A Key To Achieving Your Goals
is an important
personal development tool - one that is key to achieving your goals!
Just as affirmations are beneficial for
motivation, focus and effective goal setting, so too is visualization
or mental imagery.
Although it has only become really popular as a personal development technique
since the late seventies and early eighties, we as humans have been
using mental imagery since the beginning of time.
Whenever we have an idea or notion to do something we
visualize it first. For instance, if we're hungry and want to eat we
picture different food possibilities; whether we want to cook a meal or
go out to eat, and whether or not we want company at our meal. When we
have a function to attend we picture what type of outfit to wear and
where we might shop for it.
What is Visualization?
It is the use of the imagination through pictures or mental imagery to
create visions of what we want in our lives and how to make them
happen. Along with focus and emotion it becomes a powerful, creative
tool that helps us achieve what we want in life.
Used correctly it can bring about self-improvement, maintain good
health, help you perform well in sports
, and accomplish your goals
In sports, mental imagery is often used by athletes to improve
their skills by picturing the achievement of a specific feat, such as
hitting or shooting a ball, skiing a hill, swimming or running a race,
among other things.
Using it as a technique invariably results in a much better
performance and outcome. This also holds true in business, or in life,
such as in delivering a speech, asking for a raise, or any other
situation that requires preparedness and forethought.
How does it work?
Visualization or mental imagery works because when you imagine
yourself performing perfectly and doing exactly what you want, you
physiologically create neural patterns in your brain, just as if you
had physically performed the action. The thought can stimulate the
nervous system in the same way as the actual event does.
Performing or rehearsing an event in the mind trains it and
creates the neural patterns to teach our muscles to do exactly what we
want them to do.
In the case of competitive sports, not only are exceptional
physical skills required, but so is a strong mental game. Most coaches
preach that sports are 90% mental and only 10% physical. That's why so
many athletes train in visualization or mental imagery along with their
To be effective, like any skill, mental imagery needs to be
practiced regularly. The four elements to mental imagery are
relaxation, realism, regularity and reinforcement.
When To Use Visualization
- For successful outcomes - See yourself
performing skills at a high level, achieving your goals, being who you
want to be and living the life you want.
- To motivate - Envision yourself
achieving your goals vividly to remind yourself of your objective and
what you need to do to reach it. Many athletes, actors, and singers
"see" and "feel" themselves performing a routine, program, or play
several times perfectly in their minds before they actually do it.
- To familiarize or set the stage for a
performance/event - Mental imagery can be used
effectively to familiarize yourself with the surroundings before an
event, such as a competition site, a racetrack, a stage or a difficult
play or routine prior to a competition.
- To do a run-through - Athletes and
performers often do a complete mental run through of the key elements
of their routines. This helps them to focus and eliminate some
pre-performance jitters, thus making them more comfortable when the
time comes to compete or perform. It also serves as a warm-up or mini
Visualization is a wonderful tool for preparing for anything, and
everything. It invariably results in a higher level of performance.
How to Visualize What you want:
- Go somewhere quiet and private where you won't be
disturbed. Close your eyes and think of the goal, mood, new behavior or
skill, you want to acquire.
- Take several deep breaths and relax.
- Visualize the object or situation you desire in your mind
as clearly and with as much detail as you can.
- Add emotion, feeling, and your senses to your vision.
- Practice it at least twice a day for about 10 minutes each
- Persevere until you succeed.
- Maintain positive thoughts and a good attitude throughout.
The Benefits of Visualization:
✔ Helps you focus better in order to achieve your goals
✔ Inspires and motivates
✔ Helps you improve in a sport or skill
✔ Can be used to rehearse and then acquire new, positive behaviors
✔ Can boost your mood
by using positive,
pleasant imagery to alter negative emotions
✔ Helps build self-confidence
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