Success & Goal Achievement

Visualization Techniques to Manifest Your Dreams

The daily practice of visualizing your dreams as already complete can rapidly accelerate your achievement of those dreams, goals, and ambitions.

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You can achieve any goal – and create any future – you can imagine.

This is something I unquestionably believe because I have seen evidence of it over and over again in my life.

But the key to unlocking this ability rests in your ability to imagine your goals clearly and visualize what the process and end result of achieving those goals actually looks like!

That’s the power of using effective visualization techniques in your life…

Because when your idea of what you want is pretty fuzzy and you can’t see yourself going through the steps of achieving it (because you don’t know what those steps are and have no idea what they actually involve), your chances of achieving that goal will inevitably be fuzzy as well.

On the flip side, when you’re able to clearly and distinctly visualize yourself achieving that goal and going through all the steps of becoming someone who is capable of achieving that goal, your chances of doing so are virtually guaranteed!

That’s why today I would like to teach you some of my top visualization techniques to help you clarify exactly what it is you want to achieve and cultivate the positive energy required for you to manifest your dreams and create the life you most want to live.

What is Visualization?

Let’s begin with a quick overview of what positive visualization actually is and what an effective visualization practice actually looks like.

Simply put, visualization is what you do when you close your eyes and create positive mental imagery in your mind that reflects what you expect your life will look like once a certain outcome has been achieved. You know when you’re daydreaming or imagining something and the mental images come across so clearly in your mind it almost feels like you’re actually there? That’s what creative visualization looks like. It activates your subconscious mind to proactively seek out opportunities to accomplish the goals you have visualized yourself achieving.

Types of Visualization Techniques

There are two different types of visualization techniques available and each has its strengths.

  • Outcome visualization: This visualization technique places the focus on what your life will look like once your desired outcome has been attained. You imagine as many details about what this future is like for you – what your days are like, where you live and who you spend time with, and how you feel in your body and mind as you contemplate your life in this ideal future. Outcome visualization is the carrot that pulls you forward and keeps you motivated and inspired as you work toward your goal.
  • Process visualization technique: This visualization technique places the focus on the steps you’ll need to take to reach that desired outcome. It reduces anxiety and eliminates negative thought impulses that arise from a lack of experience or self-esteem. When you actively visualize yourself doing the research, taking the training, building your support network, and taking the leap into unknown territory, you make it so much easier for yourself to actually DO these things. And studies show that by engaging in such visualization exercises, you are far more likely to achieve much better outcomes.

I recommend you use both of these creative visualization techniques to strengthen your mental image and motivation.

Benefits of Visualizations

Here’s a quick overview of the specific benefits you’ll experience using these visualization techniques daily:

  1. Visualization activates your creative subconscious which will start generating creative ideas to achieve your goal.
  2. It programs your brain to more readily perceive and recognize the resources you will need to achieve your dreams.
  3. It activates the Law of Attraction, thereby drawing into your life the people, resources, and circumstances you will need to achieve your goals. (More on that below.)
  4. It builds your internal motivation to take the necessary actions to achieve your dreams.
  5. It increases your confidence as you become increasingly able to visualize yourself as the kind of person who is capable of accomplishing your goals.
  6. It helps you mitigate stress and reduce anxiety by making it easier for you to anticipate possible roadblocks and imagine workable solutions that will help you overcome them faster or avoid them altogether
  7. It sets you up for success by helping you “practice” success in your own mind and learn to see yourself as someone who tasks risks and achieves successful outcomes.

Do Visualization Techniques Really Work?

Yes, they absolutely do! I myself have used visualization techniques to accomplish many if not most of my goals in life – such as getting to six figures annually, writing and selling countless New York Times bestselling books, buying a beachfront property in Maui, healing my relationship with my son, creating the relationship I want with my wife, and so much more.

Even today, when I’m getting ready to accomplish a big goal, such as talking to 10,000 people from the stage, I take the time to clearly visualize myself accomplishing this feat successfully. I will close my eyes and imagine myself on that stage. I will see the people’s interested and engaged faces looking back at me. I will feel the lights on my face and skin and hear their applause they rise to give me a standing ovation and the end of it!

And that visualization gives me the confidence I need to overcome my own natural introversion and completely rock every live event at which I speak!

