It’s time to start visualizing more than just your goals

You’ve probably heard that visualizing your goals will help you reach them. I think that’s a great tip; I do it all the time. You’ve probably also heard that you need a clear action plan to achieve those visualizations, and that you actually need to act on that plan. All of the above is true.

However, to really make things happen, you also need to visualize challenges along the way. It’s usually pretty easy to picture your desired outcome and convince yourself that getting there will be no big deal. But if it’s a goal worth working towards, it’s likely a significant achievement and will take a lot of work. If you imagine an easy journey, you’ll get discouraged by the first bump in the road or sidelined by your first big setback.

To minimize your discouragement, visualize your expected challenges in advance. If you’re trying to eat healthier, picture yourself at a birthday party with lots of sweets or on that all-inclusive vacation you planned. Visualize yourself making healthy choices in those situations and deciding in advance what you’re willing to splurge on. If you’re trying to exercise regularly, imagine your boss asking you to work late or your kid being home sick for the day. Again, have strategies in place so you can still squeeze in a workout in those situations. Visualize yourself doing a few jumping jacks and pushups every hour for the rest of the day or going for a quick walk around the block.

It doesn’t matter what you visualize for your challenges or their solutions, as long as you picture something that you can really see yourself doing. If you do this regularly, when those challenges do arise, your brain will already know exactly what to do.

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