Positive Vibes Only

Start each day with good thoughts and goal-getting energy by looking on the bright side – one way is using creative visualisation to bring you closer to achieving and creating what you want in your life.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Start each day with good thoughts and goal-getting energy by looking on the bright side – one way is using creative visualisation to bring you closer to achieving and creating what you want in your life. Turn the page for more ways
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The Power To Think Positive

Achieving your goals require determination, but you can also make it easier with ways of thinking positively and adopting habits that bring you joy

It’s claimed that success doesn’t happen by accident, but by the choices we make as a result of our daily habits.“As humans we’re inherently hopeful and therefore predisposed to strive to do and be better, and every year we tend to set goals from a place of optimism – that these are achievable if we want them enough,” says Dr Lilian Nejad, a clinic psychologist at Omnipsych.

And one of the best ways to achieve these goals and keep them at the forefront of our minds is to structure daily habits around them.“Breaking your goal into smaller, more specific, simple habits and repeating them consistently over time generates a ‘habit loop’, which means they automatically become part of your day and naturally much easier to attain,” adds Dr Nejad.

According to neuroscience studies, our brains have shown a remarkable capacity for change.“No matter how entrenched a behaviour, you have the power to generate new ones by altering habitual patterns of behaviour,” says Dr Nejad. Here, we share three daily habits that can help make positive changes in your life possible: 
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None of the world’s best and brightest leave their mornings to chance and this is not a coincidence,” says Benjamin Spall, co-author of My Morning Routine.

“When you have a morning routine, made up of as many positive habits as possible, then you’re starting your day with intention and bringing your morning ‘wins’ with you into the rest of your day, while also working to deter bad habits along the way,” he adds.

A study published in the journal Emotion found that the key to happiness is structuring your day so that it includes activities that are likely to make you happy. As Benjamin explains, “Setting a habit that brings you contentment or joy as soon as you wake up will have an equivalent ripple effect on the rest of your day.”

“In turn, as it’s believed that if you want to achieve something you should consider the goal and work backwards from there, having a morning routine allows you to do that every single day.”

The key to a successful and healthy morning routine is to make it simple and easy to follow as this increases the chances you’ll stick to it long-term. It’s also important that it doesn’t prevent you from getting enough sleep.“Whether or not you had a good night’s sleep directly impacts your ability to perform and enjoy your morning routine to the best of your abilities,” he says.

Benjamin suggests to experiment with different elements to find what works for you, then adapt it to your routine. Do this for at least one or two weeks before choosing something new.  “You won’t know if you don’t try and if you miss a day don’t treat it as a painful setback, just get back into it the next day,” he says. Popular ideas include working out, meditating, reading and self-care rituals.
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It’s no surprise that decluttering guru Marie Kondo has garnered so many followers recently; with so much excess in our lives and distractions in the world today there is now a reaction to turn back towards a more minimalist lifestyle and simpler living.

Similarly to minimalising our physical space, streamlining our lives can help us acknowledge what we value the most and consequently give us the headspace to achieve our goals.“A minimalist lifestyle is the reduction of stress and material goods to focus on what matters the most,” explains psychologist Sarah Tottle.“It’s actively looking for ways to reduce the things that consume us, whether that’s a packed schedule or too many material belongings, so we’re removing all the obstacles that stand between us and our goals.”

Amy Revell, declutter queen at Simply Organised, adds, “While for some, a minimalist lifestyle may begin with simplifying our diet or meditating, for most it begins with decluttering the home. When you have less physical distractions around you it actually correlates to less mental clutter, which in turn lets you look deeper into your life to realise what’s important for you and reduce procrastination around getting yourself closer to your aim,” she explains.

To declutter your home, Amy suggests you ask five core questions as you move through each room:“Do I love this?”; “Do I use this?”; “Do I need this?”; “What would happen if I got rid of this?”; and “When was the last time I used this?”

“Think of how you want to feel when you come home at the end of the day, or envision how you want the space you live in to look like and begin to create that,” adds Amy.

Creating everyday minimalist habits can help declutter your space too, like sorting the mail as you receive it, filling out your child’s school forms on the same day, and returning everything you use back to its original place right after using it. “If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now,”says Amy.

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“Creative visualisation is the technique in which you use your thoughts and imagination to bring you closer to achieving your goals and creating what you want in life,” says counsellor and hypnotherapist Eugenie Pepper.

“When we visualise an act, our subconscious mind interprets imagery as equivalent to a real-life action, put simply as if it has already happened, and this helps our intention move from imagination to reality,” adds Sascha Deguera, a master neuro-linguistic programming coach.

“Scientifically this is termed as experience-based neuroplasticity, which confirms that stimuli as a result of repetitive and consistent visualisation rewires the brain’s structure and forges new neural circuits to turn your goals into real-life experiences,” says Sascha.

In order for it to be successful, creative visualisation requires that all five senses are fully engaged, there’s clarity around what you want to achieve and you maintain a positive attitude.“If you succumb to doubts and fears, and loop on unproductive and negative thoughts, work on freeing your mind from this by bringing your attention back to positive thoughts of your future success,” says Eugenie.

Recorded benefits of creative visualisation include improved performance and reduced stress, anxiety and depression scores. Research has found visualisation may also help us recover faster from illness and disease.

To make creative visualisation a habit, repeat and rehearse daily for at least five to 10 minutes. Sascha suggests that just before sleep is best as the mind enters a state of deep relaxation and becomes responsive to suggestion.