How Daydreaming Can Help You Create a Life You Love
I was walking the city blocks of Manhattan amidst the morning commuters, Starbucks in one hand, and a bagel in the other. It was my first time in New York City, and I was beyond excited! As I was watching my fellow pedestrians parade purposefully along, and the iconic yellow cabs snake through the streets where steam billowed up from their manholes, it suddenly hit me: I have been here before.
Not in the déjà vu way, but in the I-have-imagined-this-since-I-was-a-little-girl way.
In my mind I had been to New York a million times. In fact, as a girl, I had often dreamed of travelling the world, and I used to keep a running list of all the countries I wanted to visit. I would often sit at the beach in Australia, and daydream about all the exotic places I would travel to…as if I was already there.
As a young girl, I didn’t realise it, of course, but looking back on it now, I can see that I was doing something very powerful. Top athletes do it to improve their performance, and countless celebrities and successful entrepreneurs do it, too. They practice visualization to help them achieve their goals; I was using the power of visualisation.
Sound a little too woo woo for you?
I totally get your skepticism. If you’re anything like me, you want to know that these kinds of claims are backed up by some form of science.
Well, my fellow no-BS go-getter, I am happy to tell you that the effects of visualisation on performance has been studied extensively. From muscle strength and performance in sports, to acumen in medical fields and productivity in business practices and beyond, in fact. Yes, a study out of the U.S. found that by simply visualising using a muscle, that muscle became stronger!
First, pick a time in the future—say one year from now (the timeframe you choose is up to you). Think about how you want to feel at this point in the future. What do you want to be doing? What does your life look like? Find something that gives you butterflies in your stomach when you think about it. And try to imagine the future as if it is happening right now.
Second, pick a regular time to think about this ideal future situation. I like to spend a few minutes when I wake up to daydream about my future. Other times that might work for you are on your morning commute, when you’re in the shower, or even when you’re on the treadmill. The key is to get in the habit of visualising your dream future situation regularly.
Looking back, I realise that I have used visualisation many times throughout my life. But if you had told me when I was 12 years old that I would one day be an international flight attendant and travel to all the places I dreamed about, I would have thought you were, well, woo woo.
Now I use visualisation every day as a deliberate strategy to design the life that I want. And you can, too.
So, lovely, now it’s your turn: Do you use visualisation? If not, will you give it a try? Tell me in the comments!