2017 is upon us, which means it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past and improve for the year ahead. Instead of talking about reflection (like thousands of other blogs) my area of improvement is always on the future. And I believe the most important thing about looking ahead is visualizing your goals.
Visualizing your goals not only gives us meaning in what we do, but it can also help keep us on track while achieving them. When architects look to build a house, they don’t send a check for supplies to the contractor and hope for the best. They design a blueprint – a visual map that lays out specific measurements and steps that must be taken in order to construct a house (the end goal).
Have you ever known someone that says they’re going to do something, but they never follow through with it? You’re probably thinking of the countless failed fitness related New Year’s resolutions (gyms certainly love this time of year). So why do these common goals fail so often?
In the case of the New Year’s resolution, achievement relates to legitimacy. People tell themselves they want to be healthier, without actually mapping out a plan to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Wanting something isn’t enough – you actually need to consider what steps must be taken in order to reach the end goal.
The truth is, exercising is the easy part. Don’t get me wrong, it will be physically demanding, you’ll be sore and tired in the beginning. But the hardest part is mental. You have to visualize yourself waking up early (possibly sacrificing your precious sleep) to go to the gym. You must consider how many vending machines and boxes of donuts will pass you by on a daily basis – and neglect them.
Maybe you want a promotion or a raise that comes with that fancy new office. You will need to map out a plan in order to get that promotion (something that goes beyond following the crowd and showing up early every day). I get it, standing out requires risk – but you should never settle for mediocrity.
Visualizing your path to success will come with much resistance – regardless of what your goal is. The easy part is getting in your car and driving to work, or jumping on the treadmill and going for a jog. Once you begin, your motor functions will take over. And the resistance you hear isn’t from your body, it’s from your mind.
If you haven’t properly visualized how you’re going to be healthier, or how you’re going to get a promotion at work, I guarantee you the resistance will be strong. You will question your actions and often wonder why you’re even doing it in the first place. The mental games we play revolving around self-doubt stem from uncertainty.
Visualization really comes down to the how. How are you going to reach the end goal? It’s your blueprint for success. Your road map to achieving greatness. Not having a plan can be dangerous.