses that go into your subconscious, based on what you have had the strongest focus on in the past, your RAS will decide what is important enough to put through to your conscious awareness. Anything else is deleted, distorted, or generalised to match your filters. Explaining why everyone see’s the same situation differently and why you regularly see the same patterns in your life.
Visualisation comes into it like this, along with being conscious of how your thoughts contribute to your RAS, you can create images in alignment with your goals to help your RAS out. Your mind does not actually know the difference between a real memory and an imagined one. Therefore, when you visualise something, your subconscious takes it on as it does a normal memory, as if it actually happened. Visualising your goals reprograms yours RAS to start spotting opportunities and doing it consistently gets the RAS to take those images on as something now important because there is an increased focus on them.
There have been studies where they get participants to visualise using a particular muscle or of themselves learning the piano. By the end of the study, the muscle they were visualising strengthening actually grew in size. Those who in their minds practised piano actually improved their skills on a real piano. Your mind is very powerful.
You start by closing your eyes and creating a very clear picture of what your life is going to look like when your goals have been achieved. What else does it lead to? How are you now behaving in your life? How has your confidence improved? Most importantly how do you now feel? It is important to tap into the emotional aspect of how your planned future is going to make you feel as this is a strong component that keeps you on track. How are you going to feel about yourself with your goal accomplished? See yourself doing everything in alignment with that goal.
Consciously think of the positive emotions that you are going to feel, to the point where you feel good about yourself in that image. Where you are feeling positive emotions like joy and gratitude. You are training your brain to have a totally different filter, It will experience you visualising your goal and it encodes it as a real memory, changing your filter system.
All it takes is to do it for 30 seconds a day. The more you visualise, the more you build your confidence and security that you are going to be able to have your goal. It assists you in improving the skill you want as if you were actually working on it. The more you do it, you start to believe it is possible because you are reprogramming your brain, you are changing the neuron networks in your brain.
When you visualise your future to play out exactly how you want it to, you are helping to set yourself up for success because your mind is now searching for things that fit into the filters that match those goals being your reality. This will then create more action in your life of moving towards your goals because it just starts to feel like it is a part of the person you are and a natural behaviour.
Building healthier habits in your life starts with building valuable habits in your mind, that’s your foundation work. What are you going to start visualising this week?