August came and went, and with it took the last lazy days of summer.
August also had us celebrating magnificent human feats of physical and mental strength. Yes, I’m talking about the Olympics! Call me a cheering, sentimental consumer of inspirational stories and tales of unthinkable feats - because I am - but I love the Olympics.
They’re a celebration of dedication and endurance, wrapped in a show of athleticism and physical achievements that are sometimes beyond our imagination. Scandals aside, of course.
What I also find interesting during the Olympics are the different mental tactics used by athletes in their training. Namely, I find visualization exercises to be fascinating. There are several studies out there about the importance of visualizing what you want in order to achieve it.
According to Psychology Today, "Brain studies now reveal that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions". In a way, it turns out the old adage “If you can see it, you can believe it” is not total hogwash. Entrepreneurs, athletes, and students alike are told to visualize the end goal, whether it's a product, an action, or a result.
But it's not exactly an easy thing to do, and can be particularly hard if you're not visual by nature. So what's a person to do? Luckily, I've visualized about this post and what I'll be doing beforehand, and here's what I recommend:
- Focus on one thing you want to achieve.
- Set aside ten minutes a day to think about how it feels to cross the finish line, whether you're building a product, finishing your degree, getting the promotion, and so on. Play it back like a movie in your mind.
- If you're having a hard time seeing what you want, try writing or drawing it out. Having a reference document or drawing to guide your mind back when your doubts creep in is a good way to focus.
You can do this during your morning commute, in class, or when you wake up. If you can manage to find some time and do your visualization exercise in a quiet room at home, you're more likely to experience the positive benefits of meditation in terms of stress reduction.
Any way you look at it, carving out some time for yourself to think about your dreams and aspirations will do you a world of good. Who knows, maybe you'll be the next Olympian to represent our country in Tokyo four years from now.
Oh, and one more thing: congrats to all of our Canadian athletes who did us proud!
I did visualize us coming home with gold, and we surely did :)