Magic is, according to a very popular definition, [affecting] change [in accordance with one's will] .
The first place many people start is inner change. That is, becoming a better person.
Meditation has proven benefits, as well as training one's mind for concentration.
Depending on someone's own personal beliefs, magic may include affecting change according to their will on their circumstances. That is, they believe in a subtle energy which can influence situations. Typically, however, this is not making money from nothing such as finding a bundle of cash on the sidewalk. More often than not, it is much more subtle.
But the more effective work is almost always in terms of personal change: success, confidence, courage, and other emotional effects.
As for the inner visualizations, that's an entirely different aspect which includes things from visualization exercises during meditation, to pathwalking and astral projection, and much more.
But yes: Before I forget, you're right. Magic is not like the movies or (fiction) books. In fact, it's often not like supposed non-fiction books, either. It's just very difficult to realistically portray magic.