How to Get the Most Out of Your Visualizations

By S. Renee Smith, Vivian Harte

To gain the most benefit, combine each of your affirmations with a visualization. For example, say you decide to concentrate on the affirmation, “I am competent at my job.” Before your visualization, identify a few areas where you know you’re competent and a few areas where you’re in the process of becoming more knowledgeable or need to become more competent.

In this visualization, you see yourself being proficient in those areas you’ve already mastered, feeling positive and pleased with yourself. Then you move into seeing yourself in those areas where you are somewhat adept and becoming more skilled.

Finally, you visualize tasks that you need more expertise in and you see yourself doing those well and with ease. You may visualize yourself getting training from a coworker or reading materials to learn more about these tasks, taking note of the steps you need to take to become better informed.

Here are some tips for having a successful visualization experience:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place. Have no distractions, if possible, including the television, radio, and cellphone.

  • Say your affirmation a few times as you relax your body and release any thoughts or tensions of the day.

  • Visualize yourself in a scene where you’re acting out what your affirmation says. Don’t watch yourself in the scene. You’re not the audience. Rather, imagine being in the scene, seeing through your eyes and acting through your body. Hold this mental picture as if it were occurring right at that moment. Be the star!

  • You may sit or stand. Either way, you may move your body slightly or make gestures with your hands to be in the scene.

  • Imagine the scene in great detail. Engage as many of your five senses as you can. Add bright and beautiful colors as well as sounds.

    Where are you? Are you outside or inside? Who are you with? What are you wearing and what are the other people wearing? What do you smell? What do you hear? What are you feeling? What would your life really be like if this happened? The more realistic images you create, the deeper the impression is made on your mind.

  • Let the visualization unfold and play with it until you feel very good about everything you’re experiencing, until the mental image feels complete.

  • If part of your visualization is performing a task or activity, focus clearly on the image of the action you are about to make. Then be in the scene achieving the activity successfully and being proud of yourself for doing it so well.

  • Think about the qualities that will assist you in being successful in your visualization and incorporate these into the mental picture you create. These could be communicating well, speaking up, listening to others, deflecting criticism with skill, and persuading others to do as you wish. Focus on what you want and what you are.

  • If you have trouble believing you can do what you’re visualizing, picture yourself doing it the best you’ve ever done it.

  • After your visualization is complete, write down the details, the thoughts that came to you, and any sensations you had. When you read it later, this will help you reenter your visualization state. Then, at your next visualization, take it deeper with more detail.

  • When you first start to visualize, it may feel strange to see yourself in a new way, and it’s perfectly natural to feel this way. It may feel weird and maybe even a little odd. You may even feel uncomfortable acting in this new, self-confident way.

    Realize that if it doesn’t feel unfamiliar, you’re probably not doing the visualization correctly. What you need to do is go through these feelings and keep on visualizing. As you do so, over time, you will get more comfortable.

  • It’s crucial that you take action to make your visualization come true. Don’t expect it to materialize only because you’re imagining it. Look at the steps you wrote down for the first practice exercise in this chapter. These are the ones to concentrate on accomplishing.