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07 Jul, 2011

Process the Power of Goal Visualisation!

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles|Continuous Professional Development|In The Spotlight|Life Coaching Articles|Personal Success

Process the Power of Goal Visualisation!

Visualisation is the practice of affecting the outside world by changing your thoughts and using imagination to experience new behaviours and new events. By creating detailed schemas of what you want, over and over again and by using all senses to recreate these, new patterns for a change in behaviours are laid down in the brain as templates.

Using the mind and your imagination, you can see the potential for new events and new behaviours in your life. Using positive thinking and these new learnings to see things and situations differently through creating a multi-sensory experience in your mind, these new, helpful and resourceful behaviours will become positive habits.

Using the Power of Creative Visualisation opens up opportunities to create positive outcomes. Picturing positive outcomes help you create this reality in your life.

Power of Imagination

To appreciate the power of your mind, imagine a plateful of lemons, cut one in half and then see what happens – you will probably be beginning to salivate. Similarly, imagine yourself running up a series of stairs and feel the effect that this has on your breathing and your heart-rate. The Power of Imagination!

Visualise the Familiar

If you don’t feel experienced in visualisation then look at what is familiar to you. Think about what you had for lunch? Think about the colour of your front door? Who was your favourite teacher? What was your first pet? Where did you go for your last holiday. Start in those familiar places and relive the experience. That is Visualisation!

Visual Navigation

Close your eyes and beging to remember journeys that you have made before, now in your mind. Positive journeys. Perhaps start with a walk around your favourite place and re-notice all the landmarks – the smells, the sound, the feelings. Perhaps around your old school, a place where you worked, somewhere that you visited. Notice as much as you can in your mind. Revisit this place often and notice new things.

This will help you to develop your neurological pathways and create the basis for change. For re-visiting places in Visual Navigation, make sure that you only re-visit places that are OK for you psychologically.


Look at the language that you use to yourself. Is it full of demands; shoulds, musts, have tos, aughts? These put unnecessary pressure on yourself and make the journey towards your goal much more demanding. Think of converting your demands to preferences, have a desire for action and create a new language to yourself that is more helpful.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

The key to success in goal achievement is repetition. Eventually new behaviours become new habits and unhelpful behaviours are extinguished. Regular practice of new behaviours, such as Goal Visualisation, lay down new neurologies as ‘templates’ in the brain that you access from new memory. The name of the game is Repetition; new behaviours become habits over time.

Short-Term Goals

Practice regular short term goal visualisation, perhaps 5 minutes twice every day. Imagine the Stepping Stones that you will take towards your goal and make the images as vivid and as real as possible. Think about When, Where and With Whom?

Familiar Anchors

Use familiar objects to ‘Anchor’ or ‘Fix’ the images and the feelings of your new goals. Use things such as trees, steps, buildings, traffic lights. Things that you will encounter on a regular basis and that will remind you of the steps along your journey and your goal.

Outcome or Process

Research has shown that if you focus on the Process (The Steps), as well as the Outcome (your Final Goal), that the end result will be more durable and effective than focussing only on the Outcome (Pham & Taylor 1999). Visualising and Imagining the steps along the way as well as the final goal will make the result much more succesful.

by John Aspden


Pham LB, Taylor SE (1999). From Thought to Action: Effects of Process-Versus Outcome-Based Mental Simulations on Performance. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, February 1999 vol. 25 no. 2, 250-260

2 Responses to "Process the Power of Goal Visualisation!"

1 | Jeff Kear

July 8th, 2011 at 3:44 pm


Yes, I agree, and I must say Visualisation dosen’t have to be goal orientated, I can remember doing this as a child, I would close my eyes and could fly, drive a racing car do incredible feats, and they would appear real!
It was only many years later, after reading books about visualisation, that I remembered.

The key I’ve found now, is to relax to the point of not being aware of one’s psysical presence, this can take some repeated practice (repartition!) preferably in a quite place, allowing any noises, thoughts, feelings to come and go and not allowing yourself to stop and focus on them, eventually, the body sort of drops away, what you are left with is pure conscientiousness, perhaps the essence of who we are?

In this state we can see ourselfs in any situation thats as real as me typing this, this makes for a very good rehursal platform without leaving one’s living room.

2 | John Aspden

July 8th, 2011 at 9:55 pm


Thanks for the comments Jeff and yes the skills of visualisation start very early, as you say in childhood.

You also well describe an excellent way of developing visualisations through mindfulness or being in the ‘present’.

How often do we slow down or even stop to think about what we want and how we’re going to achieve it?

So a question for you and others is: Visualisation – nature or nurture?

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