In a previous article, we discussed How Visualization Can Help You Reach Any Goal. Visualization, also known as mental rehearsal, mental imagery, is a personal development technique that can help people reach their goals. Studies have shown that imagery and mentally rehearsing successful milestones can materially help you achieve them. Professional athletes are most well-known for using this technique, but anyone can apply it to their personal and professional lives.
Just like an Olympic gymnast can visualize a perfectly executed floor routine, you can visualize a perfectly executed presentation or idea pitch or job interview. By using mental rehearsal, you can build confidence while improving your technique. But visualizing is more than thinking about something. Mental Rehearsal requires more steps and more detail than simple thoughts.
How to Visualize, Step by Step
Mental rehearsal takes discipline and practice. Though specific methods vary, there are proven steps to follow to get the most out of visualization. By practicing these steps daily, you can increase your chances of reaching your goal.
Step One: Go Somewhere Quiet and Private
Visualization requires focus. Find a quiet and private place where you will not be disturbed. If possible, use the same location every time you practice mental imagery. By using a familiar space, you can get in the zone more quickly every session.
Step Two: Clear Your Mind
Take long, slow breaths to help clear your mind. Push away worries and to-do lists. Get yourself in the zone to focus on the task at hand.
Step Three: Think of Your Goal
Close your eyes and think of the goal, mood, new behavior or skill you wish to acquire. Think of the steps required to complete that goal. Think of how you want to perform or act to accomplish your goal.
Step Four: Envision Yourself Completing the Goal
Now that you have your goal in mind, visualize yourself completing the goal by mentally going through the motions. Most people relate this step to a movie, but with two possible perspectives. Some people visualize the experience as if they are watching a movie of themselves, watching as a spectator. Others visualize it as if they are the actor playing the starring role within the movie, experiencing the movie from the inside out.
Discovering which perspective works best for you is a matter of trial and error. Just go with whichever one feels more natural to you. Sometimes both perspectives can be helpful and used interchangeably.
Step Five: Add as Much Detail as You Can
Employ all your senses. As you experience your movie, use your imagination to fill in as many details as possible. Add emotion, feeling, sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes. The more detail you can include, the better. Also use mental imagery to practice every movement, facial expression, confident voice, or any other physical factor that will help lead to success. Don’t forget the emotional aspects, either. Imagine yourself working through and controlling emotions.
Step Six: Practice
The more you practice mental rehearsals, the better you get. It is recommended you practice two times per day for about 10 minutes each session. With time, mental rehearsal may begin to feel like virtual reality. And you´ll discover that the mental rehearsal will eventually become more and more your reality.
Step Seven: Stay Positive
Mental Rehearsal is a strategy that trains your mind and body. Training takes time. Just like Olympic athletes, you must commit to a training schedule and stick with it. Over time, you will find yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally stronger.
Conclusion: Does Visualisation Actually Work?
As we learned in our previous article, visualisation has measurable physical effects on the body and mind. Combining mental rehearsal with real-world practice greatly increases your chance of reaching your goals. Mental imagery is a proven developmental tool every person should use to improve their personal and professional lives.