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In my last post, we talked about how to imagine the way you would like your life to be if you had no restrictions or limitations. This week we’re going to take the first step in the plan to transform those dreams into achievable goals, by creating a visual representation of Your Ideal Life. To participate in this week’s exercise, you will need the list you created from the last episode, describing every aspect of your Ideal Life. For instance, where you would live, who you’d be with, your job or career, places you’d like to visit, your achievements, etc. If you don’t have such a list, please read my last post, “Your Ideal Life,” which will prompt you with some questions to create it.
You can choose one or more of the following – or even do them all! It’s your dream, so do whatever works. Be sure to include in whatever version you choose a photo of yourself, smiling and happy!
- CREATE A VISION BOARD: Get a large piece of poster board or foam-core board, or even one of those memory boards that people use for photos. On this vision board, you will post at least one picture for each aspect of Your Ideal Life. You can write “My Ideal Life” at the top of the board if you wish. Cut pictures from magazines, print out online pictures, or draw your own. Attach the pictures to your vision board, and in the center of the board put the smiling, happy picture of yourself. Place the vision board where you will see it every day.
- MAKE AN “IDEAL LIFE” SCREENSAVER: This is similar to the vision board, except that you will save the pictures to your computer as a screensaver. This is a great way to keep your goals always before your eyes! You also can post them in the image gallery of your smartphone, where you can look at them every day, or make a collage of them in a photo-editing program and use them as the home screen on your phone. The next time you have a few free minutes, browse through these images instead of checking your social media feed. Spending a few minutes focusing on your Ideal Life will be of much more benefit to you than seeing photos of what your friend from high school ate for lunch!
- CREATE AN “IDEAL LIFE” SCRAPBOOK: If you enjoy scrapbooking, or simply are the type of person who feels more connected by holding a tangible object like a book, buy yourself an attractive scrapbook and mount Your Ideal Life pictures inside it. Have a separate page for each aspect of Your Ideal Life. Give the page a title, and decorate it with appropriate stickers, or draw designs on it that represent your goals. Keep it in a safe place but where it is easily accessible to you.
- MAKE A TREASURE BOX: Buy an attractive box with a hinged lid, or use a decorative photo box with a lid. Embellish it any way you like with beads, glass gems, stickers, paint, etc. Inside the box put pictures and symbolic objects that represent each aspect of Your Ideal Life. For instance, if you want better finances, put some money in the box. If you want to live by the seashore, find a pretty shell and place that in the box. You can also write down each aspect of your dream on slips of paper or index cards and place those in the box as well. Don’t forget to include a smiling photo of yourself! Some people also like to put in the box a symbol of their particular faith or spiritual ideal: For example, a cross or Star of David, a holy picture or medal, a small statue, a crystal, some incense, etc. Keep the box in a prominent place of honor where you will see it often.
I have used all of these methods at one time or another. The first one I tried was the scrapbook. I was amazed a few years later when I came across the scrapbook again and saw that every one of the goals depicted in it had come true — some in a slightly different form, but very close! The scrapbook remains my favorite tool for goal visualization.
Whatever visual representation you choose, keep it handy and look at it often. You can add or subtract images to it as your ideals develop or change. You don’t have to keep it in open view if you are afraid that other people will make fun of it or otherwise discourage you (more about sharing your goals in a future post). Just make sure it’s in a place where you can easily access it.
Whenever you have enough time to give it attention, sit in a quite, comfortable place with your visual representation, and let the images, designs, objects and words permeate your consciousness. Smile as you immerse yourself in this visual representation of Your Ideal Life. If you are a meditator, incorporate this manifestation ritual into your daily meditation practice. Use a recorded guided meditation on manifesting, if it helps you focus better. I will share a guided meditation in my next post.
Another excellent way to impress your ideals on your subconscious mind is to visualize Your Ideal Life every night as you are falling asleep. It’s a great way to put yourself in a positive mood at bedtime, which also can lead to better sleep!
Once daily is enough time to spend with Your Ideal Life exercise. Do not obsess over it. You must live in the present at the same time you are visualizing your future. If you get obsessive about your goals, constantly comparing your dreams to your current less-than-ideal situation, you’ll just get depressed and discouraged about how far away you feel you are from them. When you do get disheartened because your dreams seem unattainable, just remind yourself that although you are not there yet, you are getting closer every day to a better life.
Also stay open to the idea that you might get something different from what you expect will make you happy right now, but it will be something that is actually more appropriate and attainable for you. This means remaining flexible to God’s greater wisdom, and being ready to shift gears if and when it becomes necessary.
Hold your dreams, but hold them lightly. Think of them as a little baby bird you have in your hand, who will get crushed if you squeeze it too hard. Only if you hold it gently will it grow healthy and strong enough to be able to soar one day.
Next time: A guided meditation to help you visualize your goals.