Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Visualization

Yesterday I posted on FaceBook the Words of Wisdom as being “If you can’t see yourself on top then you won’t get there.” What does this mean?

                I got this quote from the forever philosophical climbing partner of my friend Erik Weihenmayer. If you’ve read Erik’s book, or heard him talk, then you’ve heard him mention his friend Chris Morris. Chris and Erik were talking at Everest basecamp one day. Chris asked Erik if he thought he’d stand on top of Everest. And Erik said he wasn’t sure because they’d had such a difficult time so far. And Chris said, “Then you won’t.”

                We need to remember that if we want to get somewhere and to define our own success then we need to not just set a goal, but we need to see ourselves pushing along that path. We need to see ourselves accomplishing that goal. If we can’t see ourselves being successful then we won’t be.

                I often see this with clients in group exercise and spin. They’re all excited about the possibility of losing weight and getting in better shape. Then they jump on the bike or start an ab routine. Then suddenly they lose that vision. In my spin classes, especially, I try to paint a visual picture of the group riding along a road, up a hill, or sprinting down a highway. In my own personal workouts I take the visualization factor to the extreme.

                I love cycling. At one point I used to fanticize about competing in bicycle races. During the month of July, you can often find the Tour de France playing on our television. I watch and listen to the commentators talk about how hard it is to climb the Alps and Pyrenees. I read accounts of cyclists. Then, when it’s time for my workout, I put myself in that mindset. I visualize myself on the road in my cycling gear. I imagine my shoes clipped into the pedals turning between 90 and 100 RPMs. I feel the sweat rolling down my face and I see the black top of the road melting underneath the broiling sun. I feel the bite in my legs as the road begins to steepen. I see myself climbing up a mountainside on a bike. I feel the rush of adrenaline as my #1 adversary comes into view ahead of me. I feel that urge to get out of the saddle and push myself until my heart explodes out of my chest, until my legs burn and are so heavy it feels like I can’t turn the pedals anymore. And then I see my opponent slipping away and I feel the burst again.

                The funny thing is, I hardly ever get out on a road bike anymore. Most of the time I’m sitting on a stationary bike at our gym listening to music. My fiancée has been known to come up and tell me that the hour is almost up and I’ve nearly jumped out of my skin because I’m being jerked out of the zone.

                That’s what it takes. If you want to get to the top, then you have to see yourself getting there. You have to put yourself in the mindset you think you’d have when you reach your goal. You can’t just set a goal. You need to visualize yourself getting there. Immerse yourself in the mental game. Feel your heart pound, that sense of euphoria as you accomplish that goal. See the people around you. Hear what they’re going to say to you. Feel the pats on your back.

                We all have the ability to reach our goals. You have to have the vision and you have to experience it in 360 degrees. That’s what’s going to help you push yourself through the tough times. That’s what’s going to help you get through the monotony of doing the same or similar things over and over and over and over and over again.

                So give it a try. Pick a goal that you’ve set for yourself. Maybe you want to lose weight—a favorite goal for many during this “obesity epidemic.” Can you picture yourself having that sleak, toned, sexy body? Can you feel yourself move effortlessly up and down the stairs in your house? Can you hear your friends and family say “OMG! You’re looking amazing!”

                If you can then you’re well on your way to accomplishing your goal. You’ve still got some work to do. Nothing comes easily.

                So for now, just take a few minutes out of your day, sit back and visualize yourself reaching a goal. Get yourself pumped and fired up. Feel the energy course, hum and thrum  through your body. And when you can totally immerse yourself in that visual, let me know. Drop me a line on FaceBook or Tweet at me.


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Until next time.



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