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The Power of Visualization vs Taking Action: Which One Works Best?

When it comes to setting goals, there are two approaches that people tend to take: focusing on actions or manifestation. While both approaches can be effective, they have different strengths and weaknesses, and understanding the differences between them can help you choose the right approach for your own goals.


Action-Focused Goals

Actions-focused goals are all about setting specific, measurable actions that will help you achieve your desired outcome. For example, if you want to lose weight, you might set a goal to go to the gym three times a week, eat a healthy breakfast every morning, and track your calorie intake. By focusing on these specific actions, you can break down a larger goal into smaller, more manageable steps that you can track and measure along the way.


The strength of an actions-focused approach is that it can be very effective at creating momentum and keeping you accountable. When you have specific actions to take each day or week, it can be easier to stay on track and make progress towards your goal. Additionally, by tracking your progress towards these specific actions, you can see tangible results that can motivate you to keep going.


However, the weakness of an actions-focused approach is that it can sometimes be too rigid. If you become too fixated on achieving certain actions, you may lose sight of the bigger picture or fail to adapt when unexpected challenges arise. Additionally, if you set unrealistic or overly ambitious actions, you may become discouraged or overwhelmed, which can lead to giving up on your goal altogether.


Manifestation-Focused Goals

Manifestation-focused goals, on the other hand, are all about visualizing the end result and working backwards to figure out the steps needed to achieve it. For example, if you want to get a promotion at work, you might visualize yourself in that new position, feeling confident and fulfilled in your work. By focusing on this outcome and the feelings associated with it, you can tap into the power of visualization and use it to motivate yourself to take action towards your goal.


The strength of a manifestation-focused approach is that it can be very effective at creating a sense of purpose and motivation. By focusing on the end result and the emotions associated with it, you can tap into your subconscious mind and unlock powerful forces that can help you achieve your goal. Additionally, by focusing on the bigger picture, you may be more likely to adapt and adjust your approach as needed, rather than becoming too fixated on specific actions.


However, the weakness of a manifestation-focused approach is that it can sometimes be too abstract. If you don't have a clear idea of what the end result looks like or how to get there, it can be difficult to make progress towards your goal. Additionally, if you become too focused on visualization and don't take concrete actions towards your goal, you may not see any progress, which can be discouraging.


Pros of action-focused goal setting:


  • Creates a Sense of Urgency: Action-focused goal setting helps to create a sense of urgency and momentum, which can help people to stay motivated and focused on achieving their goals.

  • Encourages Accountability: By focusing on specific actions and behaviors, action-focused goal setting encourages people to take responsibility for their own success and hold themselves accountable for their progress.

  • Helps to Build Momentum: Taking action on small goals can help people to build momentum and achieve larger goals over time.

  • Provides a Clear Roadmap: Action-focused goal setting provides a clear roadmap for achieving desired outcomes, which can help people to stay on track and avoid distractions.


Cons of action-focused goal setting:


  • Can Be Overwhelming: Focusing solely on actions and behaviors can be overwhelming, particularly if people are trying to tackle too many goals at once.

  • Lacks Creativity: Action-focused goal setting can be overly focused on specific actions and behaviors, which can limit creativity and innovative thinking.

  • Can Lead to Burnout: Constantly focusing on action and achievement can lead to burnout and exhaustion, particularly if people are not taking time to rest and recharge.


Pros of manifestation-focused goal setting:


  • Encourages Visualization: Manifestation-focused goal setting encourages people to visualize their desired outcomes, which can help to create a sense of possibility and excitement.

  • Helps to Build Self-Belief: Manifestation-focused goal setting can help people to build self-belief and confidence in their ability to achieve their goals.

  • Creates a Positive Mindset: Focusing on manifestation can help people to cultivate a positive mindset and develop a more optimistic outlook on life.

  • Can Be More Flexible: Manifestation-focused goal setting can be more flexible and adaptable, as it allows people to be open to unexpected opportunities and experiences.


Cons of manifestation-focused goal setting:


  • Can Lack Direction: Focusing solely on manifestation can lack direction and a clear roadmap for achieving desired outcomes.

  • May Be Unrealistic: Manifestation-focused goal setting can be overly focused on wishful thinking and may not account for the practical steps needed to achieve desired outcomes.

  • Can Lack Accountability: Without a focus on specific actions and behaviors, manifestation-focused goal setting can lack accountability and may not encourage people to take responsibility for their own success.

  • Can Be Passive: Focusing solely on manifestation can lead to a passive approach to goal setting, without taking concrete steps to achieve desired outcomes.


Ultimately, the best approach to setting goals will depend on your personal preferences and the nature of your goal. Some goals may lend themselves better to an actions-focused approach, while others may require a manifestation-focused approach. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, you can choose the one that works best for you and increase your chances of success.



Incorporating NLP Techniques


NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, is a method of communication and personal development that can be used to help people achieve their goals. NLP techniques can be particularly helpful for goal setting, as they can help people to identify and overcome mental barriers that may be holding them back from achieving their desired outcomes. Here are some ways that NLP can help with goal setting:


  • Clarifying Goals: NLP techniques can help people to clarify their goals and make them more specific and achievable. This can involve using language patterns and visualizations to create a clearer picture of what the desired outcome looks like, and breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps.

  • Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Many people have limiting beliefs that can prevent them from achieving their goals. NLP techniques can help to identify and overcome these beliefs by using techniques such as reframing, anchoring, and visualization. By changing the way people think about their goals, NLP can help to remove mental barriers and increase motivation and confidence.

  • Increasing Motivation: NLP techniques can be used to increase motivation and commitment to goals. This can involve using language patterns and visualizations to create positive associations with the desired outcome, and anchoring these positive feelings to specific actions or behaviors that are necessary for achieving the goal.

  • Improving Communication: NLP can also help to improve communication skills, which can be important for setting and achieving goals. Effective communication can help people to build stronger relationships, negotiate more effectively, and create a more positive environment for achieving their goals.

  • Managing Emotions: Goal setting can be an emotional process, and NLP techniques can help people to manage their emotions more effectively. This can involve using techniques such as anchoring and reframing to create more positive associations with challenging situations or emotions, and using visualizations and other techniques to create a more positive emotional state.


Overall, NLP can be a powerful tool for goal setting, helping people to overcome mental barriers, clarify their goals, increase motivation and commitment, improve communication skills, and manage their emotions more effectively. By using NLP techniques in combination with other goal-setting strategies, people can create a more comprehensive and effective approach to achieving their desired outcomes.



About the Author - Donna Burfield


Donna Burfield is a licensed and accredited coach and the founder of Joy and Purpose Coaching, Coaches Supporting Coaches - Dubai, and CSC Certified Coaches Group. With 26 years teaching experience and being a single mother to her daughter and twin sons, Donna is passionate about supporting working parents to prioritize their family's well-being, strengthen their parenting skills, and set boundaries using easy and effective tools. Donna also supports a coaching community to collaborate, inspire, and develop professionally. She connects coaches with experts to build ethical and professional coaching businesses, including legal, business licenses, insurance, and website building.


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