Head in the clouds? A guide to visualizing your goals

Illustration of a woman sitting at a desk, her eyes closed and visualizing walking into an office
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Every time I’ve been worried about an interview, an assignment, sport event or my life in general, my mom always told me to take a deep breath and simply “visualize.” When I was in high school, I would roll my eyes and think, “gee, wow all my problems are solved now.”

However, when I was thrown into the unimaginable stress of college, my mom gave me the same advice: “Take a deep breath, close your eyes and visualize yourself already doing or having what you want.” 

Last year, I was stressed because I thought I messed up an interview for an internship that I was stoked to get. I finally gave in to my mom’s mantra and closed my eyes. I imagined myself going through all the steps as if I was remembering a day in my internship. I imagined myself dressed in business casual, walking through the doors of the office, saying hello to my boss, sitting next to a client and talking with them. I kept running this imaginary scenario in my head until my mood shifted from downcast to hopeful. Visualizing truly is as simple as letting yourself imagine you are already where you want to be. 

But isn’t this just daydreaming? How does daydreaming help me achieve my goals? Like my mom, I’ve always believed that our mind plays a big role in creating our reality. If I visualize myself achieving something, I’m making this goal real to myself. In turn, it is much easier for me to put in the work to achieve my goals because I feel positive and optimistic about the process of “putting in the work” instead of feeling dejected and pessimistic.

Visualizing is not about granting wishes like a genie. It’s all about maintaining a positive outlook while you put in the time and energy into your goals. With times as rough as these, I’ve found that visualizing is the key to my motivation to do my schoolwork and attend my online lectures. The days seem to blend together since I attend all of my lectures, meetings and even social events from the same four walls in my apartment. When I visualize the relief I will feel submitting my last final in a month and being able to relax on the beach without a care in the world, I feel motivated to get through these final monotonous, lonely weeks left in the semester.

So, yes, a lot of the time, I have my head in the clouds, but it’s not escapism or a waste of time — it keeps me hopeful about the future. 

Contact Özge Terzioğlu at [email protected].