Over previous years, visualisation has been touted as the way to overcome many of life’s hurdles. Think of being happy and you will be, want a million dollars then imagine that you have won the lottery!
For sports competition, or when about to present to an audience, or anything else where an 'action' by you is involved, visualisation has been proven to be effective. Visualisation provides focus as you go through the motions (in your mind) of what you are about to do. A dress rehearsal if you like.
Where visualisation has proved to be ineffective, is where you have no ability to control the outcome - winning the lottery, selling a house, becoming a millionaire, etc. Sorry, those things come down to luck or good marketing.
I read recently where visualisation, when used to imagine a new 'you' is at best ineffective and at worst, harmful. There is no doubt that imagining yourself with a slender body, dating a famous person or living a luxurious lifestyle will indeed make you feel good. That in itself is okay, however, know that you will feel worse when you fall at the first hurdle of achieving that dream.
Research has found that ‘thinking yourself happy’ may also be detrimental to you because you tend to focus on what it is that you are trying to change about yourself. You tend to obsess on the very thing that makes you unhappy. So too yelling into a pillow to reduce anger may make you angrier because you are thinking about the very thing that you are angry about and brainstorming could actually produce less ideas because you are constrained by the ideas that you are hearing around you.
As psychology evolves, we are learning more and more about these long-held beliefs and changing things for the better. Achieving goals, no matter what they are, is about having control and taking action. The ‘universe’ won’t provide for you unless you take some form of action yourself. That is why visualisation works for athletes, actors, and keynote speakers – they take action after the visualisation to achieve what they want.
In sum, by all means visualise what you want but then you must take practical steps to achieve them.