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Imagine Your Best Possible Self

by Victor Perton

Visualisation and daydreaming are powerful human tendencies.  They are very healthy and can be harnessed to make you more optimistic and more infectiously optimistic.

Experiment: Set aside about 15 minutes without distraction and write about a future day in your life in which you have accomplished everything you desire. Then spend five minutes imaging that reality. Practising this every now and again significantly improves your positive feelings, your feelings of optimism and the infectiousness of your optimism.

Experiment:  Visualise your best possible self and imagine a future in which all your goals have been achieved.   The experts suggest writing it down.  Personally, I keep it in a document on my computer which I review once a month.  There’s good evidence that it is a way of lifting yourself and those around you.  Try it now.

This may stimulate you to develop a better personal strategy and action plans to achieve those dreams. 

Read more on "The Habits of the Optimist" 

More Insights on "Your Best Possible Self" Exercises

Professor Martin Seligman

“The important thing about imagination is that it gives you optimism

Dr. Tom Muha, Psychologist

The Best Possible Self positive psychology exercise is one of the most recognized methods for boosting happiness. Researchers find it has long-term effectiveness and people report that it’s immediately beneficial. The exercise has been shown to boost people’s positive emotions, happiness levels, optimism, hope, improve coping skills, and elevate positive expectations about the future.

Here are the steps for creating your vision of you at your best:

  • Take a few minutes to select a future time period (e.g., 6 months, 1 year, 5 years from now) and imagine that at that time you are experiencing your best possible self. Visualize your best possible self in a way that is very pleasing to you and that you are passionate about pursuing.
  • Imagine in vivid detail that you have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing your life goals. You might think of this as reaching your full potential, hitting an important milestone, or realizing one of your life dreams. The point is not to think of unrealistic fantasies such as winning the Superbowl, but rather, things that are positive and attainable within reason.
  • After you have a fairly clear image, write about the details. Writing down your best possible self helps to create a logical structure for the future and can help you move from the realm of foggy ideas and fragmented thoughts to concrete, real possibilities.

Courtney E. Ackerman in "My Pocket Positivity: Anytime Exercises That Boost Optimism, Confidence, and Possibility"

IMAGINE YOUR BEST POSSIBLE SELF: This exercise can help you set goals for your future, determine which strengths you will need to cultivate to get there, and motivate you to put in the time and effort to improve yourself. As an added bonus, it can also boost your sense of hope and optimism!

  • Grab your journal or a notebook and set aside a few minutes to sit in a quiet place and think. 
  • Settle on a specific point in the future (such as six months from now, five years from now, or even ten years from now) and imagine yourself at this point in time; however, instead of thinking about how your life will most likely be at this point, imagine your best possible life and best possible self at this point. 
  • Imagine that you are meeting or have met all of your goals, you are successful and happy, and you have your dream job, a wonderful relationship with your loved ones, fulfilling hobbies, and/ or anything else that is important to you. 
  • Note as much detail as possible, and paint as vivid a picture as you can of your future self. 
  • Now, think about the strengths you will need to apply to get to this point. 
  • Will you need to maximize your persistence? 
  • Engage in lots of strategic planning? 
  • Use some truly excellent people skills? 
  • Write down the strengths, skills, and traits you will need to use to get where you want to be, and commit to enhancing or improving them.

Angela Priestley 

"Take the ‘Best Possible Self’ exercise

"The BPS intervention offers an approach for developing an optimistic mindset, and it’s been widely studied and used by psychologists to help in immediately improving the moods and outlooks of those who use it.

"The exercise involves spending a few minutes with pen and paper imagining your ‘best possible self’ in some kind of potential future, say a month, a year, five years, ten years from now, whatever works. Write down what happens when everything goes right in your relationship, in your leadership, business and career.

"What happens when you achieve those goals? Keep it brief or go into detail, just make sure it includes a vision that is actually obtainable, over wild fantasy scenarios. Picture yourself in that successful future scenario, and consider how it feels.

"This exercise seems far too simple to create results, but multiple studies have proven it (at least temporarily) results in optimism boosts in participants."

Jakob WeitzerKyriaki PapantoniouClara Lázaro‐Sebastiàn, Stefan SeidelGerhard KlöschEva Schernhammer

"Dispositional optimism can be promoted through training. A meta‐analytic review of 29 studies concluded that psychological interventions can increase dispositional optimism, and that the strongest effect was achieved when applying the Best Possible Self method."

Read "Dispositional optimists Sleep Better and have a Lower Risk of Insomnia: Austrian Study 2020"

Susan Shain in "How to Be More Optimistic"

Imagine your dream life in 10 years — what would it look like? How would it feel? Now sit down and write about it: once a week, for six to eight minutes, for one or two months. Spend each session focusing on your “best possible self” in a single domain, such as family, career, romance or health.

Though it might sound like wishful thinking, dozens of studies show that imagining your ideal future can actually boost your levels of optimism.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside and author of “The How of Happiness,” has employed this exercise with hundreds of subjects. It works, she said, because you’re strengthening your “optimistic muscles” by “thinking about all your dreams coming true as opposed to worrying about the worst possible outcome.”

Kira M. Newman, the Greater Good Science Center

Luckily, research suggests that optimism is something we can cultivate - by practicing gratitude, envisioning our “Best Possible Self,” or doing certain types of therapy. And that makes the future look a little bit rosier.

in How Optimism May Keep You Alive Longer

 Sandee LaMotte, CNN

One of the most effective ways to increase optimism, according to a meta-analysis of existing studies, is called the "Best Possible Self" method, where you imagine or journal about yourself in a future in which you have achieved all your life goals and all of your problems have been resolved.

Dr Randy Cale

"Research strongly supports the notion that we will experience increased optimism, happiness, and success by visualizing the best possible version of ourselves that we can imagine. In other words, we envision a life where everything has unfolded in the way we want, and in the process, we have evolved to be the best person we can be. Now come up, imagine being that person. Imagine being that happy, that kind, that free to enjoy and respond to whatever life gives you with enthusiasm and competency."

Irene O'Garden

Pilot your imagination. Our imagination is our primary instrument of creativity. It has such a powerful effect on our behavior that some people make it their life’s work to hijack it for their own purposes or profits. But the ship and the ship’s wheel are ours. Use your strong desire as fuel and steer it into the physical life you want to create. Nothing fortifies our optimism more than creating the world we want, one action at a time. For example, I love when a cashier gives me back too much change. The world I want to create is peopled with honest folk, so I always return it. “You’re so honest,” they say. What’s fun is that not only have I reinforced an honest world for myself, but I have created tangible evidence for another person, thus expanding that honest world. We can constantly build our stash of evidence for ourselves and others.

Nilgin Yusuf

"Whatever life’s perceived limitations, frustrations or problems, take time to write down and imagine the ideal you. “Where would you like to be five years from now” is a common interview question. A test of vision, imagination and thereafter manifestation, it can foster a more positive mindset. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, believed that “authentic happiness derives from raising the bar for yourself, not comparing yourself to others”.

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