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Image / Self / Advice / Health & Wellness

Prospection: the motivational tool that’ll help you reach your goals


By Niamh Ennis
09th Aug 2023
Prospection: the motivational tool that’ll help you reach your goals

We’ve heard quite a lot about procrastination and our innate tendency to put off doing tomorrow what we should do today.

I include myself in this as I’m often heard espousing the benefits of living in the present and not allowing your mind to wander so easily, either into the past or the future. This might appear, therefore, that I’m contradicting myself here when I declare that thinking about the future also possesses the ability to make your life now, much more meaningful.

What I’m talking about here is, in fact, prospection. I get that it’s not a word that you will hear used too often, so let’s first try and understand it’s true meaning. The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes it as “the act of anticipating: foresight.” In layman’s terms, think of this as that feeling you have in the run-up to going on your holidays. For many of us, the anticipation can often equal the event itself! But this act of prospection has the added benefit of helping you to live a more plentiful, fulfilled, and purposeful life.

Looking after your headspace and your mindset is a hot topic right now and with very good reason. Your mental well-being should always be recognised as requiring priority status. To this end, we’re all constantly searching for those tools and techniques that will equip us better to deal with the increasing stresses we all feel while surviving and navigating today’s world.

When you let your mind wander to the future it can often be motivated by a need to control, or a belief that if you project yourself there, you can pre-empt anything bad happening. Trust me, this rarely turns out to be the case and in fact, by spending so much time up ahead, you’re far more likely to miss out on the gloriously unexpected events happening right now!

However, a growing body of research is now suggesting that, done appropriately, prospection, or thinking about your future, can also make your life more purposeful and profound. Personally, I like to think of it as the very important first step towards creating a visual impression of just what it is you want from your life. When you conjure up an image of what it looks like, you instantly connect with how you think you will feel when you get there.

If you have even a passing interest in manifestation you’ll already know that the first step on this path has everything to do with getting clarity on exactly what it is that you want the universe to provide you with. The thinking behind this is that when you create an experience in your mind, your brain responds and behaves as if it were really happening. This speaks to the power of suggestion when it comes to your brain – namely, that there is little variance between when you experience an event in the real world and that of a detailed image or representation in your mind of that exact same event. I often refer to this as another indicator as to why you really do need to be very careful about the language you use when speaking to yourself; purely because your mind cannot recognise the difference between sarcasm or self-deprecation – it simply hears words and accepts them as fact. That’s quite a sobering thought.

Returning to the benefits of prospection, this essentially is the same thing – you connect with what the future can look and feel like in all its magnificent detail. The more specifics you can add to the image, such as colours, information like who else is there, where you are, what exactly are you doing, the better. This is what the most successful athletes confess to doing when they repeatedly conjure up in their minds that image of them standing on the winning podium. What they’re doing is embodying the belief that they can and it is this feeling that consolidates their conviction that if they can see it, they can be it.

3 BENEFITS OF PROSPECTION

BETTER DECISION MAKING: You become better equipped to make wise and pragmatic decisions. You can use the time it gifts you with to develop a clearer idea of how to act. You slowly start to realise that instant gratification won’t always provide you with the best outcome and this teaches you to be patient in receiving what you want. Perhaps it’s also the fact that you can picture what it is you want which engages that feeling of confidence that only hard evidence provides.

MOTIVATIONAL: Prospection inspires and motivates you to reach your goals. If you can suspend your doubts and silence your inner critic (which I do realise is a big if) and are able to connect with how you will feel when you get to your goals, the chances of success increase pretty quickly. This is good advice for achieving all of your goals or resolutions – to always chase the feeling rather than the event itself!

TRUST: When you engage with the visual representation of what your future holds, you begin to develop a sense of trust that you can have what you want. Whether you believe in the universe’s ability to provide, or have faith in your own competence and skillset, that level of trust can be the bridge between wanting something and knowing how to get it.

In summary, anticipation increases happiness and prospection makes that anticipation come alive in your imagination. Having something to look forward to instantly makes you feel good, whilst knowing you have something to look forward to will inspire hope. Prospection therefore serves as the ultimate distraction tool and being able to visualise just what that can look like will encourage you to stay motivated. That connection to how that will finally feel is the ultimate incentive to stay focused until you have what you desire – which is, after all, exactly what each of us is here to do.

Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Transformation Coach and author of Get Unstuck who through her private practice, writings, programmes, workshops and podcast has inspired and helped thousands of people to make significant changes in their lives. She’s an accredited Personal, Leadership & Executive Coach and the Lead Coach in the IMAGE Business Club. Niamh is hosting an intimate, online group programme later this autumn – if you wish to join the priority list to be the first to receive the details click here. Follow Niamh on Instagram @1niamhennis or at niamhennis.com.