The Easiest Motivation Technique You Haven't Tried Yet

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When it comes to goal-setting, I’ve been around the block. I’ve been setting all kinds of goals since I was just a kid. But these days, most of my goals are health and fitness related: Run a half marathon (did three last year), score first place in a race (so proud of that one!), cross experiences on my bucket list (like the Krispy Kreme Challenge and hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon), grow more of my own food each year (my garden continues to expand), etc. I also set a lot of career goals, and I’ve had a lot of fun and interesting successes in that area, too (hello self-on-a-shelf in Target stores!).  I figure I’m a goal-setting, goal-getting machine. When I set my mind to something, I work hard and I make it happen.  
In late December last year, I still hadn’t decided on any new goals for the 2012, so I went to a free goal-setting workshop hosted at my local Lululemon store for some ideas (I know, I know as if I needed more reason to bask in their delicious clothes). I didn’t expect to have any epiphanies during this hour I spent writing down ideas and talking with strangers about my goals. But sometimes, inspiration hits you in the face when you least expect it.
We started by sitting in a circle and closing our eyes. The workshop leader led us through a visualization technique starting with the question, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“Great,” I thought. I’ve been asked that vague question before (usually in a job or college interview). “This isn’t going to get me anywhere. I need some ideas right now!”
But as she continued, my know-it-all attitude changed. Eyes closed, we were led through a visualization exercise while she asked us to envision our lives 10 years in the future with prompts such as:
  • How old are you?
  • Where do you live?
  • With whom do you share a home?
  • When you open your eyes in the morning, what do you see, hear, smell and feel?
  • Who is there? How do you spend your time during the day?
  • Where do you go and how do you get there? Who or what do you see along the way?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • How do you move your body? What kind of exercise do you do?
  • What do you look like when you see yourself in the mirror?
  • What brings you the most joy on this day?
  • Who do you share your time with? Who do you visit, call or talk to?
  • How do you feel when your head hits the pillow at the end of this day?
  • What are you excited about doing tomorrow?
  • What is your idea life? Are you living it?
We sat quietly for about 10 minutes, and with each question, my vision became clearer. It filled with more details and color, and somehow—without even thinking about it—I had answers to all of her questions instantly as she asked them—even though I had never before thought about what my life will be like a decade from now in anything more than very general terms. The whole exercise was so entertaining and eye-opening to me. I loved this daydream! It could be anything I wanted it to be and it was my ideal life. It seemed so real and so natural and I just couldn’t wait for this life to happen. When the exercise was over, I felt this sudden change come over me. I wanted this life right now! How could I make it happen sooner? I don’t want to wait 10 years! We then used our vision as a starting point for setting our goals for the next year, but we didn't stop there. We also set goals we planned to achieve within five years and 10 years in order to help us live our ideal lives.

I would normally think that was a bunch of new age hippie stuff (no offense to the hippies because I’m pretty crunchy myself, but you get where I’m going). But when I sat down and really did it, it made me realize how many more goals I have in life besides being a faster runner or climbing the corporate ladder. In fact, it made a lot of that small stuff fall back to the place where it belongs: a part of your life, not your whole life.

What I did realize is that the vision of my life 10 years from now was far different than my life as it is today. I focus so much on the here-and-now, just getting through my to-do list each day that I never take much time to step back and look at the bigger—or in this case, future—picture.

Besides getting some good ideas for goals to strive for in 2012 (such as completely paying off my student loans so I have more financial freedom to reach other milestones), I feel more motivated than ever to make this year my best year yet. Two weeks into January is when many people start giving up on their resolutions, but I just remember my vision and it keeps me going strong. Being fit and healthy and maintaining a healthy weight all fits into that picture and allows me to do so many things on my life list.

The mind is a powerful thing, and so is the imagination or your ability to visualize. They say that your mind doesn't truly know the difference between things you imagine and what you experience in reality, which is why visualizing yourself as the successful person you want to be can be so helpful in getting you there. No matter what your goals may be: short-term, weight-loss, health and fitness, or life in general—there is power to envisioning yourself where you want to be. It only takes a few seconds or a few minutes of your time, but I promise the effect is much longer lasting. With a little daydreaming, you may just find yourself more motivated than ever to make that goal a reality instead of just a dream.

Do you ever visualize yourself reaching your goals? Do you think visualization can be a powerful motivator? 

