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Visualize your success

Posted: July 31, 2008 8:35 p.m.
Updated: October 2, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 
Which of these statements is correct: “You have to believe it to achieve it” or “You have to see it to believe it”?

Actually that’s a trick question. Both are true to a certain degree. You have to believe something is possible in order to achieve it and you have to have some sort of vision to believe in. One of the predictors of successfully achieving a goal is the degree to which we can see it clearly and believe in our vision long enough to work through the inevitable obstacles we will face.

More than 100 years ago, the man in the moon was something people gazed at on a clear night. The idea of putting a man on the moon was ludicrous. Then came the Wright Brothers, Lindbergh, the pioneers of rocket science, and the space program. We are not sure who had the first vision of flying a man to the moon, but in 1961, President John Kennedy stated that vision as a challenge for our nation and in a little more than 8 years, after overcoming many obstacles, Apollo 11 touched down and Neil Armstrong took that step to the moon’s surface. What is your goal? Can you see it? If so, that will help you to achieve it.

You have the power
Almost everyone has the power to visualize. When you daydream, you visualize. Unfortunately we often visualize or imagine the things we don’t want. We worry about the worst possible outcome or what will happen if I screw up or how mad that person will be if I state my truth. Those visualizations are “away from” visualizations. They do not help you steer toward what you want.  Practice counteracting these pictures and thoughts with new ones — pictures and thoughts of what you are creating or moving toward. Thoughts about what you want instead of what you don’t.

The science of visualization

From scientific analysis of brain stimulation, we know that the mind does not distinguish between something experienced and something vividly imagined or felt internally.  Because of this, visualization works to train the mind and body to believe you have already done the thing you visualize, perhaps many times over. Visualization is a time-honored technique that every world-class athlete and performer utilizes in some form to help them succeed. It has also been proven to aid in altering the course of diseases like cancer and AIDS, and can help speed the healing process. Anyone can use it for better results in their life.

How do I do it?
Visualization is simply creating a mental “picture” of what you want.  When you create your mental picture, make it a real as possible. Include all the senses.  Don’t worry if you are not a visual person. It is not critical to actually “see” pictures in your mind, if that is not how you work. Creating the feelings works just as well, or in many cases even better. So use whatever works best for you to evoke the feelings and emotions associated with the thing you are imagining. If you are working on improving your running, imagine your legs continuing to move easily as you move through all parts of the terrain, feel yourself breathing evenly and notice the oxygen supply to your muscles. Feel the breeze whiz by, and hear other runners giving you encouragement. Feel your elation as you cross the finish line, having run your best time ever. You get the idea.

To help yourself do this, ask yourself, if I achieved my goal:
n What would it look like?
n What would it sound like?
n What would it feel like?
n What would it taste like?
n What would it smell like?

Visualization ideas

There are many creative ways you can help yourself visualize more often. You can clip pictures out of magazines and create a collage to hang on your refrigerator or in your office. You can take time out for daydreaming, or you can write or sketch in a journal. Talking about what you are working on with others can also be a good way to visualize how something could be, especially if your friend is supportive and has a good imagination.  Visualization for success doesn’t have to take long, either. Do it when you are working out (or doing the activity you want to improve), not feeling well (“With each and every breath, I am getting better and better!”), or in the shower (a good time to picture how you want your day to go).

My vision in writing this article was to inspire you to try this tool to help yourself change, improve, or achieve something you want.

Karen Maleck-Whiteley is a Certified Hypnotherapist and owner of Balance Point Spa in Canyon Country. She is the SCV’s Live Well and Stress Less expert.

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