Creative Visualization encompasses 5 essential components: imagination, focus, belief, consciousness, and affirmation. Let's break each component down to define them.
Imagination is the most essential component and the one that you naturally always have on hand. With creative visualization, you begin with an idea and create a mental picture around it. This mental picture is created by drawing on past experiences, using small elements to create a new picture. Your imagination takes you beyond the limitations of your everyday mind to the place of new possibilities. Some people have difficulty with creating mental pictures but I believe they make it harder then it has to be and that creates a blockage, in a sense a negative affirmation that they cannot do something. If you are asked to close your eyes and visualize you are in a dense forest and to hear the sound of the birds, the rush of wind, the musky odor of the foliage and see the sunlight filtering down through the trees. Most people can do this even if they have never been to a forest by drawing mental pictures from the media, perhaps a movie to create a new scene. With a little work, it can be easily achieved.
You must relax into a quiet, meditative mind to cultivate focus. This creates the necessary state of mind in which you can begin to fill in the details of your vision. It also creates the all important intention that you will bring to your vision into focus. To develop your vision, you are giving it positive energy and this quiet meditative state serves to sharpen that focus.
Once your vision is created, you need to act as if what you envisioned has already happened. Don't just hope it will. You must believe it will happen with the conviction as if there is never any question or doubt. You take the belief that it will happen and you direct your meditative focus to expand the feeling of how possible what you envision is. You direct your focus to what it feels like to experience your vision as if it were already happening. How might you do this? Think of how it will feel when it happens, create those thoughts, ideas, actions and reactions.
Once you have begun the process of visioning and focusing on your goal, you continue to remain conscious. You continue to be aware of feelings, expectations and doubts that surface. You will keep clarifying your desire and intention through consciousness.
Affirmation is a vital technique in creative visualization. It is to declare positively or to make valid in affirming and continuing to support the original vision or intention. In a nutshell, it means to make firm. When you use the affirmation in creative visualization, you are making the image you have created firm with reinforcement. Shakti Gawain defined an affirmation as a "strong, positive statement that something is already done. It should be simple and short, but it can leave drastic results if used with the other techniques.