Visualization: See Your Way to Your Goals

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When I began my journey 4 years ago, I never thought too much about how long it was going to take to get to my goal. In the past whenever I gave myself a specific time frame to reach my weight loss goal, when the time drew nearer and I wasn’t remotely close, I felt discouraged and more importantly like a failure. Trust me, more times then not, it was only a matter of time before I was back to square one.

I believed that as long as I changed my eating habits and added in some good pockets of exercise the changes would happen. Which they did, but I had to realize I needed to keep my eye on the bigger picture and that was to totally change my lifestyle. This is where working on the mental side of my journey by developing techniques such as positive self-talk and visualization allowed me to achieve my goals.

My introduction to the technique of visualization actually began as a homework assignment from my running coach last summer. Every night before going to sleep he asked us to take 5-10 minutes visualizing our runs for the day. We were to visualize our form, speed, breathing, the wind against our face, the smells, etc. You should have seen the looks Coach Lee got for his class. But as a former NCAA swimmer, he had been taught this technique while competing and touted it as a way we could all improve without running another step.

In my haste, I came home and googled this technique and WOW, visualization (see page 3) is something that many athletes of all fitness levels use. In fact I picked up on this when watching the 2008 Olympics. I noticed the divers walking through their routines on the pool deck while the gymnasts did the same on the gym floor. It’s as if they were in a world all their own.

Visualization, often referred to as mental imagery, is so powerful that it can truly catapult us to our goals faster than almost any other technique. And don’t think this is just for athletes. Everyone can benefit from this technique. When you visualize yourself eating healthy, you will eat healthy. Visualize yourself making it through your workout; you will make it through your workout. Visualize yourself being successful and you will be successful.

The irony is the brain essentially produces the same chemicals during visualization that it does doing the actual task at hand. Psychologists have shown that when we incorporate all five senses-hearing, taste, smell, touch, and seeing, into our visualization practice, our chance of success sky-rockets.

While this technique hasn’t turned me into an Olympic athlete, it has allowed me to conquer some of my fears while working on becoming a better runner. Just like positive self-talk can lead you well on your way to achieving your goals, the same is true with visualization.

Have you ever used the technique of visualization? Do you believe techniques such as visualization and positive self-talk are just as important as diet and exercise when embracing a healthy lifestyle?

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Comments

SHERYE 10/14/2019
Really good article Report
JOHNMARTINMILES 10/2/2019
Having goals promotes success Report
4DOGMOM1 6/29/2019
thanks Report
CATNAP629 6/23/2019
GOOD ARTICLE Report
SHOAPIE 5/30/2019
Thank you. Report
CATNAP629 5/29/2019
good article Report
SIMPLY_JAE 5/21/2019
Excellent article Report
LIDDY09 4/28/2019
Thanks Report
RYCGIRL 2/17/2019
thanks Report
HEALIN1 2/4/2019
something to think about, will try Report
RAZZOOZLE 1/17/2019
always a god read Report
EMGERBER 12/11/2018
I do visualization and I find it really does help. Report
DMEYER4 12/8/2018
thanks Report
DMEYER4 12/8/2018
thanks Report
PLATINUM755 12/5/2018
I've added pictures around my environment to the visualization process. Report
TWEETYKC00 11/29/2018
Great, thanks! Report
Envisioning the future helps bring it about. It is harder to hit a target if you do not see that target. Report
HEALIN1
Wow, this makes a lot of sense. Very thought provoking. Going to try this. Thanks for a great read. Report
thanks Report
I'm sure that visualization works, I just forget to do it all of the time. Report
Sometimes I use visualization but not nearly enough. Report
Thanks for sharing this information. Great article. Report
Absolutely! It works! Report
DMEYER4
good article Report
Visualization goes hand in hand with meditation with me Report
Thanks for the article. Report
thank you Report
I use this technique in lowering my glucose levels. It is so effective! Report
JWRFLINT
It' feels so good when you finish a goal and start a new goal, that in itself is a reward. Report
great article Report
Wow. Need to learn this. Report
CHRISTOPHER63
Good article Report
I use the visualization techniques everyday. Thanks for the article. Report
I visualize success! Report
Yes, I do believe they work, especially if you take the time to dominate the technique. Report
good article Report
PATRICIAANN46
I love this article. Report
great article Report
I definitely doing it! Report
Great article! Report
much easier now with internet and smart phones. but see, see, see...do, do, do. still have to make it a habit. Report
Visualization is a great tool, but I also need to log everything. In mine mind I should be further along, but when I average a week period I made great strides. Report
SPARKPEOPLE1951
I try to visualize but it just doesn't seem to happen. I have been trying to lose these last 15 pounds for years. It seems like the more I concentrate on foods and what I am going to eat, then I seem like I snack more. We walk and work outside in garden, when weather allows us to. I think I will try to concentrate more on lifting weights and yoga! Report
I use visuals all the time! Report
"In the past whenever I gave myself a specific time frame to reach my weight loss goal, when the time drew nearer and I wasn’t remotely close, I felt discouraged and more importantly like a failure."

This is me! I try to stop, but it's hard seeing little to no progress even though I'm trying my best. I can't get the deadlines out of my head. Report
The Gabriel Method is all about relaxation and visualization. A great technique to help us! Report
I have always had a hard time "visualizing" anything.. hubby is great at this.. he can walk into a "fixer upper" and see the rooms exactly as he wants them.. I see a yucky room with peeling wall paper.. and I am the optimist of the two of us..LOL
I can however, be inspired by reading inspirational stories and quotes..so that is how I stay motivated.
I did make my collage so that does help, cause I just can't see things in my head, but I can see what I want to be with picutures and words.
Report
I haven't really used it too much in my exercise, but ever since my 11 year old son was born, I have always had him visualize making himself better if he wasn't feeling good. It has always worked! Report
TALKTOBRAIN
I have heard of it and have heard that it works. I am having a hard time concentrating. Any suggestions on how to create a vision of something you have not experienced. I am not being funny. I want to "see" as a healthy, fit person. Report
Yes I believe this works. I read a book in 1980's called "Creative Visualization'. I don't remember who wrote it but it was very good. As an RN I use visualization in my careplans as a tool to decrease stress, anxiety & pain. Report