Visualization Can Make a Big Difference by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
There are many techniques you can use to increase your chances of meeting your goals and being successful in your endeavors. Things like organization, keeping a calendar and learning to prioritize are all important skills when it comes to making the most of your time to ensure you complete the activities that will make you successful. But, there is one activity that you might be neglecting that could have a powerful effect on achieving your goals. This activity is visualization.
Simply put, visualization involves imagining yourself achieving your goal. Imagine how you will feel, look, or what specific qualities will exist when you have reached the goal you’ve set. For example, if your goal is losing weight, you might visualize yourself in the perfect outfit at the perfect size, or imagine yourself being able to run a mile, or reach the finish line of a marathon. If business success is your goal, you might imagine winning a business award, reaching a certain revenue, or having an office full of employees. Seeing yourself having what you desire can help you achieve it.
Your brain has the capacity to grow and develop. When you learn something, you change your brain. This is something you likely already know. What you may not know, however, is that your brain, as powerful as it is, cannot distinguish between actually experiencing something and imagining it.
According to a research paper by the Coaching Academy on neuroscience and visualization, “if you exercise an idea over and over (in your mind) your brain will begin to respond as though the idea was a real object in the world”.* As your brain visualizes the achievement of something, it is training itself for the actual achievement. The longer you do it, the easier it is to visualize, and the more likely you are to take the other steps needed to make the goal happen. And, there’s other science to suggest that the mere act of visualization actually moves you toward your goal.
A study at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio compared people who worked out at a gym with people who had virtual workouts in their minds. They found that those who actually worked out showed a 30% increase in muscle strength, as might be expected. However, those who engaged only in regular virtual workouts showed a muscle strength increase of 13.5%.*
So, as you’re making your list of tasks for reaching your goals; don’t forget to include visualization of yourself achieving that goal in your daily routine. It just might help you get there faster and easier.