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Coach Melissa  McGinness by Melissa McGinness
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Visualization is a technique that has been used by successful athletes, actors, politicians, and businessmen for decades, and offers startling results. Visualization ties your imagination to reality. Research coming out of Oxford and Cambridge suggests that your ability to vividly imagine details about a bright future dramatically increases your ability to create this future. When you can imagine your future in your mind’s eye exactly the way you want it to look like, it can orient itself in the direction of what you envision.

Visualization is nothing more than using your imagination. Inside your mind you are creating a picture or a little film of yourself in a place you want to be, doing what you want to do, having what you want to have. A visualization is normally quite pleasant. You can actually make the object of your visualization seem very real. You can almost see, hear, smell, touch or taste it. The more vivid your visualization, the more real it feels, the more likely it will be to impact your behavior.

It goes back to knowing what you want out of life. One of the most important skills we have to develop is our ability to imagine. Imagination enables you to visualize what you want for your future, this is a key component of having a life you created and a life of fulfillment. When the power of visualization is fully understood and applied, it amplifies your ability to build clear images of the life you want to live in your mind.

Achieving your dreams depends on the emotions you feel, as those emotions carry energy and that energy drives your actions. The clearer the vision the more powerful it’s result, and the more powerful the emotions the stronger the drive for action becomes.
Begin visualizing after shifting our minds into a relaxed state. During the section ‘Be conscious of Your Consciousness,” we took ourselves through an exercise repeating the phrase. “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” This is the perfect warm up exercise for a visualization. After you finish repeating the phrase around 20 times, allow your mind to settle, and then begin visualizing your future.
Determine what you want to visualize. Meeting the love of your life. Buying your dream home. Winning a big account. Writing your first book. Take a deep breath, relax and concentrate inward. Once you feel your mind turning from without to within, spend several minutes running a vivid film of your imagined reality before your eyes. Feel the visualization as if it’s happening all around you in real time. Don’t let it end until you are ready. Keep your mind focused. Add emotion. Each time you repeat this exercise, deeped the imagine becoming clear on your desired outcome. A visualization paths the way for your goals. Visualization pours energy into our goals.

But this is crucial: You will not experience results unless you imprint the visualization over and over into your mind. It may take months of rewinding and repeating that same little movie in your head to evoke the desired effect. Think of it this way, by the time your visualization becomes reality you will not be surprised. It will feel as if you expected it, as if you’ve already achieved the reality. And be prepared. Visualization is training for your mind the same way that practicing game mechanics is training for your body. Good players will train their skills; great players will also train their minds.

Practiced sporadically, visualizations can be a pleasant diversion, like daydreaming. But when practiced vividly and practiced daily without exception, it acts as a powerful tool, drawing you toward the achievement of any goal. Repetition is the key.

There are two main types of visualization in performance psychology: outcome visualization and process visualization. Outcome visualization is when you imagine your end goal. For example, you see yourself holding a trophy after a tournament and celebrating. Process visualization is when you imagine each step it will take to get to your end goal. For example, you outline your practice and training habits and visualize performing these habits to the best of your ability..
You’re training your mind through the power of visualization. Similar to physical activity training and repetition will lead to improvements; the major benefit of visualization is personal improvement towards your end goals. However, there are many other benefits of appropriate visualization.

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