So, ready to change your self-image? Let’s stay with the example of changing our physical body for the better. The absolute first step in moving toward a goal is DECIDING exactly where you want to go. Remember, BE SPECIFIC. The more specific you are, the faster you will move in that direction. Let’s begin with a 10-pound weight loss. If you need to lose more, that’s fine. Don’t worry about that now. Set your goal for 10 pounds lost. Keep in mind, if you start an exercise program and you have not been training, you will probably add some muscle while losing bodyfat. This might throw your actual weight loss off a bit, so in addition to the scale judge your progress with a mirror and how your clothes feel. If you lose two pounds of bodyfat, and gain two pounds of muscle, the scale will be the same. Don’t get discouraged! You will look four pounds better!
If you haven’t practiced visualization before, have no fear. It’s very easy once you get the hang of it.
First, go to a quiet place in your home, preferably a location where you can lie down and stretch out. Ask family members to not disturb you during this time. YOUR time. Get comfortable, but not sleepy. Lay back and close your eyes. Relax. Start with your toes, and feel them get heavy. Almost like they are made of concrete. Then move to your feet, calves, thighs, abdomen and so on. Spend a little time with each area, and feel each bodypart get heavy, almost like sinking into the bed or couch.
When your entire body is relaxed, picture your body in your mind the way you WANT it to look. Spend a little time with that image. For example, in your mind, look down at your arms. Do they look different now that you are 10 pounds lighter? Does your watch fit a little different now? Notice that, and smile. Move your wrist back and forth a bit in your imagination, and notice how loose your watch is. Now imagine you are looking in the mirror at your body now that it is 10 pounds lighter. How does it look? Take some time and get this mental image in your mind. Now, picture yourself dressed up and out with some close friends. Hear them compliment you, telling you how fantastic you look. Next, really kick this into high gear and get all five senses involved. What do your surroundings smell like? Are you eating a nutritious, healthy dinner? What does it taste like? How does the chair you are sitting in feel? Have some fun with this, and make all sensory experiences positive. Finally, once you have that vision, notice how you FEEL. Do you feel proud? Grateful? Happy? Bask in those feelings for a while.
Next, start to notice the activities that led you to this weight. Imagine the times you smiled and said no to unhealthy food, and really pay attention to the fact that it did not require any discipline to say no. That’s because you are now the type of person that avoids those foods. You are now the type of person who exercises on a regular basis, and it’s not something you dread, rather you really enjoy it. You are now the type of person who makes healthy choices, who educates themselves on nutrition and working out. All the while keeping in mind that there is no self discipline involved, because you are now the type of person that just does those activities. You enjoy them, you get a sense of self satisfaction at the end of the day when you review your day.
After you have visualized for 10-15 minutes, slowly start becoming more aware of your surroundings and open your eyes. I always set a timer for visualization practice, because time can get a little lost when you are in that state. Take a couple of minutes and stretch out before getting back to your world.
This would be a great time to set some expectations. Like all things, visualization works, but only if you do. Set time aside twice a day to do this, once in the morning and once in the evening. Try for 15 minutes if possible, shorten if you have to, just don’t skip it. This process really starts flying after 21 days, so keep at it!
In the next post, we will wrap things up with some do’s and dont’s, and give you some resources should you decide to further your education on visualization. I know you’ll want to!