Success begins in the mind. Whether you’re opening a business, running a marathon or simply trying to diet, success begins with a goal in mind. Goals are necessary because they provide focus. They’re like a beacon that guides our path, so we can safely reach our destination. But to achieve our goals, we need to be mentally strong for the journey. One of the ways that can help us achieve success is through visualization.

Visualization is a powerful method that can bring us closer to our dream. It’s the cornerstone of the New Thought philosophy, the Law of Attraction, and has been preached in books such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret Law of Attraction: Master the Power of Intention by Katherine Hurst, and the Key to Living the Law of Attraction: A Simple Guide to Creating the Life of Your Dreams by Jack Canfield, among others.

So how do we visualize?

We need to see our goals in our mind. This means creating detailed pictures of how we visualize our success. If you’re starting out a business, you can start visualizing your future office and the things you want to achieve. If you’ll be running a marathon, you can visualize crossing the finish line and win. If you want to lose weight, you can visualize yourself with a leaner, sexier body.

When we visualize our desired results, our mind starts to believe that we can achieve it and this belief can push our body and mind towards that goal. By visualizing, we “see” our desired future and this will motivate us to really go after our goals.

Visualization is not just a new age idea, there’s a science behind it.

Our nervous system is made up of individual cells called neurons. These are the cells that work like power lines that transmit information across our mind. When we visualize something, our neurons interpret this imagery as real action, and this causes our brain produces an impulse that instructs our neurons to “perform” the action. This creates a new neural pathway and prepares our body to perform in accordance with what we visualized. Visualization is so powerful that even if we don’t actively perform the physical activity that our mind is preparing us to do, we can still achieve results.

Visualization is not a new-age gimmick or magic. It’s a method of disciplining our mind to help us achieve our goals. There are two ways to visualize. The first method is called outcome visualization. It involves visualizing yourself achieving your goals by creating a very detailed mental picture of the overall result that you want to achieve.

The second method of visualization is called process visualization. This is a step-by-step process that focuses on visualizing every step necessary to achieve your goals. Process visualization does not entail visualizing the overall goal itself.

For best results, experts recommend that you combine these two methods to achieve success.