Close your eyes and relax. Imagine yourself going purposefully into your kitchen to find a fresh lemon. Start walking to the refrigerator. Open the refrigerator door and pull out the fruit bin. Reach into the bin for a firm, yellow lemon. Close the door and take the lemon to the counter. Roll the lemon back and forth until it starts to soften. Reach in the cutlery drawer for a knife, and slice the juicy lemon in half. Take one half of the lemon and slowly bring it to your mouth. Smell the juice before you put the lemon in your mouth. You can practically taste it. Now, take a big, juicy bite.

Okay, open your eyes. Do you actually taste the lemon in your mouth? Can you feel the tartness on your tongue? Yet there is no lemon. What made it so real was your vivid visualization of finding, rolling, slicing, and biting into a juicy lemon. As I pointed out earlier, an event need not actually occur for you to “experience” and record it subconsciously. You must simply imagine it vividly, as if it were occurring. The vividly imagined experience of biting into a lemon is recorded in your subconscious as if it really happened because your subconscious can’t tell the difference. And, in the future, every time you summon this same imagery in your mind, you will react physiologically as if you were biting into a real lemon.

The Imprinting Process

Once you write your goal in the form of an affirmation, you now need to imprint it. The imprinting process follows the formula:

I x V = R (Imagination times Vividness equals Reality)

A written affirmation creates clear, vivid images, which stimulate the correct emotions, which imprint in your subconscious as the new reality. Every time you write your affirmations correctly, with vivid, experiential imagery, and then go through the imprinting process, you record the imagined event in your subconscious as if it is actually happening to you right now.

The imprinting process takes three steps:

1) read the words of your affirmation to trigger the imagery in your mind;

2) picture the images triggered by the words;

3) feel the emotion stirred by the images, and “experience” the affirmation as if it were actually happening to you now.

After you write an affirmation, visualize yourself being or doing what you are affirming. Seeing yourself driving the new car makes a very powerful imprint even though you may not be aware of it. But it wouldn’t make an imprint if you didn’t see yourself behind the wheel. The television term subjective camera angle applies here.

how to change goals

To imprint properly, you must visualize your goal from a subjective camera angle, as if it is happening to you, not somebody else. That’s why just watching TV or a movie, or merely observing people doing something, won’t change you. That’s why I can watch other people parachute from a plane without it causing me to want to jump, too. For my reality to be affected, I must vividly visualize myself jumping from a plane I must see the chute unfurling above me; feel the tug of the lines and the wind blasting into me; see my feet dangling beneath me, the clouds above, and the earth coming up fast. If I just write down an affirmation to jump from a plane and then read the words without visualizing the situation experientially, it won’t imprint in my subconscious mind.

The angle at which you visualize yourself into your goal situation is vital to the imprinting process. You must imagine the event exactly the way you would actually experience it. That means you must see yourself, not from a detached, “outside looking in” angle, but from a close-up, subjective, “inside looking out” angle. For example, if you imagined yourself biting into a lemon exactly the way you would really do it, you wouldn’t see your back, your face, or the refrigerator behind you. In fact, unless you observed yourself in a mirror, you wouldn’t even see the lemon going into your mouth. You’d only see your hands raising the lemon toward your face. Using the subjective camera angle, you’d see only what you would see if you were participating in the actual event.

See Yourself in the Situation

Suppose you set a goal to improve your skiing. You then write an affirmation, “It’s easy and exhilarating for me to ski on my new skis.”

Then you close your eyes and try to mentally “experience” skiing on the new skis. What would you see if you were actually skiing? You would see the slope, the surrounding scenery, perhaps other skiers around you, your chest, arms, legs, boots, and the front of your skis. You would feel the wind on your face, you would smell the trees, you would hear the snow crunching beneath you, you would feel yourself shifting your weight and working your poles as you slice down the slopes. In other words, you would experience the kinesthetic feel of skiing, as if you were really doing it.

You might wonder, “What if I have trouble picturing, or ‘experiencing,’ affirmations in my mind?” One thing you can do is talk yourself through it. Explain to yourself where you are, vividly describe your surroundings, tell yourself why you’re there. Ask yourself, “Who am I with? What am I doing? How do I feel?” If you still have difficulty painting clear images, it may be because you aren’t relaxed enough. If you are under tension or stress, the picture will be fuzzy. Or perhaps your words are too general. You must be very specific and concrete. You don’t want to affirm something vague like, “I am a good leader.” How can you paint a picture of that? Instead, you want to affirm something specific like, ”I am a calm and resourceful leader whenever my teammates lose their composure on the field.” Or you could be more precise: “I always make the big defensive play or get the crucial hit when my teammates are down and the game is on the line.” Then you envision a game situation, and picture yourself leading your team through it.

The most vital aspect of imprinting is feeling the emotion triggered by the words. If you’ve written your affirmation correctly, with descriptive, experiential words, you will feel the excitement; you will feel the joy; you will feel the anticipation; you will feel the love; you will feel the thrill that your affirmation triggers. The correct words will stimulate that “I can hardly wait!” emotion and anticipation. Any old emotion won’t work. You must imprint the correct emotion. Otherwise, like preparing the five-year-old for the first day of kindergarten by saying, “Your teacher’s a monster,” you will record the wrong emotion, and block yourself from attaining your goal. Your affirmations must provide positive, “emotion” words: “I love to,” “I proudly,” “I enthusiastically,” “I eagerly.” You want to imprint the love, the pride, the enthusiasm, the eagerness, not the tension, anxiety, or fear.