How to use visualisation techniques to accomplish your goals

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To achieve success in life and at work, it's important to set goals and follow through with them. Whether you're a student or a senior executive, learning how to use visualisation techniques can help you achieve your goals and create the future life you desire. By practising visualisation techniques regularly, you can also make positive behavioural changes in your life. In this article, we explain what visualisation techniques are and how you can use them to accomplish your goals.

What are visualisation techniques?

Visualisation techniques are exercises that involve using your imagination to envision your goals and your desired future. By having a clear mental image of what you would like to achieve, you can feel more motivated and prepared to work towards accomplishing your goals. Practising visualisation consistently can also help you feel more confident about making your goals a reality.

Related: What are communication barriers?

Benefits of visualisation techniques

There are many benefits of using visualisation techniques, including:

Increased confidence

Visualisation techniques often involve forecasting situations repeatedly until they feel like reality, which can help you mentally prepare for the task. Visualising yourself overcoming challenges and experiencing success can help increase your confidence, even if that experience is in your imagination.

Read more: How to build confidence at work

Increased motivation

Visualisation can also help you feel more inspired to make changes in your life. Having a clear vision of what your goal is, how you can achieve it and why you want to reach that objective can help you build the confidence and determination to work towards your goal.

Improved performance

Many successful people across a wide range of fields use visualisation as a method of performance improvement. Studies show that visualisation can enhance performance by improving concentration. Professional athletes are well-known for using visualisation to improve their performance, but anyone can apply visualisation to their lives to achieve their goals.

Reduced stress and anxiety

Practising visualisation can help you feel less stressed and anxious about your future. As you build confidence to achieve these goals, you may feel more prepared and positive about making decisions that help you grow. Visualisation is also beneficial for stress management, as it can help you relax, alleviate intrusive thoughts and clear your mind of distractions.

Related: How to get motivated at work and reduce stress in 10 steps

How to use visualisation techniques to accomplish your goals

Follow these steps to learn how to use visualisation to achieve your goals:

1. Find a quiet and relaxing environment

Visualisation requires focus and active thinking and you can cultivate mental imagery more naturally when you're in a relaxed and open state. Before beginning your visualisation practice, try to spend some time focusing on your breathing to help you relax and release tension from your body.

You may also concentrate more easily when your mind is free of distractions. If possible, find a private area where you won't get disrupted and try to use the same location every time you practise visualisation to help yourself feel fully immersed in the activity more quickly during each session.

2. Create a mental picture of yourself succeeding

Focus on defining your goal by creating a vivid mental picture of yourself achieving your desired outcome. If your goal is to start your own business, imagine yourself working in your new office with your staff. Try to visualise yourself as an active participant from the first person perspective rather than watching yourself as an observer.

Use all your senses to experience this image in as much detail as possible. Hear your voice answering questions from clients, notice the furniture in the room and feel yourself seated in your chair. Being attentive to specific details can help you create a more vivid mental picture. Strong mental imagery can make your subconscious mind feel more motivated to engage in the activity.

Related: How to develop SMART goals

3. Envision what steps you'd take to achieve your goal

Changing your life often involves taking small steps. As you visualise accomplishing a specific goal, imagine what steps you would take to get there. Try to make each step specific and actionable. For instance, if you want to start a business, some steps may include performing market research, choosing a name for your company and writing a business plan.

Imagine yourself performing each of these steps and envision yourself seeing successful results. Consider how you would feel after you achieve each step. Take a moment to think about the feelings of excitement or gratification you would experience after successfully completing each step.

4. Use affirmations and positive mental imagery

Thinking positively is the first step to making sure that your visualisation technique is effective. Focus on optimistic thoughts and repeatedly tell yourself with confidence that you can achieve your goals and perform each task successfully. Use affirmative phrases such as ‘I have the strength to reach my goals' and ‘I can accomplish anything I set my mind to' and repeat them to yourself as many times as you need.

If you experience feelings of self-doubt, try to practise reframing these emotions into positive thoughts to help yourself stay focused and inspired when you experience obstacles. For instance, say to yourself, ‘I have faith in my ability to overcome this' or ‘I am stronger because of these challenges which allow me to grow'.

5. Make time to practise visualisation regularly

It can take time and patience to use visualisation techniques successfully. The more disciplined you are with your practice, the more you may experience the benefits. With regular practice, your mind may become more familiar with the specific actions necessary for you to take, helping you feel more prepared for a successful outcome.

Try to perform visualisation exercises once or twice a day for about 10 minutes each session. With time, visualisation can feel more like your reality and can give you the confidence that you can perform similarly and successfully in a real-life situation.

Related: How to write an action plan to help you achieve your goals

Different types of visualisation techniques

There are a variety of different visualisation techniques you can use to achieve your goals. It can be helpful to focus on a technique that best suits your personality and preferred goal-setting methods. Here's a list of common visualisation techniques you can try:

Vision board

If you prefer visualisation exercises that are more tangible than affirmations or mental rehearsal, consider creating a vision board. A vision board is a collection of photographs, images and words that serve as a visual representation of what you want to achieve. This helps inspire you and remind you of your goal. If your goal is to make a career change, your vision board can include images that remind you of your ideal job.

Place your vision board somewhere where you can see it every day. This way, you can remind yourself of your goal regularly, which can keep you motivated to pursue the life you want.

Index cards

Writing your aspirations on index cards can help you clarify exactly what you want to achieve. This can help guide you towards daily actions that help you achieve your goal. Try to frame your message in a way that expresses the intention behind your goal. For instance, you can write, ‘I can complete a course in programming to improve my knowledge of coding. This can take me one step closer towards securing a role at my dream company.'

You can keep your index cards near your bed or anywhere where you can see them regularly. Every morning or evening, take a few minutes to read aloud your goals, close your eyes and visualise yourself completing that goal.

Journal

Many people enjoy journalling as a visualisation technique. Try to journal consistently and write about your goals, plans, challenges and anything else that's on your mind. You can use journalling prompts such as, ‘what actions can I take today to make progress towards my goals?', ‘what tasks have I accomplished so far that helped me work towards my goals?' and ‘what does a day in my ideal future look like?'

Journalling can help you feel more organised and clear about what you want to achieve. It can also help you prioritise your tasks, come up with solutions to challenges and create a plan to accomplish your goal.

Letter from your future self

You can also use the visualisation technique of writing a letter from your future self. To complete this exercise, imagine that you have achieved your goals and write a letter to yourself from the future. Your letter can describe your life and how you feel after achieving success.

This visualisation technique can help you get into a successful mindset. motivate you to reach your goals and build the life that you want.

Explore more articles