If you think visualization is a lot of hooey, think again. Throughout the ages (dating all the way back to ancient China and the days of the Roman Empire), people have been using visualization to achieve their goals. In fact, you'll find many athletes have been using these techniques for years, leading them to achieve more than they ever thought possible.
Don't believe it? Read on to explore several lessons from the great athletes themselves.
It Starts in the Vision
MMA fighter James Te Huna said, "I visualize what I'm going to do on that day, walk out to the fight. I'll go over and over it inside my head so when I do actually do it, I've been there 100 times before, so it's nothing new." By having a clear goal from the start, you've already won half the battle. What's your goal?
Focus on the Success
You're never going to make the goal perfectly. Visualization can start hurting you if you get super-specific on what you want. For example, picturing the perfect shot in a soccer game might leave you so hung up on doing it a certain way, you'll miss a better shot you're already set up for. Instead, focus on the outcome when it comes to things involving factors out of your control.
Focus on an Image
On the other hand, it's good to focus on hard on things you can control. A study done on professional basketball players asked one simple question: Do they visualize themselves making a basket before shooting the ball. The answer was astonishing. Those who visualized the shot, made it about 67% of the time. Those who didn't? 54%. By picturing your outcome in your mind, you are that much more likely to make it.
Do it Often
Professional soccer player, Alex Morgan, had this to say: "Pregame, I eat pancakes for a meal. I always do mental visualization before the game to prepare myself." She's made visualization part of her routine. So should you. By repeating the visualization, you're much more likely to attain the success you desire.
Don't Forget the Work
Don't rely entirely on the visualization to get you through. These athletes still practice daily. You still have to put the work in, no matter what it is that you want.
Success comes through many channels. Practice, self-talk…all of these things are important. But if you don't succeed first in your mind, you're never going to get anywhere. As every one of these athletes would tell you if they could, their most significant success started right here in visualization. The rest just followed naturally.