This is the second part of my Goal Achievers Series. If you missed the first part, click this link, Step 1: Write It Down. In this step we discuss visualization
Earlier we talked about setting SMART goals but, once their set, how do you go about achieving them?
Step 2 – Visualize the end result.
Before we can achieve a goal, we must have an idea of what it looks like. We must see it to believe it.
We often hear professional athletes describe how they use visualization to prepare themselves. Visualization is simply a technique for creating a mental picture of a future event. The same technique can help you achieve your goals. When we visualize our desired outcome, we begin to “see” the possibility of achieving it.
Visualization is a well-developed method of performance improvement supported by scientific evidence. Visualization improves performance by improving motivation, coordination, and concentration. It also reduces fear and anxiety and aids in relaxation.
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How does it work?
Visualization works because our brain interprets imagery the same as a real-life action. No matter who you are visualization can help you reach your goals.
There are two types of visualization that work best when they are used together. In Outcome Visualization, you visualize yourself completing your goal. In contrast, Process Visualization involves mentally rehearsing the steps you will take to achieve the goal.
If your goal was to complete your first 5K, you would visualize yourself crossing the finish line of the race.
Another outcome visualization would be to see yourself walking across the stage to receive your diploma dressed in your cap and gown if your goal was to get your college degree.
A third example would be to see yourself in your new lean body if losing weight were your goal.
Let’s look at each of the goals we discussed in outcome visualization a little closer.
In our first example, our goal was to complete our first 5K. most of us can’t just go run a 5K tomorrow without any preparation. In order to do this, we have to prepare. We might visualize ourselves running daily and reaching greater and greater distances. It also might include seeing yourself running each section of the race you’ve chosen with good form.
For the goal of finishing our college degree, our visualizations might include studying on a regular basis. They could also include seeing our grade report from each semester showing us passing all of the necessary classes.
Finally, for our weight loss example, we could include seeing yourself eating healthy, doing regular exercises, and seeing the lower numbers on the scale.
For each of the SMART goals you created in Step 1, write down what you can visualize for both the outcome and process. Be as specific as possible, creating an elaborate mental image. If you’re at all artistic, actually drawing your examples will increase your success. In addition, write down a few affirmations, sentences or phrases that reinforce your visual image (I am a capable runner, I am smart and work very hard. I have control over my body). Post these affirmations in places like your bathroom mirror where you will see them every day.
Taking the time to visualize our goals helps our mind and body participate in the accomplishment of those goals. What types of visualizations did you come up with for your goals? Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to know how you’re doing.