Effective Mental Training for Reaching New Heights

Photo by  Justin Luebke  on  Unsplash

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

No matter what you do in life, the thoughts that you put behind any activity has a significant effect on the outcome of your goals and dreams.  Whether you are pushing yourself to your limit in sport, working your ass off for that next promotion at work, or sitting on the couch watching the world go by, the success you will achieve is affected by your thoughts.

The brain is continually changing based on thoughts, feelings, and experiences that stimulate the development of new neuropathways. The brain doesn’t distinguish between positive and negative beliefs.  All thoughts cause the brain to grow and change.

Thoughts, good or bad, play vital roles in self-esteem, personal interactions, activity levels, and personal and professional development.  By believing something to be true, you reinforce the connections for those thoughts in the brain, hardwiring them into how you feel and live your life.

“I’m going to win that race because I’ve trained hard for it and I know I’m ready!”

“My boss is going to notice the extra effort I put into this presentation.”

“I don’t need to go to the gym.  I’m just going to sit here and do nothing.”

“If I cut back how much sugar and fat I eat, I will lose these last 5 pounds.”

In sport, athletes know the importance of visualization.  Part of their training is to picture themselves achieving success in their specific discipline.  By imagining how they will complete their event, how to push through when things get tough and how they will feel at the end, athletes begin to create the pathways before they event complete the physical activity.

The key to effective visualization is to create the most detailed, clear and vivid picture to focus on as possible.  The more vivid the visualization, the more likely, and quickly, you are to begin attracting the things that help you achieve what you want to get done. 

George St. Pierre: Canadian MMA Fighter and Former Middleweight Champion, UFC

Margo Hayes, a 19-year-old rock climber from Boulder, Colorado, uses visualization as part of her training.  While training to become the first woman to send La Rambla in Spain, Margo studied the route that would take her to the top. 

After a hard day of multiple attempts to send the route, Margo would return home and map out the pieces of the wall she had climbed that day.  This paper map covered nearly the whole living room wall, from floor to ceiling, as she added each section over the course of months.

She would then sit on the floor, near the start of the map, and slowly imagine herself on La Rambla, moving her hands in the air, mocking the moves she needed to make as she mentally climbed the route.  She would complete this routine, multiple times that evening, only stopping when she felt that she had cemented the new series of moves firmly into her mind. 

The next day, with the visual map firmly in place in her brain, she would physically climb the route again.  Pushing through the cruxes and mentally recording the next section so she could return home that evening and do it all again.

On February 26, 2017, Margo became the first woman to send La Rambla with a climbing grade of 5.15a which is one of the hardest grades possible, as of this post.

Could Margo have completed the climb without her dedication to the visualization process?  She probably could have, but my guess is it would have taken her a lot longer to do so. 

Would she have been as prepared for the bumps and bruises, to her body and mind, along the way?  Perhaps but no one can deny that visualization played an essential role in helping her keep her attention on the route and more importantly, to keep her focus on her goal. 

Take a moment to consider how you use visualization in your life.  Do think about your goals and dreams frequently?  Do you have visual reminders around you to help keep your focus?  Do you use mediation to zone in on what you want to accomplish, how you are going to do it, and how you will feel when you reach the goal?

Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.

Oprah Winfrey: Talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist

Picture your life.  Feel, see, and breathe how you are going to achieve your dreams.  Take a moment to envision your dreams, goals, and desires.  Imagine how you are going to reach those dreams.  If you aren’t sure how to make it happen, don’t worry about the details.  Pretend that you DO know how to do it.  Visualize how AMAZING you are going to feel when you are successful. 

The power is within you, and you are the only person who can make it happen. Visualize it until you feel it deep in your bones.  Truly know that you are going to achieve your goals.  Hardwire your brain so there is nothing but the knowledge and understanding that you can, and will, accomplish everything you desire.