I posted a quote by Warren Buffet on Instagram earlier this week, “the best investment you can make is in yourself.” I wrote about how investing in different areas of your life can help you make an excellent return on investment in your sense of fulfillment. Investing in yourself allows you to live happier, healthier, and more confidently because you will be living an authentic life that aligns with you and your values. You can live your “best” life and be your “best” self. But how do you know what your best self is and how do you know what your best life looks like?
Visualization is a powerful tool that I like to use with my clients in individual therapy when they are struggling to identify what they want to achieve and what they imagine their future selves to look like. If you’re feeling stuck and unsure, visualization can help. Visualization can help bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to be. If we can visualize what our best life looks like, we can create small, attainable goals that can get us there.
I invite you to take the time to connect to your future self by visualizing your ideal day. You may want to journal immediately following this exercise so you don’t forget any details, and also so you can process how the visualization has made you feel. You might be surprised at what comes up for you as you move through your ideal day. Maybe some aspects of your life that you thought were important or unimportant have changed in some way. Maybe you felt excited or scared after seeing your ideal day. All totally okay and expected!
Close your eyes and go through each moment, or even each hour, of your ideal day, starting with the moment you open your eyes to awaken in the morning and ending with when you close your eyes to fall sleep at night. Visualize in as much detail as possible. What time do you wake up? Where do you wake up? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What are you wearing? Who, if anyone, are you with? Go through each and every step of your day in as much detail as you can. Using your five senses can help here. What are you wearing, doing, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling as you intentionally move throughout your ideal day? Your ideal day may consist of people and places and opportunities that you have not experienced yet or that are totally different from what your day to day looks like now, in the present. That’s okay and expected! Some parts of your ideal day may look exactly the same as your day to day now. That’s also okay and expected.
Don’t worry so much about being realistic or dreaming “too big.” Don’t judge or censor yourself. Once you visualize your ideal day, you can parse out the themes and values that remain important to you and set goals based on those values and desires. This will help you to see that your best life is possible and help you to take manageable steps to get you there.
In order to set goals to help you achieve your best life, think about all the areas of your life that are valuable to you. Your physical, mental, emotional, and financial health. Your education, career, relationships, passions and interests, and your goals and dreams. How are you currently investing in these areas of your life? Is how you are currently investing in these areas moving you closer to what you have visualized as your best life or further away? Do not judge yourself or beat yourself up regardless of the answers. You are simply exploring, with curiosity and not judgment, what you are or are not doing now to move you closer to where you want to be.
There is no need to set lofty, time pressured goals to get you to your best life and self. See if you can find little ways to move yourself closer to your vision by making tweaks to what you are doing now in all these areas of investment. Even choosing one area of investment to focus on at a time is better than trying to make changes in all aspects of your life at once. Trying to change too much at once can become overwhelming and paralyzing and certainly doesn’t lead to sustainable change. Baby steps will allow you to make sustainable and consistent changes rather than trying to achieve large goals and taking huge steps to get there. Achieving the baby steps will also help you feel much more confident and help you move with more ease towards the other goals you’d like to accomplish.
Just remember, progress, never perfection, is the goal. It’s super brave and vulnerable to even consider making changes to your life that bring you closer to your ideal and most authentic self. So be sure to give yourself a pat on the back every step of the way.
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