Visualising helps you reach your goals

Visualising a goal and watching progress made towards the aim makes it easier to achieve, new research has shown. The study, published in the Journal of Marketing, found that the simpler a target is to see - such as the end of a race or waiting for a download - the closer it seems.

Rajesh Bagchi, Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech and Amar Cheema - Associate Professor of Marketing with the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, founded in 1819 - demonstrated making goal attainment visual is one way to provide motivation for reaching these aims.

The duo gave the example of watching a bar filling up to represent sales targets for a team of workers - suggesting people will be more energised to meet the goal when they witness advancement rather than having it reported to them numerically.

Mr Cheema said: "Progress is important. When what is left to be filled in the bar is smaller than what has been filled, that is when the motivation happens."

Professor Aidan Moran, a Chartered Psychologist from University College Dublin, commented: "Visualising any type of target can certainly help people to mentally rehearse what they have to do in order to attain it. 

"There is a great deal of scientific evidence that 'seeing' and 'feeling' actions in one's mind's eye before actually performing them (a strategy called 'mental practice') can significantly enhance learning. 

"The key point, however, is that one has to imagine the actions required to achieve the goal - not just the goal itself. That's what differentiates visualisation (or mental practice) from daydreaming."