It’s All Too Much Sometimes
Most of the literature I’ve read on establishing a daily visualization practice tends to focus on how to see the image as clearly as you can. You are given suggestions on various aspects of the mind image and how to break them down for a complete picture. After all, we remember things our brains see as more real than those it believes are pure fantasy, right? In other words, you’re much more likely to remember that Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet you see yourself in than a nondescript junker, no? Let’s just leave the lack of motivation issue aside about the junker too. It’s just way easier to remember something that excites you than it is just another widget.
The problem with a lot of these practices is for people like myself. I can get so overwhelmed conjuring up and writing the details that it becomes too much. Worse, it can negatively impact my success with visualization because it makes me have an approach avoidance relationship with the practice. We will go to any length to avoid something we feel is unpleasant or painful. That’s just how we’re constructed.
There IS Another Way!
I don’t find it pleasant any time I have to super concentrate and then pick apart the details. I get so much information from my brain that I want to shut it off and NOT spend another twenty minutes breaking it down. That’s why I’ve started practicing what I’ll call Incremental Visualization. Let me explain how this works.
Incremental Visualization Explained
When you visualize, you tap into something very powerful. Your mind is willing to put up a picture of how you would like to be in the future. Part of this is the endless possibilities for detail. The more time you spend in the vision, the clearer it seems. The problem for me and others like me is that it can just be overwhelming. That’s when you’re ego takes over and says “enough’s enough” in an attempt to spare you from pain. The result: you back out of the visualization before it’s had a chance to “take” and get imprinted on your mind.
Worse, because you hit the eject button, you didn’t get all the details. Or, you didn’t record them well because you were in a kind of fight or flight mode. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you how this impacts the quality of the visualized image. Not good.
I believe a better way is to enter into the image a little at a time and over time build it up. That way, you’re ego is much less likely to feel threatened. It should allow you to finish your session which is crucial to your success with this.
My Incremental Visualization Process
I’ll use the generic visualization of seeing yourself as a success. You can use this same method for any visualization.
Begin by closing your eyes. Take a breath in to the count of four, hold it for seven and let it out for eight counts. For obvious reasons, this is known as the 4-7-8 Breath. Repeat this four times.
Now, starting with something familiar, we’ll concentrate on YOU. In this future state, what do YOU look like?
- How does your body look? Hunched over or standing tall?
- Is there a smile on your face or a confident grin?
- Are you bigger or smaller than you are now?
- What does your hair look like? Do you have any hair?
- How are you dressed?
- How do you seem? Supremely focused? Pleasantly blissful?
- Are there any other things you see about just YOU that come to mind? Make a mental note of them.
That’s right! Don’t spend any more time beyond what YOU look like! Sit there for a few seconds while you ponder the image.
Now, take four more of the 4-7-8 breaths you took previously. Open your eyes and write down what you saw! The quicker the better but don’t stress yourself.
Write down each of the details you recall from your visualization. It doesn’t matter if they’re complete sentences or paragraphs. In fact, I find this works if you sweat the grammatical things the least. As long as you will be able to interpret them, you’ve done your job here. Don’t think about your image again until your next session. I recommend the next day but I know people’s schedules can be tricky.
I recommend you set an intention and make a date to do your next one before you leave this for today. What gets scheduled gets done! Plus, you’ll find you start building momentum which is very inspiring!
Your Next Session
As you can probably tell, my goal here is to incrementally build an image. NOT to blow up your brain with a cataclysmic flood of details. That’s almost a certain way to shut it down.
Instead, we want to build on what we’ve done in our last session. We still don’t want to overstretch our ego’s comfort zone. We want to add just enough more to make it a little more real to us. We do this by concentrating on ONE more general area.
Here’s what that looks like.
Start by reading over the details of your image you wrote down at the end of your last session. Get a little picture in your mind of how this looks to you.
Do your four 4-7-8 breaths again.
Now, we’re going to pick a different area for your image. How about your car?
- What make?
- What model?
- What year?
- What color?
- What color is the interior?
- How does future you look in it? Mahvelous-LOL! Have some fun with this!
- Are you passing everybody on your way to work or just out for a cruise?
- Are there any other details that come to mind? Make a mental note of them.
Same as before. Don’t spend any more time thinking about anything but you and your car! Give it a few moments to sink in and spend a few seconds with the image.
Now, take four more of the 4-7-8 breaths you took previously. Open your eyes and write down what you saw! The quicker the better but don’t stress yourself. Sound familiar?
Repeat the same process as above as to what to write and how.
Set your intention for the next session! No “I’ll do it sometime this week” either! Set a date and time.
Do You See How This Works?
There are still an infinite amount of areas you can cover while visualizing your future you.
- Your house. You can also break it down by rooms if that makes you more comfortable. A lot of successful people like to start with their work space.
- Your family. Or just your spouse/significant other/partner.
- Your friends.
- Your recreation.
The most important things is that these are details that really matter to you and your future you! Not what society tells you is important. Make sure you get just enough of the details to make it real to you. Make sure you build your image one block at a time from your previous sessions too! This way, you build all the detail you need to be seeing yourself as a success in the future.
A Pleasant Byproduct
You’d think you’d just end up with the same heap of details you would have gotten from the “all at once” method. Not so.
Instead, you’ll find that the more frivolous details that really don’t matter that much to you will simply fall away. You have no control over which of these it will be but trust me, it will happen!
That’s how at the end of this you’ll have a much clearer vision of your successful self in the future. It won’t be muddied by insignificant facts or details. Just the things your mind needs to be able to see yourself as a success.
How can that be bad?
Let Me Know How You Go With This
If I have one regret it’s that this method of Incremental Visualization take WAY longer to explain than it does to deliver benefits to you. Still, give it a go for a few sessions and let me know how it works for you. I LOVE success stories! Also, if you enjoyed this article and think you know somebody else who might benefit from it, send it to them by using the buttons below.