As someone who struggled with addiction in my mid-twenties, I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom and have to work my way back up. I finally reached a point where I knew I could not continue on as I had been. I was given a second chance at life and took full advantage.

I envision everything I want in life and that visualization helps bring my goals to fruition. Slowing it down (at least) three times a day and taking time to meditate and breathe allows me to be present and feel positivity.

Manifestation and visualization have allowed me to create a clean and productive life for myself, leading me to become a passionate and successful businessman. This has allowed me to give back with the ability to teach others the power of positive thinking.

Success starts with a goal

It’s good to want to improve your life, but the key to real growth is goal setting. Goals provide purpose and direction. Many people may have good intentions or loosely defined desires, but without a concrete, visualized goal in mind, it is nearly impossible to accomplish anything.

Without a goal, it is too easy to let other things inhibit your success: busyness, impatience, fear, negative social pressure and numerous other culprits can become roadblocks when there is no clear goal.

Each year, to help me stay focused and avoid those roadblocks, I write down 10 goals for myself. In the process, I also take an in-depth look at what it will take for me to reach them and consider the sacrifices I’ll have to make to get there. Understanding the path to the goal helps me make a realistic plan and visualize the steps I must take to get to where I want to be.

The power of visualization

After I’ve identified my goals and how I can achieve them, I take time to not only visualize the end objective but also the why behind it. This helps me better understand myself and my own motivations going forward.

I have been incredibly inspired by the book “The Power of Positive Thinking.” It has really helped me grasp the value of visualization and believing in myself in pursuit of my goals. Taking control of your thoughts and making positive attitude changes is the first step in shifting control in your life and breaking bad habits.

Helping others with manifestation

I have learned that one of the best things I can do with my success is to share it with others. When I visualize the person I want to be, I see myself giving to charity and helping underprivileged kids. Those goals require me to sacrifice both time and money, but they put me on a path to being the person I want to be and making a positive change in the world.

I speak about recovery in high school drug awareness initiatives, host an addiction recovery group and have acted as a guest lecturer at The Heroin Education Awareness Task Force Program. In my speeches, I teach others that they need to find something greater to believe in. Having faith in a greater design can be a huge step in getting out of a bad spiral when things start to feel helpless.

The best advice I have for anyone is to always strive to be positive and spend some time with gratitude. Being positive is the first step on the road to success. To achieve such a mindset, put effort into reading positive things and surrounding yourself with the people and activities that bring you happiness. By visualizing your goals and manifesting positivity, you can realign your life and find yourself capable of immense success.

Ryan Skinner is founder and owner of  Summit Financial Partners and author of  Taking Stock: Protect Your Wealth and Create Reliable Income for a Happy and Secure Retirement.