Goal Setting and Visualization by Stuart MacEwan
The two go hand in hand. Goal setting is important. Everyone knows about setting goals, but what most people miss out on is how important it is to visualize and how much harder it is to reach a goal without effective daily visualization. Allow me to explain.
When I meet a client for the first time they inevitably have a goal or even a few goals in mind. We talk for a while, sometimes discussing goals over the next several sessions until we are in agreement and are clear on what we are striving to achieve. Many times the goal(s) are broken down into smaller achievable steps that are used as progress milestones. It's very common to set a goal each week or a few weeks apart to help maintain a feeling of focus and achievement. When each goal is reached both the client and I feel empowered by our combined success which only makes us feel even more certain about our shared journey together.
Visualization is the daily active practice of using your inner mind to create the picture of your future success. It is incredibly powerful in allowing you to prepare yourself to focus properly. Since we are an exercise studio that focuses in changing lives through fitness, let’s use exercise visualization as our example. First, when getting up in the morning it would be effective to have a picture on your bathroom mirror of the perfect body or winning event you are working toward. Take 30 seconds while brushing your teeth to imagine what it will feel like to be in that body, to hit that finish line, to perform at that level. Then take another 30 seconds (still brushing, you DO take longer than 30 seconds to properly brush don’t you?) to imagine what you need to do today to take the next step in reaching your goal. You need to pack your gym bag, prepare your meals and ensure you have your workout scheduled. Be prepared by taking just a moment to think about actually taking these small steps to get set up for a successful workout.
Secondly, when driving to the gym you should take time to imagine your whole workout. Make a mental note of which exercises you want to do first and then progress through the rest of the workout making a exercise strategy. Each exercise should be chosen specifically to make that day effective. This will help you stay focused during your workout and prevent a “going through the motions, or winging it” workout.
Lastly, imagine each exercise for a moment. Feel the bar in your hands or on your back. Imagine the strain of your body lowering and then raising the weight. Picture yourself struggling to complete the movement but then succeeding. This mental preparation is key to unlocking your true physical potential and maximizing the effectiveness of each individual exercise day. With this kind of pre-workout mental exercise, there are no wasted exercise days and each day serves as a purposeful step towards reaching your goal.
This month, start making a daily practice of assessing a goal, breaking it down to achievable steps and the pairing it with the daily practice of visualizing your success. Watch as your goals become reality because you saw it happening first and then made it happen!