But it’s certainly not just me who has experienced a lot of success by visualizing important goals as achieved. I know so many other highly successful people who have also achieved their goals using visualization techniques. I’m talking Olympic athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, billionaires, successful nonprofit founders, and so many more. That’s the power of visualization for you!

8 Visualization Techniques to Reach Your Dreams

Use the following visualization techniques to create your own effective visualization practice and move so much closer to achieving your life goals.

1. Know What You Want

Your first step is to pick one specific dream or goal you want to focus on, and get really clear about what it is and why you want to achieve it. The more clearly you can define this dream or goal, the easier it will be for you to visualize yourself achieving it.

2. The ‘Mental Rehearsal’ Technique

This is one of the visualization techniques that are popular with top athletes. To practice, set aside a few minutes a day at a time when you are relaxed, such as: when you first wake up, after meditation or prayer, or right before you go to bed. Then go through these three steps:

STEP 1. Imagine sitting in a movie theater. The lights dim and the movie starts. It’s a movie of YOU doing perfectly whatever it is that you want to do better. Visualize what’s happening on the screen in as much detail as possible – including your clothing, the expression on your face, your environment, and any other people that might be around. Add in any sounds you would be hearing — traffic, music, other people talking, clapping. Finally, recreate in your body any feelings you think you would be experiencing as you engage in this activity.

STEP 2. Get out of your chair, walk up to the movie screen, open a door in the screen, and walk through it into the actual movie. Now experience the entire scene again from inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes. This is called an “embodied image” rather than a “distant image” and will deepen the impact of the experience. Again, see, hear, and everything in vivid detail.

STEP 3. Walk back out of the screen and return to your seat in the theater – then reach out and grab the screen, where the movie of your life is still playing, and shrink it down to the size of a cracker. Now eat it! Pop it that tiny screen into your mouth, chew it up, and swallow it. Imagine that each tiny piece contains the full picture of you performing well, just like a hologram. Visualize all these little screens traveling down into your stomach and out through the bloodstream into every cell of your body. Then imagine that every cell of your body is lit up with a movie of you performing perfectly.

This whole process should take about five minutes, When you have finished, you can open your eyes and go about your business. If you make this part of your daily routine, you will be amazed at how much improvement you will see in your life!

Create a Vision Board

One of my favorite visualization techniques is using a vision board to make it easy for you to see your goals as having been achieved. A vision board is a collage of images and powerful words or phrases that evoke the visuals, objects, and sensations you associate with the successful achievement of your goal.

For example, if one of your dreams is to own a new car, take your camera down to your local auto dealer and have a picture taken of yourself sitting behind the wheel of your dream car. If your goal is to visit Paris, find a picture or poster of the Eiffel Tower then place a picture of yourself and the image of Paris on your vision board.

I personally have used vision boards to achieve my goals for decades. When we were writing the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul® book, we took a copy of the New York Times best-seller list, scanned it into our computer, and using the same font as the newspaper, typed Chicken Soup for the Soul into the number one position in the “Paperback Advice, How-To, and Miscellaneous” category.

vision board benefits

Then we printed several copies and hung them up around the office. Less than two years later, our book was the number one book in that category and stayed there for over a year.

Now that’s a pretty great example of a successful visualization technique!

If you choose to create a vision board, I recommend that you find or create a picture of every aspect of your dream life. Create a picture or a visual representation for every goal you have – financial, career, recreation, new skills and abilities, things you want to purchase, and so on – and put them all on your vision board so you can easily visualize the life you want to live whenever you look at it.

Write on Index Cards or Notecards

Another way to use physical aids as part of your visualization process is to write your goals on 3×5 index cards and keep those cards near your bed so you can read them out loud every morning when you first wake up and at night before you go to bed. As you read each goal out loud, see the completion of that goal in its perfect desired state for about 15 seconds, then open your eyes and repeat the process with the next card.

Use Affirmations to Support Your Visualization

An affirmation is a positive statement that is written in the affirmative present tense that evokes the experience of already having whatever it is you want.

Here’s an example of an affirmation: “I am happily vacationing 2 months out of the year in a tropical paradise, and working just four days a week owning my own business.”

Repeating an affirmation several times a day keeps you focused on your goal, strengthens your motivation, and programs your subconscious to do whatever it takes to make that goal happen. Please note that the affirmation is always focused on what you DO want to achieve, not what you DON’T want to experience. this is because we always tend to get what we visualize, even when it’s expressed as a negative. (Try to consciously NOT think about pink elephants and you’ll see what I mean.)

