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Imagery Is Everything - How To Achieve Future Success

By Hara Estroff Marano
From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

Its time to start practicing the skills that will help you create the life, health and love that you really want. Now get ready to start bringing it closer to reality by visualizing it.

Visualizing the life you want does four important things

  • First, it gives you direction. If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably wind up someplace else.

  • It is literally the source of motivation so you can do what is needed to create what you want. As Einstein said, “What you can conceive and believe, you can achieve.”

  • It provides clarity about what changes you need to make in your life.

  • And it illuminates the roadblocks that have held you back from getting what you want until now.

These may be doubts about your ability to get what you want or beliefs that you really don’t deserve good things in life, like a flower believing it doesn't deserve the sun. Maybe it’s fears that the changes you want won’t happen because perhaps you’ve tried 20 or 30 times before.

Once you identify the obstacles in your path, you can fix them. So as you go through the following future-visualization exercises, note your doubts, fears, and disbeliefs. Maybe its some variation of I want to be healthy, trim and have a great life, but I dont think I deserve it. The next installment in this series on Lasting Change will help you overcome the roadblocks.

Every wisdom tradition holds that we can create our own fate and encourages us to use our imagination to create it. And in the last 40 years, the power of visualization has been proven to literally change physical reality. Medical studies show that visualization can create an increase in specific types of blood cell. High-caliber athletes consistently use visualization as a form of mental rehearsal to give them the winning edge. Visualization accesses powers you already have inside you.

Visualizing is as natural as breathing, contends Ti Caine, a certified hypnotherapist and life coach in Sherman Oaks, California. It consists of pictures and feelings -- the brain’s primary language.

And yet, Caine says he can’t count the number of people who insist “I am not creative, I can’t visualize, I can’t meditate.” He says we're already visualizing every moment of every day. And the belief that we are powerless and life has to be a struggle is just a culturally-induced hypnotic suggestion that can be changed. Such people are using the very skills they say they don't have to convince themselves that they don't have them!

Some people resist visualizing, afraid of accessing dark scary stuff in their subconscious. But of course there’s scary stuff there, says Caine; everything we've ever seen, felt or imagined is stored there, like a huge video library. But they’re just movies, and visualization is like taking back control of the remote.

His FutureVisioning process helps you create new movies of the life, love and success you really want. Consider this. Studies show that it takes about 12 to 18 months for people who lose weight quickly to change their mental image of themselves to that of a thinner person. The failure to change their mental image may be a major reason so many dieters subsequently undo their own success. Changing your mental image first, by visualizing that future, paves the way for success.

Step-by-step Guidance in Mentally Rehearsing Your Own Bright Future

  1. Decide to enjoy this process and create a time and space of 5 to 20 minutes where you will not be disturbed, and where you can explore your own imagination.

  2. Remind yourself that you can't fail at this. The skills you need are already built into your brain. Your job is just to get to know what's already going on in your head so you can direct it.

  3. Knowing that you are going on a fun journey to visit a wonderful future, let yourself relax. Take three deep breaths, making it easy by inhaling and exhaling through your mouth. Imagine a relaxing summer day and you're sitting in a comfortable chair in a beautiful place. Inhale, filling your chest and your belly, then just let the exhale simply fall out, and let go.

  4. Recognize that about 70 percent of your brain’s capacity is consumed in processing the visual information that comes in through your eyes. By closing your eyes you can free up brainpower for imagining, so gently close your eyes and take three more full relaxing breaths.

  5. Imagine or pretend that you are in a beautiful spot in nature looking out over a vast horizon where a wonderful future awaits you. Let yourself enjoy the feeling of just imagining a great future out there. Is it closing in or a long way off? Clear of fuzzy? If all you sense is darkness or fog, then just pretend that what you want is on the other side of it, like the sun behind the clouds, and imagine leapfrogging to the bright future behind the clouds.

  6. Let your bright future come in closer, close enough for you to see yourself in it living a wonderful life. How does that feel? What do you sense? What do you see? Now imagine you got pulled by the fun and love right into that future, and, as emotionally and enthusiastically as you can, let yourself experience how it feels to live the wonderful life that you really want.

  7. As you do this, choose one moment in the future that is filled with the feeling of joy and love that you want. Keep it in mind so that when you finish the exercise, you can write about that moment. Keep those notes to refer to as you move ahead in your life.

Give yourself the gift of doing this visualization each day for the next two weeks, and watch what happens.

For specific information to enhance this visualization, and for a free downloadable guided journey into your future, you can go to

Hara Estroff Marano is Editor-At-Large of Psychology Today magazine and Editor-In-Chief of Psychology Today's Blues Buster, a newsletter about depression. An award-winning writer on human behavior, Haras articles have appeared in publications including the New York Times, Smithsonian, Family Circle and The Ladies Home Journal. She lives in New York City.

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