Visualize Your Fitness!

Life Balance

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Visualize Your Fitness!

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Think of a fitness goal you have -- finishing a marathon or climbing Mount Whitney or losing 50 pounds. What will the world look like through your eyes as you achieve it? How will you feel -- not just emotionally, but physically? Literally, what sensations will you feel as you cross the finish line, reach the summit, or fit back into a 32-inch waistband?

Visualize Your Fitness!I want you to experience the glow of that accomplishment in advance by visualizing it because I believe that the visualization will make you more likely to accomplish the goal. If you can imagine your desired state of being in detail, with real feeling behind it, you can put yourself in the state of mind you need to pursue the prize diligently, even when the road to get there is long and hard.

This kind of visualization is a technique used by top athletes as they pursue their dreams. Basketball great Magic Johnson, for example, used to visualize every playoff game before it happened: he would see himself hitting shots, making great passes, grabbing tough rebounds. That visualization was a key factor in his success as he led the Lakers to one championship after another.

Use All of Your Senses

My best writing teachers showed me how good writing appeals to all of a reader's senses. So if you're writing about the county fair, you don't just describe what the tents and the livestock and the blue ribbons look like, you also let your reader hear the bluegrass music, smell the hay, taste the roasted peanuts, and pat the wooly backs of the lambs.

Do the same thing as you imagine your athletic success. Even though we call it "visualization," don't be bound to the visual. Imagine you're going to run the New York Marathon: look at the trees in Central Park . . . hear the cheers of the crowd at the finish line . . . smell the clean sweat rolling off you . . . taste the cold water they hand you when you're done . . . feel them putting a blanket around your shoulders and patting you on the back . . . 

How does that feel? What does it feel like to be light and springy, even after running so far? It's much better to focus on those sensations than on the hardships that inevitably go along with marathon training.

Put Yourself There, Over and Over

I'm not a believer in "The Secret" -- this idea that you literally steer the universe your way with your thoughts. But I DO know that you open yourself to possibilities -- or close them off -- based on how you think. I know this because I've seen many examples of people with similar resources confronted with similar challenges who reach very different results stemming from their mindsets.

So use the feelings described above to help you engrain a strong, positive mindset. Make it a habit by repeating these visualizations regularly -- every day, or even multiple times per day.

Scientific research into neuroplasticity shows that we can even rewire our brains over time by repeating certain kinds of thoughts. It's been shown, for instance, that Tibetan monks who meditate for thousands of hours over the years end up reshaping their brain structures. Within your own limits, you can use positive repetition to reshape your brain, too.

Meditate on Your Success in Fitness

Thinking of those monks, "meditation" is probably an even better word than "visualization." Don't worry about sitting on a mat or saying "Om," but do meditate on the fitness outcome you want. And it doesn't have to be something glamorous like running a marathon or winning an NBA championship. It could be as simple as running to catch the bus without losing your breath.

But whatever your goal is, dwell on it. See yourself doing it. Hear it, feel it, smell it, and taste it. Feel the emotions of satisfaction, pride, and triumph that go with it. Then do it again and again and again.

Do it enough and you make that vision your new standard of performance, one you'll pursue despite the hardships because it's wired right into your brain.

What new success will YOU meditate upon?


Tim Walker, Life Balance Guest Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services Tim Walker

Tim is a writer, marketer, and social media pro living in Austin. He joined CareOne's blogging team as a contributing writer for the Life Balance blog in 2009. As a blogger who has personally overcome debt challenges, he draws from his own experience to provide tips on living a balanced life and keeping fit. You can read more of his thoughts (on fitness and everything else) at his personal blog, What I've Learned So Far. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Tim on Twitter; @Twalk or follow us by clicking here!

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