Create Triggers for Your Subconscious Mind

Our subconscious minds have evolved to become incredibly good at connecting sensations and experiences. That’s why a certain smell can immediately evoke a powerful memory and a surge of associated emotions.

To create positive triggers for your own subconscious, expose yourself to a specific kind of sensory input as you do your visualization exercises. For example, you might want to listen to a specific song or use aromatherapy to connect a specific scent to the visualization of your desired outcome. Then, make sure you are exposed to that scent or song at least once a day so that your visualization springs clearly to mind.

This is one of the visualization techniques I love best – because the more intensely we are able to visualize as complete, the more we hardwire our brains to resolve the conflict between the vision we hold in our head and our knowledge that this reality doesn’t exist yet.

Visualization activates the creative powers of the subconscious, motivating it to work harder at creating solutions. You’ll also notice new levels of motivation and find yourself doing things that normally you would avoid, but that will take you closer to success.

Live in the Moment

One of the best ways to amplify the effectiveness of any visualization techniques you use is to practice being present at the moment. Daily rituals can help you establish the right balance between thinking about the future and living in the “now.” Start by picking a time during which you’ll review your goals and visualize your success. Ideally, do this twice a day – first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed. The process typically will take 10 minutes or less.

If you meditate, it’s a good idea to practice your favorite visualization techniques immediately after your meditation. The deepened state of relaxation meditation brings will heighten the impact of your practice.

Once you have completed your visualization techniques and visualized each goal as complete, it’s time to release. Let go of your goals, and spend the rest of your day in the present moment. This will help you think more clearly and react move effectively to whatever is happening so you get better outcomes in everything you do.

Incorporate Sensory Experiences

An easy way to instantly become more present at the moment is to focus on your bodily sensations. It’s impossible to focus on your physical body and be mentally in the past or the future at the same time.

Here’s an example to show you what I mean: focus on your left foot right now. What are you feeling? Pay attention to the sensation for a minute. Then notice what you’re feeling on your right foot, and spend a few moments really feeling the sensation. If you were able to pay attention to your feet, congratulations. You were absolutely present.

If you find your mind drifting to the past or future throughout the day, you can use this practice or one of the more basic visualization techniques to bring yourself back to the present moment.

As the saying goes, “Today is a gift—that’s why it’s called the present.” Absolutely do practice regular visualization techniques to help you achieve your goals, but be sure to spend the majority of your time enjoying the gift of today. You will get better outcomes if you do!

Expect Real Results

By writing down your goals, using the power of visualization techniques, and repeating your affirmations daily, you can achieve amazing results.

Visualization and affirmations allow you to change your beliefs, assumptions, and opinions about the most important person in your life — YOU! They allow you to harness the 18 billion brain cells in your brain and get them all working in a singular and purposeful direction.

So instead of dwelling on skepticism or self-doubt, I encourage you to practice positive thinking and allow yourself to believe that you have the innate capacity to achieve any goal you can imagine. If you put in the time to practice at least one powerful visualization technique every day, surround yourself with positive people, read uplifting books, and listen to audio programs that flood your subconscious mind with positive, life-affirming messages, I guarantee you will be amazed at what you will accomplish!

Practice Visualization Today

Now that you know the power of using visualization techniques to help you stay motivated and focused as you work to achieve your goals, I encourage you to get started today!

A really great way to amplify the impact of your visualization techniques is to incorporate Law of Attraction strategies to raise your energetic frequency so that you are better able to attract what you need into your life.

If you’re new to this practice, I know the Law of Attraction may sound somewhat “woo” to you but when applied effectively, it really works! That’s because it requires you to cultivate a more positive mindset and the confidence you need to attract the people, resources, and opportunities you need to achieve your goals and make your dreams come true.

To learn more and put the Law of Attraction to work with much greater effect in your life, download my free Law of Attraction guide today.

Meet Jack Canfield

For over 40 years, he has been teaching entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders, and people from all walks of life how to create the life they desire.

As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul(r) series, he's taught millions of individuals his modernized formulas for success, and has trained and certified over 2,700 students to teach his content and methodology in 107 countries around the world.