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                                     AND FEELINGS OF HOPELESSNESS

                                                                 To accomplish great things,
                                                           We must first dream, then visualize,
                                                                   Then plan… believe… act!

                                                                                                                 —Alfred A. Montapert

This toolkit includes two activities aimed at enhancing your motivation to continue to work on solving
problems. The first tool can be used at any point in time when you might feel hesitant to continue to persist, for example, if you feel unsure about carrying out an action plan to solve a current problem.

The second skill is another use of visualization. This can be especially helpful for people facing an
extremely difficult problem that appears to have no reasonable solution. This use of visualization is
designed to increase hope and motivation to continue to commit oneself to coping with stressful
situations. Basically, this tool involves using visualization to experience successfully resolving a problem.

When you are "sitting on the fence," not knowing what to do next, and feeling hesitant to continue to work on a problem, try to create a “Motivational Worksheet.”



To do so, carry out the following steps:


  • Make two columns in your notebook or journal

  • List those benefits and costs associated with not continuing to work on your problem in the left-


             hand column

  • List in the right-hand column, possible benefits and costs associated with moving forward, that is,

     the problem being solved

  • Now, compare these overall consequences and apply the cost–benefit analysis you learned when

     you were focused on the Decision-Making part of the Problem-Solving Worksheet

  • Be sure to consider immediate benefits and costs, long-term benefits and costs, and benefits and

     costs to yourself and to others

  • Post this new worksheet in your home where you can see it everyday, such as a bathroom mirror or kitchen refrigerator-- this will continually remind you of why it is important to focus on this problem 

  • In comparing both columns, ask yourself the question-- do you think it is better to move forward or do nothing?

  • Challenge yourself to go forward! As Benjamin Franklin once said-- "Energy and persistence conquer all things!"


A major barrier to effective problem solving can involve feelings of hopelessness. At times, when you might be feeling overwhelmed with difficult problems, you may be thinking—“I just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel; I just can’t see the problem ever being solved!

If you feel this way at times, use another visualization exercise. This one directs you to visualize yourself


at a future point in time when a current problem is largely solved. The idea is not to try and imagine how


the problem was solved, how the goal was achieved, or how you arrived at this point in time, but simply to


put oneself there. Using your imagination, try and experience this scene fully using all your senses. This


includes using imagery to silently tell yourself what your surroundings “look” like, what you “hear,” what


you “smell,” who is in the scene, what physical sensations and emotions you “feel,” and/or what you are


saying to yourself.



Think about people who are training to run a race. Such people often describe using their “mind’s eye” to


visualize or “see” the finish line to enhance their motivation to persist running toward that goal despite


feeling tired. Doing so actually helps them to continue to run. As such, the likelihood of finishing the race


is increased!


Remember what it felt like when you pictured yourself graduating high school, on a date with someone


you love, or seeing a ribbon signaling the end of a race or obstacle course. These images kept you


studying harder, making that first telephone call, or running a bit faster. Actually “seeing the light at the


end of the tunnel” (in our mind) can help us to work harder to get to the goal. People who have mastered


this technique by practicing have been able to get through stressful, traumatic, and painful


circumstances, because they had hope through visualization.




Here is a visualization audiotape to help you learn to use this skill


In addition, to see a video demonstrating the use of visualization, click here




Choose just one image or scene from your attempts to visualize a future point in time, with your problem largely resolved, or your goal accomplished, and having gotten through, around, or over the barriers in your way. Write down this goal. It could be a personal, physical, career, family, or social goal. Remember to make it as specific and concrete as possible (in other words, define it).


Break this goal into small steps—in other words, if the time for the goal is 5 years, write a goal for each


year. If the goal is for 6 months, write a goal for each month. Note that you would be using the


simplification and externalization tools.


Now take the first step or smaller goal that you just listed and break that down into even smaller steps.


Remember to be concrete and specific.


Create a daily visualization for motivation to remain focused on the goal and steps toward your goal that


you have just described. For example, if your initial visualization involved having an improved relationship


with your significant other within a year, and you visualized less arguments and more positive interactions

each month, you might decide to remain focused on your goal by providing some positive interactions for


every negative interaction you experience each week.


One example might be that for every negative exchange, you focus on noticing acts of friendship or


support between both of you and sharing it together. Another example might involve visualizing a long-


term promotion that is important to you, but you are experiencing current barriers that lead you to feel


hopeless. Use your visualization for motivation to establish a 3-year goal. Then break down that goal into


smaller 1-year goals. Next, make a list of the barriers that are in your way, and list a month-by-month


plan of how you will slowly work to reduce, change, or remove each barrier. Practice a daily visualization


for motivation of how you will feel having achieved your long-term goal to keep focused and committed! 


Visualization for Motivation
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