Visualization, or imagery, whichever word you prefer to use, is an excellent tool for accomplishing any goal.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:
- Do create an image in your mind as vividly as possible of what you want to achieve in your sport, in your health, or in your life. Just let distracting thoughts and feelings float away as you refocus on your image.
- Do bring in all five of your senses so you can see, hear, and feel what it’s like to have already obtained your desired result. Sight, hearing, and touch are the most powerful senses for incorporating day-to-day imagery into your life. Bring the scene into the present tense so you are totally focused on the task at hand.
- Don’t just visualize the end result; focus on seeing the process. Focus on what it takes to get there. In a sport for instance, that would be your form, your breathing, your pacing, your confidence.
- Mentally rehearse your actions at the same rhythm and pace that you want in actual execution to establish the appropriate neurological patterns within the brain.
- Don’t replay your mistakes. This is a challenge, I know. You want to remove the memory of errors. If you see yourself doing something incorrectly, edit the film in your mind and replay it exactly as you wish it to happen. Imagine that you’re performance is equal to or better than your previous best.
- Use visual models. Before going to sleep at night try watching a video of a superior performance (e.g. get out your recordings from the last Olympics). Then visualize yourself moving just as fluidly and powerfully as your visual models. I use this with my swimming and IT WORKS!
Give visualization a try. It’s a powerful tool to have in your self care, performance enhancing toolkit, no matter what goal you’re working towards.