Like most people, I like to set goals for myself. Setting goals both large and small gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment. They inspire me to be a better person. Of course, it’s also impossible for me to meet all my goals all the time. Sure, I can usually meet my goal of getting out of bed every day and making it to class on time, but what about the more difficult goals? It’s ridiculous to expect that I’m always going to ace every test, get tons of views on every blog post I write, look picture-perfect every day, and always make it to the gym after work.
Even though I know that I can’t always meet all my goals, I still feel discouraged when I don’t. Whenever something doesn’t work out, I tend to forget about all the things that have gone well. I sit and ruminate on mistakes and shortcomings rather than focusing on achievements and successes.
To fix this problem, I’ve been experimenting with creative visualization. Creative visualization is similar to meditation, although, rather than trying to completely quiet your mind and let thoughts come and go without direction, you sit and visualize your future success. I already meditate for about 15 minutes per day, but now, if I feel discouraged after some small failure at the end of the day, I replace my meditation schedule with visualization. It helps me shed the negative experiences of the day and replace them with positive experiences.
During my creative visualization sessions, I like to sit in my bedroom, turn off my phone, close my eyes and relax. Once I feel completely at ease, I think about what my future successes might look like. I visualize myself doing well in a presentation. I visualize myself looking happy and healthy as I spend time with loved ones. I visualize myself working at my future dream job. I visualize myself walking across the stage at my graduation. I visualize myself in my idea of a perfect apartment. You get the idea.
Once I finish this process and float down to earth, I get out my notebook. I write down 5-10 things I did well today. Even if the only things I come up with are small things like, I took really good notes in class today or I had a nice conversation with my boss, I can see how they could somehow help me become the person I want to be. It reminds me that even though I don’t always meet the goals I’m normally thinking of, I still do good things every single day. And in abstract ways or very obvious ways, all progress is good progress, even if it’s small.
I think becoming a more successful person is really all about attitude. If you spend the majority of your time focusing on your failures, you will become a failure. Sure, it’s important to learn from your mistakes. But once you extract the lesson from that mistake you have to move forward. It’s kind of like the phrase, “you are what you eat.” In this case, it could be changed to: You are what you think you are. If your thoughts are consistently negative and you find yourself thinking about past events more than future events, you will always be the same person you were 5 minute ago, 24 hours ago, 6 months ago. Instead, spend a little more time laying in bed, dreaming of the person you want to be, just like you did when you were little. When you open your eyes, your mind will be set on future possibilities, opportunities and happiness. It’s the people who live and work with a disposition of optimism and positivity who achieve great things.