You’ve probably heard about this study done at the University of Chicago before: three groups of basketball players were tested on shooting free throws. After their baseline test, they were given parameters on how they would prepare for the next test thirty days later. One group practiced shooting free throws for half an hour a day. The second group did nothing. The third group simply visualized themselves making the free throws. They were tested again and I think you have a good idea of what happened. The group that actually physically practiced improved by 24%. The group that simply visualized making the free throws improved by 23%!
Visualization is a powerful tool to increase your performance, not just from a fitness standpoint, but also in everyday life. Your brain, as smart as it is, doesn’t know the difference between imagery that’s out there versus imagery that’s in here. so to speak. If you’ve ever watched the movie “The Matrix”, you’ll understand how the concept works. Your brain will respond to imagery in the same way whether you are actually observing something in reality, or if you are simply imagining it.
Believe it or not, your thoughts have energy and putting those thoughts into action to work for you and not against you may be the difference between success and failure. The best part about visualization is that it does not cost you a thing. All you have to do is spend some time with yourself on that big comfy couch in the living room of your mind.
Here are FIVE steps to help you start your visualizing regiment:
– Sit or lie comfortably in a quiet room with no distractions and close your eyes.
– Start by thinking about something or someone you love or that makes you happy.
– Start thinking about the action that you want to improve and imagine you are watching a movie of you successfully performing that action. Replay it again and in slow motion.
– Use the other senses to help: the basketball players held their basketballs in their hands while visualizing.
– You can literally visualize for a few minutes a day, but after you finish, be sure not to lose the work done by falling into negative thought patterns