Do you train yourself to reach your goals like preparing for an Olympic match? Aside from hiring top coaches and thousands of hours of repetition, you may have used an Olympic training technique before. It’s called visualization, and it’s a form of mental training common among the highest achievers.
Record-breaking swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky both prepare for big events with visualization, along with 70-90% of Olympic athletes. Phelps broke a world record and won the gold medal in the 200m butterfly at the 2008 Olympics as a result of his visualization practice. In that race, his goggles broke and blurred his vision for the last 75 meters – but since he had already played the scenario out in his mind, he was prepared to perform anyway. His coach, Bob Bowman, said:
He’s the best I’ve ever seen and maybe the best ever in terms of visualization. He will see it, exactly the perfect race. And he will see it like he’s sitting in the stands, and he’ll see it like he’s in the water. And then he will go through scenarios – what if things don’t go well? … So he has all of this in his database, so that when he swims the race he’s already programmed his nervous system to do one of those.
Similarly, Katie Ledecky said about her race preparation:
I have my goals and I visualize things to help me achieve those goals ... I know what my stroke should feel like at different parts of the race, and I can just kind of picture that in my mind.
Business stars like Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Blakely have credited their success in part to visualizing where they wanted to go as well. Oprah’s well-known story of rising to fame quickly through her role in The Color Purple sounds like a fairytale, but she claims it was all due to visualization.
The technique is fun, free, and can be done anywhere. To reach your goals with the help of visualization, you’ll want to follow a few simple steps.
1. What goals will you visualize?
First, decide on the goals and outcomes you’d like to experience in your life. What do they look like? Is there a feeling that arises when you imagine this particular success? Keep in mind that you don’t have to be too specific when visualizing success. Though athletes may have a very specific time they’d like to beat or pace they’d like to keep, working toward a goal in life is more variable than a race. You can imagine goals like a bigger audience, an increasing profits graph, or a fun destination without getting too specific on the details.
2. What images remind you of those goals?
Find images that represent each of your goals, especially images that make you feel optimistic or excited. Whether you physically print and paste them on a poster board, or create a virtual vision board, put them in a place where you will see them often. With Momentum Plus, you can upload a single photo or make a vision board background by uploading the image to your browser.
3. How will you visualize regularly?
Whether you close your eyes once a day and imagine your success, or look at images to inspire you, it’s important to practice visualization consistently to see its effects. Depending on your workflow, you could see a new browser tab up to 60 times per day. That’s plenty of vision board views to make a difference!
4. How will you follow through?
Vision boards and visualization are useful, proven tools to help you perform. But they do not replace hard work. Use your visualization to motivate and inspire you to take action, and you’ll see your visions come to reality.
We would love to see how you turn your Momentum Dash into your personal vision board. Send a screenshot of your vision board to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!