Why visualising your goals helps

By Malavika Varadan

Published: Thu 24 Dec 2020, 6:41 PM

Long before Michael Phelps was an Olympic swimming champion, he was a young boy in a swimming club in North Baltimore, who struggled with maintaining energy and focus. He would be constantly distracted and fidgety. His swimming coach gave his mother a book that focused on techniques to calm and still the mind, and the one that he enjoyed the most was visualisation.

Phelps is one of the many successful people who swear by visualisation. Thousands of others do this on a daily basis, and I can see why. As a drama coach, I find it useful to combat stage fright, and during the first week of every year, I dedicate a few hours of my time to creating a vision board — a physical scrapbook-style canvas — containing visuals of all that I want to do.

I made my first vision board in 2016 at a friend’s birthday party. The concept seemed quite simple. Flip through magazines, look at the images that strike you as something you long for and stick them all up on a canvas board. I started to see how each woman around the table seemed to have a particular kind of board. One young lady was clearly focusing all her energy on professional success. Another seemed to want to focus on her health and body.

My own vision board seemed to be asking for me to slow down — more time to meditate, connect with my family. Do less and be more, this was my vision for 2016 and as the year progressed, I found that the visions did come true. Perhaps it was because this board was in my living room and I looked at it for a few hours a day. In unexpected ways, I made everyday decisions and opened doors to what I wanted to achieve.

2021 is right around the corner. And this is the week that I shall be creating my vision board for the new year. On it will be the visuals that I associate with my goals — goals for my relationships, family, business, travels, health and finances. I try to keep these as specific as possible — and be open to the idea that life may take me through a few unexpected alleyways to arrive at these destinations. But I will arrive, of this I am sure. Call it goal-setting, or the secret, or philosophy or science — whatever name we may give vision boarding — I do think that it is worth the effort and time to unplug, listen to your heart and truly ask what you are doing all of this for.

What I can assure you of is this: On days when you feel that you have not made much progress, the vision board will remind you of how far you have come. And on days when you feel unfocused and unclear, you can return to these visuals and understand why every step of this journey is moving in the direction you need it to. Happy vision boarding 2021!


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