Guided Imagery Exercise for Goal Attainment
Guided imagery – it’s a topic that comes up a lot in my work with clients. At it’s core, guided imagery is nothing more than a verbal narration of an imaginary journey.
An example might be listening to a relaxing MP3 recording where a gentle voice describes a flowing river. Using words, the voice paints a visual landscape and encourages you to hear the rushing water. As you enjoy the environment, you become calmer and calmer.
Make sense? What you’ve just read is an example of guided imagery. I’m mentioning this as a prelude to what follows. In short, I’d like to share with you a guided imagery exercise I conduct with clients to help them reach specific goals.
Examples include weight loss, muscle gain, more confidence or greater self-esteem. The exercise itself is called: A letter from your future self. In many ways, it is similar to another exercise I wrote called How To Create A Circle of Confidence.
Now here is the thing – the narrator of this exercise is you. Be sure to read through what follows carefully and then try doing it on your own. Some people find doing a body scan meditation helpful as part of preparation.
OK, it’s time to get all woo-woo. Are you ready? Check it out.
A Letter From Your Future Self
For this self-improvement exercise, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Allow yourself to see nothing but darkness. When the time is right, imagine a small pinpoint of light appearing in the distance.
Walk towards that light.
As you step towards the light, you notice it takes on a circular shape, creating a mysterious portal.
It’s OK if you feel warm as you approach this light circle. Conversely, it’s also OK if you feel nothing. The mind will present to you what is necessary.
Once you are standing directly in front of the portal, remain there for a moment. When the time is right, your inner voice will gently nudge you to pass through the circle.
You are now five years in the future.
As you stand in this place, you are aware of a greenish mist. In the distance, you can make out a silhouette. Someone is walking towards your direction.
The closer they get, the more familiar they seem. Eerily familiar.
All at once, you recognize it is the future version of you.
This person is now standing directly in front of you.
Feeling calm but curious, you study this version of you and ask yourself:
What am I aware of?
For example, if you see a slimmer version of you, how does that make you feel? If notice you are tobacco-free, what do you smell like? If the person standing in front of you is more confident, how can you tell?
Once you identify these things, have a conversation with your future self. Here are some questions you might ask:
- What steps did you take to create these positive changes?
- What were the barriers to change that you had to work through?
- What important advice can you give to me that is important to know?
After the answers are provided, it’s time to come back to the present. Allow your future self to step backwards, ultimately fading away.
When the time is right, pass through the portal from which you entered.
Step backwards in your mind’s eye until the circle of light becomes dimmer and dimmer, until it transforms into the pinpoint you saw at the beginning of this exercise.
Slowly, open your eyes and adjust to the room.
Take a few moments to write down any important memories you have from this experience. What messages were you given from your future self? What advice did this individual give you?
* The idea behind this homework assignment is help you reach goals that are important to you in the future.