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Master the Visioning Exercise: Step-by-Step Guide, Templates, and Tools

Last updated on February 6, 2024

The first step toward creating your dream life is knowing what you want to achieve. A visioning exercise is an amazing tool that assists clients in gaining clarity about their goals and how to reach them. The beauty of this tool is its versatility and ease of use, not to mention that you can use it in any coaching niche.

The problem is that there are so many ways to approach this exercise—so that’s why we’re providing some guidance. In this article, you’ll find a bunch of ideas for life vision exercises, plus a guide on how to make your own, as well as ready-made tools for instant use. 

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What Is a Visioning Exercise?

A visioning exercise is a life coaching activity designed to help clients clarify and articulate their vision for the future. This exercise includes different creative and reflective techniques that help clients define their aspirations, values, and goals. The purpose of it is to get a clear picture of what clients aim to achieve in the long term.

Visioning exercises can be used in various contexts and coaching niches, including personal development coaching, career coaching, and general life coaching

Here are some of the key benefits of using visioning exercises in life coaching:

  • Clarity of purpose – Visioning exercises help clients clarify their values and long-term goals, which can provide them with a clear sense of purpose.
  • Motivation and inspiration – Creating a vision for one’s ideal life can be a driving source of motivation and inspiration.
  • Goal setting – Visioning breaks down long-term visions into manageable goals, thus inspiring the creation of realistic and measurable objectives.
  • Focus and direction – A well-defined vision helps clients stay focused on their priorities and avoid distractions.
  • Increased confidence – The clarity and alignment with core values that come through visioning contribute to increased self-confidence. This can give clients the strength and motivation to overcome challenges and believe in themselves.

How To Conduct a Visioning Exercise

If you want to lead a visioning exercise—or even come up with your own—here are the essential steps to follow:

  1. Set the stage – Create a comfortable and relaxed environment that inspires reflection and creativity. Explain the purpose of the visioning exercise and the potential impact on personal or organizational development.
  2. Mindfulness or relaxation techniques – If you want, you can incorporate mindfulness or relaxation exercises to help clients focus, be present in the moment, and declutter their minds. For this purpose, you can use techniques such as deep breathing or guided meditation.
  3. Imagination and visualization – Guide your clients through a visualization exercise where they mentally picture their ideal future. You should encourage them to use all their senses to create a vivid image—the more descriptive and realistic, the better.
  4. Brainstorming – You want to lock in those good ideas, so follow up with a brainstorming session to write down ideas related to that ideal future. 
  5. Capture ideas – Bring the vision to life using visual aids, such as a vision board, whiteboard, or flip charts to capture key concepts. 
  6. Refine – Guide the client through a process of refining their visions. To make them achievable, they want to focus on milestones and goals that lead to the life they want.
  7. Goal setting – Now it’s time to make that vision tangible. Together with your client, connect the vision to actionable goals. Break down the long-term vision into smaller, achievable milestones using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) criteria.
  8. Action planning – The last step is to develop a personalized plan that outlines the specific steps needed to realize the vision. This may include identifying resources, potential obstacles, timelines, and more.

Life Vision Exercises to Use with Clients

Visioning exercises come in many different shapes and forms, so it’s up to you to decide which ones suit your coaching style and the needs of your clients. To help your clients connect with their true desires, you can use the following popular and proven life vision exercises:

Get Perspective Vision Exercise

This exercise is great for specifying the actions necessary for achieving big goals. Clients picture where they want to be in 10 years, and then break it down to 5 years, 2 years, 1 year, and 3 months. Begin with the ultimate goal and work backward to the near future to outline the steps leading to it.

3-Month Personal Vision Exercise

This life vision exercise is dedicated to short-term goals. Clients need to envision where they want to be in 3 months and touch upon different important life areas like health, career, relationships, finances, home, and family, for example.

In addition to imagining it, they should also think about the emotions they feel and obstacles that might come their way. This makes the vision more realistic and prepares them for challenges to boost their resilience.

Rocking Chair Life Vision Exercise

Ask your clients to imagine being 90, happy, and healthy. After they have envisioned their future, they should write or journal about their life and reflect on their achievements. The point of this specific exercise is to uncover the big picture and emphasize clients’ most important values, so they can identify what they should do now to build the life they envision for their 90-year-old self.

The Big Party Exercise

Here’s a visioning exercise for self-reflection and getting clarity about personal values. For this exercise, clients should imagine a celebratory event that marks a significant life milestone, such as retirement or a milestone birthday. 

Then, they should write a third-person speech celebrating their achievements, including family, career, and personal growth. They should take into account key questions like who will attend the party, where it’s held, and what they’ve accomplished, and write it all down. Moreover, they should reflect on what others value about them, their proudest moments, future plans, what excites them, and how relationships fit into their life. 

Make sure to emphasize that they don’t need to stress about making the speech “good;” it only needs to come from their heart. This will create an image of who they want to be, what’s important to them, and what they want to accomplish in life.

Meet Your Future Self Exercise

Promoting self-love and working on yourself is important for achieving the “ideal life.” To help clients work toward becoming the person they want to be and accept themselves, you can use the Meet Your Future Self exercise. 

Guide clients through a creative visualization where they meet their future selves. Ask them to vividly imagine the person they strive to be, and describe everything that person has, from their life, relationships, day-to-day habits, career, and so on.

Magic Wand Exercise

In the Magic Wand Question visioning exercise, clients need to visualize the life they would have if they had a magic wand. Start with the immediate future. Ask them to envision the next 3 months and describe their goals, desires, and aspirations in detail. Then, extend the vision to the next 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and even 25 years. 

Explain the importance of dismissing limiting beliefs during this exercise, so they can free the mind to explore possibilities without any constraints. Invite them to dream big so they can truly discover the values, passions, and dreams that would fulfill them.

Step to It! Exercise

The Step to It! visioning exercise activates both the mind and the body. To prepare for it, arrange papers on the floor, each labeled with a different timeframe. Clients will step on each paper one by one, and as they do, they’ll imagine their future and answer questions about what they see, feel, and hear in that envisioned moment. You can document their responses and, based on them, outline the goals and actions clients need to take.

Visioning Exercise Templates and Toolkits

There’s a simpler option to guide these visioning exercises, and that’s using a ready-made vision exercise template or toolkit. We’ve found a couple of affordable and done-for-you worksheets and complete toolkits to help you conduct visioning exercises.

Conclusion

Visioning exercises do so much more than create an idea of the life you want to live. They inspire, motivate, clarify, and help you gain a deeper sense of self. You can also get creative and come up with your own life vision ideas. The possibilities are endless. 

However, if you want the simplest solution, that would be the downloadable sheets and toolkits, such as the Vision and Goal-Setting Toolkit, Rocking Chair and 2 Other Life Vision Exercises, Get Perspective Vision Worksheet, or 3-Month Vision Worksheet.

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