“If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney
Walt Disney was ahead of his time. Why? Because what he said so many years ago has now been proven in multiple studies. Yes, it is true, the mind is a powerful thing. What do you want to create for yourself? Like Norman Vincent Peale once said, "Change your thoughts and you change your world." Mental practices can enhance your motivation, increase confidence, improve performance and prime your brain for success. Here are a few interesting studies that prove just that.
One study examined the brain patterns of weightlifters. They found that the same brain patterns were activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds as well as when they only visualized lifting the same amount of weight. In some cases, research has revealed that mental practices are almost effective as true physical practice, and that doing both is more effective than either alone.
Visualization has become popular back in the 1970, when the Soviets used it to compete in sports. Fast forward to current day and we see many athletes using this same technique. Tiger Woods, for example has been employing this technique since he was a tween.
World Champion Golfer, Jack Nicklaus has said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head”.
Even heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, used different mental practices to enhance his performance in the ring such as: “affirmation; visualization; mental rehearsal; self-confirmation; and perhaps the most powerful epigram of personal worth ever uttered: “I am the greatest””.
But we aren’t Tiger Woods right? So, as you use visualization pay attention to any mental blocks that come up. Do you foresee any obstacles? What are they? How can you plan to overcome them? You can’t simply visualize something and expect it to happen. Remember, it takes two to tango, first use your brain to visualize what you wnat to achieve, then put your thoughts into action and put in the work, to make it happen.
To summarize, brain studies now reveal that our thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actual actions. Visualization and creating mental imagery impacts several of our cognitive processes in the brain: motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory. Therefore, the brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization. Use visualization in combination with laying out a plan of action to achieve real results!
How do you do it?
Create a specific goal and write it down where you can see it every day. My favorite is the bedroom or bathroom mirror.
Imagine yourself achieving the goal and see the goal being accomplished as if it were happening right now. See the scene in as much detail as possible and use your five sense to paint the picture.
As self-doubts come up, identify them and immediately put plans in place to overcome any obstacles. Listen to these, because they can be your greatest teachers to plan out your next steps to achieving your goals.
Practice this often and combine it with a positive affirmation that works for you (“I am successful”, “I am motivated”, “I am living my dream”, “I am beautiful”, “I am powerful”, “I am healthy”, “I am loving”, “I can do it!”,etc.)
You can do it! You are doing it! I am doing it!