When I first became interested in life-changing habits, psychology, and maximizing human potential a few years ago, one of the things that intrigued me the most was the power of visualization. It never occurred to me how effective and important a component is when it comes to eradicating bad habits and developing good habits. Trying to get rid of bad habits and get better are things that go through with nearly everyone.
Everyone acts consciously and unconsciously.
Consciousness acts when you are fully aware of your present moment. For example, you are fully aware of the fact that you are sitting at a table and you are reading this article in a comfortable chair. On the other hand, when you do something automatically without thinking about it, your subconscious is at work. For example, when you wear shoes with one foot or take a shower and apply soap to your body.
When making decisions during the day, use your conscious or subconscious mind. What’s crazy is that we use our subconscious to make 90% of our decisions. We make these decisions unconsciously without being fully present and thinking about them if any and we do it 90% of the time!
The unconscious decisions we make are the result of past experiences and environmental factors which, in turn, have shaped our beliefs and expectations. They are embedded in our brains and have a profound influence on the decisions we make, sometimes years after the onset of our first experiences.
For example, your parents once told you that you weren’t that smart. Because of the influence, your parents had on you, you kept it to yourself and from that day on you have always believed that you were not that smart.
Then, over the years, that belief manifests itself in many ways:
You don’t pay attention to it in chemistry class because you don’t believe you have the intelligence to be an expert in the subject. You are not applying for admission to a good university because you think you are not good enough for that school. The unconscious choices you make only reinforce beliefs, regardless of whether those beliefs are based on reality or not it becomes a circle, a vicious circle.
The subconscious mind doesn’t care whether something is true or not. He just keeps it in your mind bank for later reference. The next time you find yourself in a similar situation or find reasons to attribute a situation to this belief, that belief will act as your guide it’s almost like we’re on autopilot.
So it only makes sense that we need to change our beliefs to change our habits and behavior. Think for a moment about how negative beliefs limiting people in general: I am not good enough, I am too old, I am very ordinary, I am too young, I am not attractive, I fail, I am not smart, I don’t have what it takes. I run a successful business, I will never find a partner who loves me, etc. We then make decisions and act on those limiting beliefs we can all relate to it in one form or another.
Fortunately, this belief can be changed through repetition. One way is through visualization. I’ve practiced this a lot in my life and it’s had a big impact. He helped me realign many of my limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering and liberating ones. For example, I was horrified by the dentist because of a terrible experience when I was young.
I have associated all dentists with pain and suffering, and as a result, I have not visited a dentist as often as I should have in years (my beliefs influenced this decision). I finally decided to imagine a more positive experience with a new dentist who, while feeling a little uncomfortable, would not be like the traumatic experience when I was younger.
I imagined that I was being treated by a dentist who was gentle, understanding, and kind. I imagine sitting in a dental chair and feeling comfortable.
I imagine that I will have healthy teeth in the years to come. Then I found a dentist that I liked and my anxiety lessened. While I can’t say that visiting the dentist is one of my favorite pastimes, I can say that visualization made a huge difference in my perspective and actions I just changed my belief.
Likewise, I use visualization to change my choices and habits regarding my fitness, business, family life, and even my overall happiness. This greatly increases my chances of success every time I try to change my life for the better and it also helps maintain old and bad habits.
All because I have changed my beliefs and expectations. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t have bad habits or limiting beliefs to work with. I’m far from perfect and I’m always trying to improve. However, I have the experience that visualization works. Some of the best athletes, leaders, musicians and other performers use it consistently.
How exactly do I visualize?
The good news is that it’s really easy. The bad news is, it must be done repeatedly and consistently to be effective. Our old beliefs and habits are embedded in our brains through constant repetition.
Every time you remember, identify and act on your limiting beliefs, it becomes more of a habit. To replace it, visualization must become a daily practice.
After doing research, I decided to visualize my goals and desired results as often as possible. I do it in bed at night, I do it in the morning before meditating, and I often do it suddenly while waiting in line at the supermarket or waiting at traffic lights and so on.
That is all slowly but surely, I noticed that my beliefs, attitudes, and actions began to change. Of course, it was because of the choices I ended up making. But somehow they feel much simpler, more automatic, more at a subconscious level (think where at least 90% of our decisions and actions come from). Like brushing your teeth or tying your shoes, this is done naturally.
How to visualize
Visualization can be done anywhere and anytime. However, it is best not to distract. Just close your eyes (this is not a requirement) and visualize the result or goal you want. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, imagine that you are thin and fit.
Or if you want to improve relationships, visualize yourself with other people, have fun, laugh, have quiet discussions, love them as simple as that.
The longer you do it, the more effective it will be. You use the power of your thoughts to change your beliefs and your subconscious. Remember that the subconscious doesn’t care whether the input you give is based on reality or not it is indistinguishable.
For visualization to work, you need to do five things:
- You have to do it consistently. You have to practice it every day to get better (like everything else). The more often you do this, the deeper the effect will be.
- Call out all your senses. You have to make your visualization as realistic as possible. If possible, use smell, touch, sight, hearing, and taste to create realism. Imagine as if this were happening in real-time. Be descriptive and as specific as possible.
- Visualize yourself as a protagonist, not as an audience. It’s important to introduce yourself in the middle of the action and not watch videos of yourself. Be in the moment and feel it; Watch this as if it happened.
- Write it down. While this step is not as important as the other three factors, it greatly enhances your visualization effect. Keep a journal and write down your new reality. Make it as clear as possible.
- Give it time. You can’t even imagine and then expect your whole life to change instantly. As with any sport or endeavor, it can take a while to notice major changes be patient.
Of course, visualization has to be followed by action. Remember, most bad habits also require action. Through visualization, you change your subconscious, develop new beliefs and hopes, develop good habits, replace old ones, and choose actions that are good for you. Give it a try and you will be amazed!