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For your life to get better on the outside, you first must get better on the inside. This requires certain practices.
What you think and feel shape your actions. What we think, we become.
Your actions shape your life. If you start the day with visualizing the life you want as if it were real today, followed by reciting positive affirmations and then reinforcing your affirmations with specific intentions, you will eventually start acting on those intentions. Then, your positive actions will lead to positive results. As you change on the inside, your life will change on the outside.
There are three practices that prime the brain for change. They are visualization, affirmations, and intentions. You should start each day with these three practices.
Positive change starts with a positive vision of the life you want, positive affirmations of that vision, and positive intentions you commit to doing each day to make your vision a reality.
Changing the brain takes repetition. You will need to practice your visualization, affirmations, and intentions over and over for a lifetime. Also, the brain does not delete. As you build new neural networks, the old, negative ones grow dormant, but they don’t go away. You will need to keep practicing your visualizations, affirmations, and intentions every day for the rest of your life to keep them dominant. Otherwise, they will die down and you risk going back to your old, default mode of being, seeing, and doing.
When we visualize ourselves actually living the life we want, we activate the same neural networks that would fire if our dreams were our reality. By visualizing, we prime our brains to act to make our dreams come true. Some say visualization activates our creative unconscious. Visualization is part of the process of creation. What we visualize we eventually express through action. True to the Law of Attraction, the Universe resonates with the positive energy we put out. It gives back to us that positive energy from others. This is how visualization causes us to attract to us what we want.
What we can conceive and believe, we can achieve. This is why professional athletes use visualization to improve their performance. Similarly, visualizing our dream life improves our performance in making our dream life a reality. Visualization helps us to design our lives with clarity and purpose. Visualization also increases motivation to act to achieve our dreams. It inspires us to put in the necessary effort and initiative to make it happen.
Here are some guides to visualization:
1. Before you start, write down your life meaning and purpose, as well as your key life goals. Think about what you want more of in your life. Is it money, freedom, love, friends, health, happiness, joy, adventure, losing weight, or inner peace? You must know what you want before you can visualize it to achieve it.
2. After you have written your life meaning and purpose and key life goals, write a description of the circumstances of your life and the qualities of being that you want to realize. Play with them. Modify them until you have a clear, written statement of your total life vision.
3. Now, use your journal to write the story of how your ideal life will come to be. How are you making that ideal a reality? How are you living TODAY to create your ideal life TOMORROW?
a. What are you doing every day?
b. What are your daily rituals and practices?
c. How are you taking care of yourself?
d. What are you doing every day to better yourself and achieve your life vision?
e. How are you improving your relationships?
In addition to visualizing your dream life, you also want to visualize how you are going to spend each day to realize your key life goals.
4. After you have written out the story of your dream life, you might want to create a vision board, with pictures that represent you achieving your dreams. Look at your board daily.
5. To start the visualization practice, get somewhere safe and quiet, without distractions and interruptions.
6. Start by settling yourself and grounding yourself in your body. Take a few deep breaths and focus on your breath. Get still. Center yourself. Let your thinking mind quiet. Visualizations are most effective after meditation or prayer. In visualization, we replace attending to the breath with attending to an inner mental image.
7. Take about 5-10 minutes for this exercise. Close your eyes. Use all your senses to create a whole life vision in your mind. What do you see, hear, taste, smell, feel, and think? Where are you? What are you doing? Play out your day. Who are you with? Visualize your life as a movie of which you are a key actor. This is called having an “embodied image.” Experience everything in as much vivid detail as possible.
8. Visualize your life meaning and purpose. What is it like to be living out that purpose?
9. Visualize yourself realizing your key life goals. Visualize that you already have what you desire. Practice repeatedly over time to make this as real as possible.
10. Actually experience what it feels like right now to be your ideal you living your ideal life. Visualize in the present, not the future. Visualize the results of your efforts. Actually feel the emotions you will experience when you realize your dreams. They may include satisfaction, contentment, love, joy, appreciation, or gratitude. Hold onto these feelings as you go about your day. Remember that what you put out, you get back. That’s how Reality operates. If you want love in your life, for example, be the love you want to attract. Visualize it, and live it throughout the day through your affirmations and intentions.
11. Be true to yourself. Avoid “shoulds.” Visualize being your authentic self living out your gifts based on your temperament. For example, if you are an introvert who likes time alone, don’t force yourself to visualize hopping from one social engagement to another. Visualize the life that will truly fulfill you, not a life you think you should have.
12. Visualize the positive. Visualize what you want, not what you don’t want. See yourself doing positive things rather than not doing negative things. For example, see yourself drinking a healthy beverage rather than not drinking a soda.
13. Imagine every step of a healthy activity or interaction. This could include eating, working out, talking with others, doing what you love. Visualize as much detail as possible what you are doing from the start of your day to the end.
14. Repeat. Practice. Do this exercise 1-3 times a day, for 5-10 minutes, every day, for the rest of your life. Remember that the brain needs repetition to change.
15. Some people write out 30-40 key life goals they want to accomplish on index cards. Then they visualize completing each one for several seconds each morning and night. This is another way to practice this visualization exercise.
16. Now go out and put your vision into practice. Translate your vision, affirmations, and intentions into a daily life practice of acting to make your vision a reality.
End your visualization exercise with the repetition of affirmations and intentions.
Be sure to do your visualization exercise first thing in the morning. Get still, calm, and present, so that you can practice with mindfulness. You want a still, present mind for these exercises to be effective.
Expect to have difficulties with this exercise at first. Give it time and repetition. You will get into a good groove after about 30 days. Have faith and don’t give up! New habits take effort, discipline and faith to develop. If it is hard at first, reassure yourself that it will get easier in about two weeks.
Your visualization capabilities will improve with practice. Change does not happen overnight. But change will occur with practice. You won’t experience the benefits without daily practice. Change requires repetition. Practice with patience and persistence. Give yourself about 90 days to begin to see the results of your practice. Notice how your practice changes your actions during the day. Then notice how your actions change your life. If you do this practice daily, you will likely see remarkable changes generally in about 1-5 years. Remember, be positive, patient, and persistent. If you make the effort, the results will be yours in time.
Image from: http://www.selfhypnosis.com/creative-visualization/.
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