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HEALIN1 11/6/2018
Wow, some really hard questions. I'm 61 but still think they need answering. I am going to think on this & re-read this in a few days time. Thanks Report
HEALIN1 11/6/2018
Wow, some really hard questions. I'm 61 but still think they need answering. I am going to think on this & re-read this in a few days time. Thanks Report
FISHGUT3 9/18/2018
thanks Report
MUSICNUT 8/23/2018
Thanks for a great article! :) Report
I'm 70! Where do I see myself in 10 years? Ha, ha! Alive and active on Sparkpeople! Report
SIMPLY_JAE 5/11/2018
Very interesting.. I did not like my answers and no I am living the life i want ...better
get busy Report
MSROZZIE 4/22/2018
Great blog, good ideas, thanks! Report
This is a great exercise. The next step would be to plot the steps to accomplish the goals. Thanks for the insight. Report
My insight to the above? Envisioning your life 10 years from now when you are in your teens or 20s is far different than being 70 and envisioning 10 years in the future.
TRIMNUP 4/16/2018
This visualization was a fun, helpful and eye-opener exercise. Interesting exercise and interesting responses, too. Report
GETULLY 4/11/2018
Started this a few weeks ago and it helps keep me happy every day. Report
DMEYER4 4/11/2018
thanks Report
IAMAUNTYEM 4/10/2018
Just the information I was looking for. 8-) Report
SIMPLY_JAE 4/8/2018
loved this.. helped me think about where I am and where I want to be... Report
Excellent blog. Thank you. I'm 70 now so just pray both Hubby, dog and I are all alive in 10 years. Will write answers later. Report
USMAWIFE 4/7/2018
thank you Report
WONDERGALE 3/14/2018
Thanks! Report
AQUAGIRL08 1/18/2018
Awesome! Report
AJB121299 1/15/2018
Nice Report
Yes...our minds. We can be SO able yet SO talked out of it by our own brain. Good post. Report
visualizing myself in 10 years is eye-opening! Report
this is so important thanks Report
Sometimes you get the results you wanted,
sometimes you don't.
What matters is that you did your best.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie Report
Oh, oh. Not sure I like my answers. I am 78 now, live in my own home with DH who is 81. But 10 years from now????????? Guess I'll just take it one day at a time and enjoy each one as it comes. Report
This article makes you think the 10 year question in a different way,....much better. I am 65 and just being alive would be the first. What can I do now to start on getting something done by then if I am blessed. Getting out of a bad marriage. Also, have always wanted a Japanese garden. Now guess who has already started items. Cant wait until the dragon rain gutter guard gets here. Am mounting it over the dryer vent so it seems he is breathing smoke! Report
Oh, I love visualization. It can change a bad situation into a good one. Report
At the rate I am going ? NO Report
good points Report
The skill of visualization keeps coming up, think I must be on to something. Report
I thought i had read every article about motivation & goal setting on this site at least twice.... wrong! This one was an eye opener. I really like the idea of using visualization in this way. Thank you Nicole. Report
Thank you. I am going to do this. Report
thank you very much Report
Great blog. Thank you. Report
Definitely gave me a new perspective! Thank you. Report
I just did this and it made me so incredibly excited. It was such an amazing experience because it felt so real. The more details you add, the more you live in that moment. Great blog! Report
This is a great way to help me visualize my goals. I will take time later today to do it. Report
I tried to do this and failed several times. Finally I lay down on the floor with my dog and rubbed her tummy and tried again. I got so sad. She is 6 now- so probably gone in 10. My 13 y/o dd will be 23, and graduated from college? My 10 y/o ds will be 20- perhaps he will be half way through college/ It was all so hard and I got so sad. But the time will pass and if I am lucky I will be around. So I went to work thinking about what would be great then. I made some progress. Report
When I did this exercise, images popped into my head right away as well. in 10 years I will be about 35, so I pictured myself with husband, kids & my dream career. All of these thinks seem so far away, but at the same time it does kick up your motivation to stay commited to working on goals. This article really inspired me and got me thinking. Report
Nicole, I think this may be the best blog I've read yet. Although I don't see him in my 10 year picture, I am going to sit down with my boyfriend and do this exercise. We both need the insight even if we pursue our dreams separately. Thanks. Report
Wow, I have to save this! I hate the "Where do you see yourself in 10 years" question for all the same reasons. I don't know what I want in 10 years! But just skimming those questions made some images pop into my mind. I will have to take a few minutes on a more relaxed day and chew on this. Report
Interesting exercise.... Report
This is a great blog im going to apply it to my daily movitation Report
Awesome Blog and VERY TIMELY! I've not completed my goals for 2012, nor my 5 yr & 10 yr goals, but I am working on my goals. I've started to DREAM again. I'm setting goals for Improving my Health, Wealth, & Personal Being. Not only am I setting my goals, I'm WRITING them down and also writing down how I intend to accomplish those goals. I will also be completing my Vision Board...for all areas of my life.
Again, great blog! Report
amazing blog. it's really inspired and motivated me. seriously. I wrote down all of the questions and my answers in a journal and hope to look at them a few years down the line! Report
I will be talking to people about eating healthy and living well. My daughter will be grown and working. I will be one hundred plus pounds less than I am now!! I got to get busy. I have to work on building a healthy future. Report
I love this blog! I'm going to have to try this technique. Report
I took a minute and thought about my life 10 years from now. I know I'll be 72 and will still be working since I have a mortgage to pay off. No retirement in sight. As for the rest, a lot will depend on health. Report
Good blog, but one bit made me laugh: "a bunch of new age hippie stuff (no offense to the hippies because I’m pretty crunchy myself" "CRUNCHY"? wow, has time shifted the focus from what those of us who were 'there' saw/felt/did to how that same experience is seen decades later!

The content of the blog, however, is great. Like a pp, I can't usually see more than 2 years ahead (unless I look all the way to retirement, which isn't exactly 'goal setting') but there are dreams (and nightmares) lurking under the surface of the days, and those need attention. Report
I actually read this blog TWICE ... last night and then after thinking about it overnight I read it again this morning! What a powerful message. Thank you so much for sharing this insight ... I'm not sure I like what I will see in 10 years if I don't start living more healthy now. Certainly puts things in perspective ... I want to be able to enjoy life in 10 years, not just living! Report