In a podcast from the Tim Ferriss Show (episode #214 ‘How to Design a Life’), Tim interviewed Debbie Millman, an American artist, designer and writer who is well-known for her podcast Design Matters.
In the podcast, she described a technique that she uses with her students to help them visualise their long-term goals. She asks her students to envision how their lives would be if everything they pursued would be successful, if they would always succeed no matter what. Her students have to write down, in fine details, how their lives would look 10 years from now if they had absolute certainty they wouldn’t fail.
They write everything down from where they’re living and what they’re working as to what their house looks like and what they look like. It’s a snapshot into a day of their lives ten years from now if they had succeeded in everything they tried.
Debbie says she did it in the past and found 10 years later that her writings had become true. It turned into her famous technique that she calls, the “10 year plan for a remarkable life“.
She describes how her students have come back to her a decade later, stating in disbelief how most of what they’d written down had become reality.
How does this work? It’s the power of visualisation.
Visualisation is a technique that lets you see your goal in your mind as if it’s already complete. It’s an incredibly powerful tool to help you achieve your goals. Check out the video below for the science behind how visualisation works.
By visualising our goals as already complete, it creates conflict in our subconscious mind between our current state and what we are mentally seeing. Our brains are hard-wired to resolve these conflicts by matching our reality to what we visualise. It’s a technique commonly applied by top entrepreneurs, artists, athletes and other successful people.
Here are some tips to achieve your goals through visualisation.
Visualise the outcome
Imagine yourself achieving your goal in detail. For example, if your goal is to present in front of a large audience, visualise yourself standing on stage having just made a speech to an applauding audience. Picture that mental image and hold onto all the positive feelings such as pride, accomplishment and empowerment.
Write it down
Just like Debbie tells her students to do, achieve your goals by writing how they’ll look once you’ve completed them. Describe them in as much detail as possible and how you feel once you’ve achieved your goal.
Watch the video below to see the science that explains how writing down your goals is a powerful way to visualise them and make them happen.
Imagine the process
Envision each set of actions necessary to achieve your goals. You ought to be thinking of all the steps you need to take to get to your goal. Thinking about presenting on stage, imagine walking up on stage and picture yourself talking confidently to a captivated audience. Picture what you’ll do if you suddenly feel nervous – and how you’ll overcome it.
For visualisation to work, you need to be constantly referring back to your mental image of you taking the steps to achieve the goal and how the outcome will look. Re-read your written notes or repeat the mental visualisation again and again until it becomes more vivid and more real.
Have you ever tried visualisation to achieve your goals? How did it work for you? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below.