The Power of Visualization in the 60 Day Challenge
As part of the 60-day challenge, I have incorporated a powerful technique called visualization. The pro athletes do it all the time because they know it works! But why does it work? What’s the science behind visualization that keeps folks coming back and how can we apply it to both our fitness goals and for that matter, everything in our life?
Here’s the science. Studies have shown that the brain cannot differentiate between visualized memories and things that actually happen. Each time we visualize our success, the brain is creating new neural pathways that say we can do this thing we are visualizing. There have even been documented cases of building muscle, just through mental training activities. A study performed by Olympic athletes showed that 25% physical training and 75% mental training had a much stronger performance than physical training or other combinations, showing the link between visualization and performance.
Metaphysicians would agree with all of this wholeheartedly. Re-programming neural pathways is a huge benefit to visualization. However, they would say it’s more than just brain pathway creation. By mentally and emotionally engaging with these visualizations, we are also telling the Universe what we want. We are triggering the Law of Attraction. That is why it is incredibly important to only have positive emotions and positive images when doing visualization. What we think about and focus on comes back to us, good or bad.
So how does visualization work? Personally, I like to start with a Vision Board around my goal. I use a Feng Shui version I learned from Sherry Davenport (highly recommend her classes). It has nine different sections to ensure harmony between different aspects of our lives, even though the board may only be around one topic. I created the Vision Board pictured above for the 60 Day Challenge. I intentionally left extra space because I want “room to breathe” in the process, and to allow for additional things I may want to add later. The important thing about a vision board is that it reflects what you desire as if it has already happened. It should also all be in a positive form. The Universe does not understand the word “No” or “Not” or “Don’t.” So whatever we think about and focus on is what we get.
Consider this statement: “I have a fit and healthy body” (present tense is important). Now compare it to “I want to lose weight.” On the second statement, we are telling the Universe we have a problem; a gap. Because we are focused on that problem (versus the outcome we want – a healthy body), the Universe just gives us more of the problem since that is where our focus and emotion sits. Vision Boards, Affirmations, and Positive Visualization activities all tell the Universe our desired state instead of re-enforcing that we lack something, in this case, good health.
Once you have a vision board, put it somewhere you will see it regularly. I know folks who hang them across from the toilet in their bathroom to make sure they see it first thing in the morning. I have not gone that far, but I do have it on an easel in my house.
That said, a Vision Board is not required for good visualization activities. It just helps us to get clear on the goal and what we want to create.
For good visualization, you only need a few basic steps. (For more info, check out this article for some additional nuances to consider.)
1. Quiet your mind with some deep breaths. I like to close my eyes as well.
2. Picture yourself achieving your goal – it should be a very positive, rich experience.
a. What does it look like? Smell like? Sound like? Who is with you? Is there a specific place involved? What are you wearing? How are you interacting with others?
b. If the vision is black and white, try it in color to add more energy
c. If the vision is you observing yourself, try it as if seeing through your own eyes and actions (both are good, but association versus disassociation (observer) is stronger emotionally for some people)
3. Add or amp up the emotion – make sure to FEEL the positive emotions and especially the vibrations associated with this experience and outcome – that is where the power lies
4. If your mind wanders, or you create something you don’t like, don’t worry. Just take a few breaths and come back to the image or start again.
Visualizations can be a great addition to your workout and fitness routine! While I am on the elliptical trainer, if I am not saying an affirmation to get through the workout I will often visualize what I look like on the machine in perfect fitness and health.
Enjoy the experience and keep it positive! Feel free to comment or ask questions about my vision board!