Bobby Jones, ‘founder of the Masters Golf Tournament said, “Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course – the distance between your ears”. One famous example of this is the American soldier Colonial George Hall, captured in the Vietnam war and held in solitary confinement in a prisoner of war camp for five years. He spent a portion of each day visualising playing a round of golf. He would play each shot and each hole in his mind. When he was finally released, he played a winning round despite not having held a golf club for several years.
Olympic gold gymnast Shannon Miller said “The physical aspect of the sport can only take you so far. What separates the gold medallist from the silver medallist is all the mental rehearsal that goes on off the track”.
The good news is that everyone can learn these mental techniques to help them improve anything from focus at work to achieving personal goals. The key to constructive self-talk is learning to control it. Self-talk is most effective when it is rehearsed again and again. The mind guide’s action. If we succeed in regulating our thoughts, then this will help our behaviour. Brazilian runner Joaquim Cruz said before any race, I picture myself winning 100 times. I never give myself the chance to picture myself losing.
How to start Visualisation
Great achievements take years of hard work and training and all that starts with a vision. If you have a goal you want to achieve, write it down and put it somewhere you can see it every day. Then plan how you are going to achieve it. If you are new to visualisation for achieving goals, start simple with these steps:
- Think of a still picture of your front door, perhaps images from a holiday.
- Think about what you had for lunch? Stay with the experience.
- Start in those familiar places and relive the experience. That is Visualisation!
Why is Visualisation important?
Simplistically ‘What you see I what you get’. The point is that when you work at visualising, seeing, imagining you living and having achieved a goal, and the more vivid your vision, the more likely you are to achieve your goal. The more likely to believe it is possible. Numerous research studies show that mental practising is as effective as practicing the real thing. Why? We now know that the subconscious cannot distinguish between mental rehearsal and real doing. The more you see yourself being at your goal the more likely you are to get there.
So let’s come back to reality!
Think of the healthier you. Create a story. Imagine you have achieved your goal. Imagine what you are wearing, imagine being at a venue, imagine the people around you. Even imagine what you think they might be saying about you. Imagine how you will be feeling. Evan imagine practicing how you will cope with an upcoming difficult situation.
If you are struggling with seeing you at your healthier weight, first imagine a photograph of being there. Practice bringing the photograph into your mind’s eye again and again. Next bring some moving images into the picture, maybe some sound, some colours, some smells. Develop your image in the way a film director might bring still images to life. Play your images regularly, perhaps every time you visit the bathroom. Become as familiar as you can with the future life you want.
What you see is what you get…
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