It's no secret that visualizing success can be key to accomplishing your goals this year. But where to start? Take these tips into 2020 to goal-set and goal-get as we enter a new decade.
"Mental imagery—the kind that involves imagining success—has long been employed by professional athletes to boost their strength, confidence, and results," writes Tori Rodriguez of Real Simple. Did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger imagined his biceps to be mountain peaks as he pumped iron? And that legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus practiced each shot in his mind before taking it?
Here’s how to put visualization to work
Maximize rest between reps and sets. Between sets of strength-training exercises, picture yourself doing additional repetitions of the move that you just completed. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that people who imagined doing leg presses between sets were able to lift more weight and do more repetitions than those who didn’t use imagery.
Imagine yourself at your full potential. A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine in 2011 found that people who saw themselves as the person they would like to become as a result of exercise burned more calories than did those who imagined themselves only working out or getting ready to do it.
Embrace sensory overload. “The most effective imagery involves all five senses,” says Michael Gervais, Ph.D., a performance psychologist in Los Angeles who has worked with numerous professional athletes and teams. Make the end result a reality by thinking about not only what it will look like, but how it will feel and the scents and sounds surrounding it.
Practice makes perfect. Wishful thinking and mental shortcuts won't get you to the same end result as practiced, thoughtful visualization. Envision every step of the process. "The imagery should be so detailed that it takes almost as long to execute in your mind as it would take in real life. Of course, if you’re getting ready for a marathon, you’ll probably want to work your way through just the tough spots," writes Rodriguez.
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