They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, then is a video worth a thousand pictures?
Playing a video in your mind’s eye is a powerful way to help you achieve your goals. Olympic athletes and sports champions know a thing or two about the power of imagery.
Emily Cook is a three time Olympian and a six time National Champion in Aerial Skiing. (Here’s a video of what she does.)
She goes beyond simple visualizing and imagines everything she has to do to do her jump in vivid detail using all of her senses.
She goes through the motions from a first-person perspective – from stepping up to the gate, to hearing the crowds, feeling the wind on her neck. She feels her body and her muscles go through every movement of her aerial stunts before she even does it.
At the Sochi Olympics, the starting areas were full of elite athletes going through the motions. Emily talked with a reporter about the process: “it’s ridiculous”, she said.
“We’re all up there flapping our arms… It looks insane, but it works.”Emily Cook, US Freestyle Ski Team
SEOT is an acronym to help us get the most out of life. The S stands for strategies.
(It’s explained more in the goal setting slideshow)
SEOT Step to Success #13 is to VISUALIZE SUCCESS
By the time you reach the Olympics, you know exactly what you need to do to land the perfect jump. You’ve been competing for a while so, you can visualize every aspect of the actions you need to take.
But, in goal setting, we may not know which strategies and actions we need to do to get to the top of the mountain of success. There are lots of ways up the mountain – and we may not have discovered which strategies work best for us, yet.
But, no matter where we are in our journey, we can visualize what it will look like when we achieve our goal. And the more specific we can get about our goal, the better our chances of figuring out strategies to get our goal.
A lot of people say they want more money. A lot of students say they want better marks. A lot of us want to be happier and healthier.
But, what does that actually mean to you?
- What will it look like if you are making more money?
- What will it feel like if you’re getting better marks?
- What will it sound like if you’re happier?
- What will it taste like if you are healthier?
Take a moment right now to think about what you’re working towards. Spend a few moments imagining with all of your senses exactly what success might look like for you.
Be in that moment. Make the image crystal clear. What sounds can you hear? What can you feel – both physically on the outside, and emotionally on the inside? What can you taste? What does success smell like?
The more clear we can get about what we are after, the easier it will be to find strategies that get us there.
(Hey, teachers! Check out this growth mindset lesson package or this 2021 New Year’s Resolution lesson plan!)
Bonus video clip:
Source: NYTIMES, 2014 – Olympians use imagery as mental training
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