Does visualizing success actually help you achieve it? Shirzad Chamine, discusses the power of visualization in his Positive Intelligence coaching series, and he says that it does. In a one-month study of basketball players improving their free throws, players were divided into three groups—those who practiced free throws every day, those who visualized free throws every day, and those who did neither. Results showed that those who only practiced improved by 24% and those who only visualized improved by 23%. These are very similar results! Those who did neither didn’t improve. Visualizing a goal’s achievement is a powerful force in achieving it. And, you can apply this to building a life you love.

3 Powers of a Life Vision

Sean Achor, author of Happiness Advantage describes The Tetris Effect in which your brain is trained to notice things that are top of mind and to filter out the rest. For example, if you truly see yourself furthering your college education, you’ll find you start noticing random but relevant items like a LinkedIn post from a connection returning to school or articles about your desired areas of study in your news feed. Having a clear vision increases the chances you’ll find and act on the right opportunities when they arise.

A vision also provides flexible structure. With a path to follow, you’re less likely to get distracted and wander down tangential forks in the road. Of course, this vision is flexible and will change with time—as you achieve each goal and as you yourself grow and change.

A vision is effectively a group of goals, and studies show that goal-setting increases success.

How to Create a Life Vision

Each of us thinks differently so our method of dreaming is understandably different. Following are a few ways to create your vision.

  1. Create a vision board—If you are a visual person, pull out pen and paper, pictures, etc., and create a collage representing your life vision. Use this process from Oprah to create a vision board.
  2. Journal Your Vision—If writing comes more naturally to you, pull out a journal and sketch out your thoughts in paragraph form or as a list.
  3. Create a Timeline—If you are an analytical thinker, create a timeline with your mileposts. You don’t have to assign dates, just capturing them in a flexible order is helpful.
  4. Make a list–My mentor introduced me to one of the most powerful activities I have done. We started by each writing 20 life goals. Then, we began meeting by phone for an hour a week to review our goals and hold each other accountable. As we achieve each goal, we replace it with a new one. After three years, I love looking back at all I’ve accomplished and how it’s shaping my life.

No matter which method you use, the key is in keeping this vision top of mind. Don’t tuck it away in a drawer! Instead, display it in a place where you will notice it regularly, meditate on it frequently, or find an accountability partner. Whichever method works for you, be sure to visit your vision regularly.

How does this tie into your financial success? Money is a tool to build the life you love. If you keep your life vision top of mind, you’ll naturally build this vision into your financial strategy and channel your financial resources to creating a fulfilling life.