Let’s take a closer look at the technique of visualization, a simple but extremely effective tool in the quest for better habits. Visualization happens before you lift a finger and is something that you can repeat ad nauseam to build a stronger yes response. Visualization, quite simply put, is detailed imagination. You use your mind’s eye to picture yourself executing whatever it is you’re planning to accomplish. Visualization helps you build a sense of awareness and expectation. It’s a mental rehearsal to understand the experience and associated emotions. And believe it or not, it works.
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00:46 Australian researcher Alan Richardson ran a trial on visualization on a group of basketball players. He divided them into three different groups and gave each a twenty-day assignment involving free throws.
03:13 Visualization is easy, but as with any process, it works best with guided steps. It is helpful to approach visualization as meditation—a quiet but concentrated immersion into your thoughts and imagination. One particularly effective technique involves five steps.
08:02 We call the previously described process “visualization,” but that phrasing isn’t entirely accurate, since most people associate visualization with seeing things with one’s eyes. A more exact term for this process might be multi-sensory imagination or mental rehearsal, because the full process draws from all of the senses we possess:
When you’re about to do something you’ve never done before, most of the anxiety and tension you feel happens before you actually start doing it. The nervousness you experience in a new endeavor usually comes up when you’re anticipating doing it. When you’re actually doing it, most of that anxiety goes away. Therefore, if the brain treats visualization the same way it treats real memories, you can trick your brain into building a belief in yourself. Sure, you might only be visualizing sky-diving, but if you do it thoroughly enough, your brain is going to understand that the fear that leads to a no response isn’t necessary or even helpful.
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