If you’ve ever struggled to attain your goals, don’t beat yourself up, don’t give up. It may just be that all you need is a change in your focus. You may just be giving in to your desire for immediate gratification. If you’re like most people today, you’ve probably let yourself fulfill this desire more often than not and now you’ve created a habit.
“A lot of things that are really valuable take time, but immediate gratification is the default response. It’s difficult to overcome those urges and be patient and wait for things to come over time.” - Darrell Worthy, an assistant professor of psychology at Texas A&M University who studies decision making and motivation (quoted in this article at Boston.com).
Habits can feel like needs at times and it’s not always easy to tell the difference, but gratifying your every whim is a choice, a decision you make. You can train yourself to make different decisions.
If you find this to be true, don’t fret. You’re not the only one turning your desire into a need. It’s almost pandemic in our society. So what’s happening that has us foregoing the long-term gratification that comes from creating a plan and executing it, from making a decision to lose that weight, get a degree, or even save up for something?
Everywhere you look there are new products and services popping up to tap into our need for immediate gratification. The explosion of technology has given us instant communication, instant news, video on demand, online shopping with promises of next day or 2-day delivery. In other words, we’re inundated with the marketing that tells us, “Why wait? Get what you want now.”
It’s so easy to get what you want when you want it. It’s easy because there’s a part of our brain that responds to instant gratification or impulsivity and we’re using that region more frequently and more often. The good news is that there’s a region in our brain that can help us be more patient.
In her article in Scientific American, Melanie Bauer says, “A recent study by a team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that when people waited for a reward, patient people were seen—through the lens of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine—imagining the future. In more patient people, the researchers observed increased activity in the region of the brain that helps you think about the future (the anterior pre-frontal cortex). The patient individuals, it seems, devoted more energy to imagining receiving their reward later.”
They’re talking about visualization. The ability to visualize the way we want our future to be and use that vision to help us be patient and make decisions that get us where we want to be.
Visualization helps you tap into that part of the brain that thinks about the future. It’s a technique used by athletes of all calibers, corporations when creating their vision and mission, in complementary health techniques and more.
On top of that, it fits in with the Law of Attraction which states, “The essence of that which is like unto itself, is drawn.” If you’re focused on what you want, you’re far more likely to get it. Visualizing your desired outcome, growing an excitement about it and focusing on that outcome will produce the results you want.
Anyone can use visualization to create a strong, compelling vision of their future, a vision of the outcome they desire. The more you use the technique, the more effective it will become. Similar to working out, you’re engaging a part of your brain and using it. As you continue to do so, you create a habit that makes your results stronger.
Here are some simple steps to get you going:
Choose a goal. To start, choose a relatively short-term, attainable goal with a set time-line.
Picture or imagine your desired results. Create a clear, definite set of results.
Imagine yourself walking through the steps to get there.
Create solid images, feelings and actions in your mind that get you to your goal.
Picture yourself attaining your goal. Feel the emotions you will experience when you attain your goal. Make this experience as vivid as possible. Picture yourself looking at the end results.
Acknowledge yourself for pushing through and achieving what you set out to do. Give yourself the kind of acknowledgement that really lights you up. Make it special and significant.
You can use this process for any goal or project you have. Again, the more you use it, the more powerful it becomes.
Have you used visualization to help you attain a goal or complete a project? Tell us about it in the comments.

Author's Bio: 

Gia Cilento is a Life Coach, Speaker, Writer and Healer. She combines her training as a Massage Therapist and Reiki Master with her business, marketing and writing background to create articles, blogs meditations and programs that inspire, uplift and heal. Her life’s passion is helping people find inner peace through nurturing the Inner Sanctum – their sacred, inner well of healing energy. Gia is available for individual and group coaching, speaking engagements, distance Reiki/healing sessions and freelance writing projects.