Ever wonder how professional athletes get ready for their big day? Whether it’s a marathon, boxing match, or weight lifting competition, competitors find that using visualization can be extremely helpful in reaching their goals. I know coaches who work with athletes and have them envisioning crossing the finish line first or perhaps knocking out their opponent. Whatever goal it may be, in or out of the fitness realm, visualization is a wonderful tool!
When I did my first Figure competition, I envisioned myself making the “top 5”. It worked as I came in 4th place. By the time I did my second competition, I was visualizing first place and it happened! Visualization can be a very powerful tool!
Whatever your goals are, visualization can be very helpful in attaining them. Here are some examples on how using visualization can work for you.
Example 1: You are running your first marathon. After you make the commitment to run the race, write your commitment on paper. Once this is completed, set small goals for yourself to accomplish each week (i.e. I will run “x” amount of miles this week at “x” amount of time for each mile I run.” After you have written your goals down, take a few minutes to visualize yourself accomplishing these goals. Once you’ve gone through it in your mind, it will be easier to do the physical portion of it.
Example 2: I want to start eating a healthy diet. First think about the reason(s) you want to change your diet and write it (them) down on paper. Secondly, commit to a particular goal each week and write that down as well. Once you are clear on the reasons you want to eat healthy and have your goals in place, start to visualize what your life will look like once you clean up your diet (i.e. let’s say week 1 you commit to cleaning out all junk food in the house. Sit quietly and visualize going through all your cupboards and the refrigerator and tossing everything into the garbage (or giving it away.) Write down how you feel after envisioning yourself performing the task. If you get a positive feeling, you know you are ready to tackle it for real!
Example 3. I want to sign up for a class at the gym but I feel uncomfortable. It’s totally understandable to have some fear around joining a new class at the gym. Will I make a fool of myself, are the steps going to be hard to learn, will I be able to do it? These are just some of the questions that may be rolling around in your mind. My first suggestion would be to watch the class a few times. Then, visualize yourself walking into the room and selecting a certain spot. From there, you can visualize the basics of the class (how the teacher starts the class, certain steps she does, and maybe how she ends the class). Once you have that picture in your head, picture yourself moving through the class with grace and ease!
The more you can visualize yourself being successful when you are setting goals for yourself, the easier it will be to attain them! Don’t let fear stand in your way. Visualize some big goals for yourself and reach for the stars with confidence!