Common self-help suggestions seem to not be standing up to research. Two years ago, I wrote about the Dangers of Positive Thinking. When you try to convince yourself of positive statements, it can actually damage self-esteem. Now research is suggesting that visualizing yourself achieving your goals may make it more difficult to actually obtain those goals.
Visualizing yourself happy, successful, and in great shape is supposed to convince you that it can be true and inspire you to make it happen. However, visualizing yourself happy, successful, and in great shape seems to be so rewarding that we are no longer motivated to work for it. Visualizing it may be enough for us.
The study at Science Direct included four different experiments. What the researchers found was that positive visualizations were “de-energizing”, leading to the relaxation that comes after a goal has been achieved. In one of the experiments, “a positive fantasy about the coming week led participants to feel less energised, and when surveyed a week later, they’d achieved fewer of their week’s goals, than had control participants who’d originally been asked to day-dream freely about the coming week.”