Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Resolutions to Results IV: Visualizing Success

Visualizing Success

The power of visualization was tested in the early 1980s by Russian Olympic karate competitors. The coaches broke their athletes into four groups and gave them varying amounts of mental training (visualization) and physical training (workouts), and found that the groups who visualized the perfect execution of their karate moves actually fared better during competition than those who practiced them in the gym!*

So this speaks pretty powerfully to the value of visualization.

Go back to the previous post and take a few minutes to look over the answers you wrote to the questions about what the benefits are for you in achieving your goal. And one by one, try those benefits on, like items from your closet. See how they fit. And if you happen to hear a little voice inside your head saying things like "you can't have that" or "don't be ridiculous," thank that little voice, and tell it to sit on a peg.

Remind yourself, as you put on these benefits, that this is just an exercise. It's just practice, to see if these things feel good enough to motivate you to achieve your goal. And when you've got all these winning elements in place, look at yourself in the mirror, a proud doer of what it is you want to do. Can you see yourself in a place of success?

Grab a piece of paper and make some notes about this. What does it feel like to achieve your goals? Use juicy details – look, listen, taste, and smell what it will be like to reach your goals. Bring colors, sounds, music, flavors, and textures into your vision. But most importantly, feel it! Create a vision that makes you feel motivated, passionate and enthusiastic, and then revisit that as many times a day as you can.

How long should you spend visualizing your own success? As long as you want to. I recognize that we're all busy people, so I suggest starting with thirty seconds to a minute. Do it just after you've parked your car, or for the first 30 seconds on the subway train. Do it while you climb the stairs to your bedroom, or as you pee. Attach your visualization to something you do every day -- that way you'll remember to do it every day!

In the few minutes right before you go to sleep or right before you get out of bed your brain is more receptive to the messages you send it. So why not take half a minute while laying in that comfortable position… warm and cozy… to think about what you want? See yourself getting it. And look, if it doesn't get you to your goal, it will make waking less of a drag!

I have a coworker who is overweight. And he's lost over 150 pounds already, just by changing his diet (not even exercising). And part of what keeps him motivated is that when he looks in the mirror, he sees himself "looking buff." He imagines himself in a swimsuit, on the beach, with his kids proud to be around such a good looking guy. And EVERY time he looks at himself in a full body mirror, he does this.

Because it works.

So try it. Commit to it for a week and just see what happens. If it doesn't work for you, then at least you can cross it off your list of things to try having given it your best shot.

* See Karate of Okinawa: Building Warrior Spirit with Gan*Soku*Tanden*Riki by Robert Scaglione and William Cummins for more details.

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