Visualization is a powerful tool. When used to enhance physical performance, help manifest something in your future, or recover from injury, visualization is incredibly useful. Our brain doesn’t know the difference between thought and action. Studies have shown that the brain of an athlete lights up the same when performing a skill or imagining it. Not only does visualization stimulate and wire the brain, it also sends blood flow to areas of the body being used in the visualization. On a personal note, in high school my volleyball coach had us do guided visualization tapes (yes, I said tapes) about twice a month. I found them very helpful and saw my game performance improve.
In the context of life we spend such a great deal of time thinking about all the things we have to do. We do it every day and with every topic of life. I spend a great deal of time coaching people to “let go” of things they are really not going to deal with in the immediate future. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean that something is not important, it means it is not important enough to address right now. When you're finally ready to make the change stop thinking about it and take immediate action.
In a previous post Don’t Mistake Preparation for Action I reminded everyone of the difference between Contemplation, Preparation and Action. We often get stuck in preparation, which contains some action-oriented steps but don’t get much further.
The problem with getting stuck in the visualization spectrum of Contemplation and Preparation is that constantly thinking about something without action is exhausting and it makes your brain believe that you are actually taking action to do it. You end up spending a lot of mental and emotional energy thinking, but are then frustrated and tired because you aren't making the advances that you want with the things that you didn't do. With enough ongoing, repetitive internal dialogue it becomes a reel that plays in a loop, and may even become a part of who you are depending on the topic. “I need to lose weight,” “I’ll look for a new job soon,” “I should organize the room,” and so on. My best advice, think about it, honor it, and put it on the long list. When you are really ready, schedule it as a Top 3 task on the things you need to do list and get it done. If it is an ongoing subject then keep it on that short list as long as you are truly sustaining the endeavor.