The Three Stages of Visualization

No matter where you look for performance advice on the Internet, you’ll be told that visualization is important. You’ll be told how important it is that your visualizations are vivid and bring out emotion and all of this other advice. Unfortunately, there are very few sources to actually learn how visualization works on a practical level or what the different stages of visualization are for the person who wants to use it as a tool to take a big step towards their goals.

The main thing that people tend to want to use this tool for is building motivation. The general idea is that you will visualize what it is you want, you’ll feel like working for it and the work will get done much easier. While that sounds great, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that if you want to get consistent results that don’t disappear after the first time you use it (or never appear at all). However, it’s not so complicated that it removes visualization from your toolbox completely; you just have to know the stages and how to use them to your advantage.

Stages of Visualization for Productivity

There are three different stages in the process of getting things done and achieving your goals that you can use as the targets of visualization. They aren’t stages of the actual visualization, but instead, they’re three different stages of the process that you can target with visualization. The following are those stages:

  1. Stage 1: Initiating Action
  2. Stage 2: Continued Focus
  3. Stage 3: The Endgame

The stage that you want to focus on primarily will depend on your own personal goals, strengths, weaknesses and what you want to work on. It’s a pretty personalized thing, and that’s why it doesn’t work for a lot of people. If you’re strong in stages 2 and 3, for example, but stage 1 is lacking, then you won’t get much benefit if your visualization is focused on either of the latter stages. You may think to yourself that it doesn’t work because of an experience like this, but it’s really just because your target for the exercise was on the wrong part of the process.

Descriptions of the Stages and How to Target Them

The first stage is Initiating Action, and that’s the stage that people with procrastination issues will have trouble with, as an example. This stage is all about switching from whatever action that you’re doing in one moment to the action that you think you actually should be doing, so your visualizations about this stage should be about starting up boldly with strength, self-confidence and certainty.

The second stage is Continued Focus, and this is all about dealing with situations where your motivation and drive start to falter after the initial surge of interest. If you’re the type of person who often starts a project with a lot of energy but then generally gives up or stops working on something once that initial “new project shine” wears off, then this is where you want to focus with your visualization exercises. You can focus on things like continuing on like a robot or a cyborg and not giving up while you put in the work and feel a sense of satisfaction as things build up around you.

I want to point out that, in my experience, most self-employment productivity problems come from one of the two areas above.

Finally, you have the third stage, which is The Endgame. The Endgame is the point of all of that work and what it is that you want to achieve. It’s usually a feeling like self-worth, security or freedom (especially financially or in terms of health/attraction), and it acts as the guiding light that always shows you how to set your course to achieve your goals. Visualizations for this are pretty easy and very common. In fact, this may be the most common type of visualization exercise that is recommended online, and it should be included in your routine on a fairly regular basis regardless of your situation because of how it can help to bolster and renew focus and drive overall.

While the first and second stages give you visualizations that will help with specific issues that can get in your way, visualizations that focus on the third stage will help you in all areas of your life and boost things up in the general sense.