Visualization for Reaching Goals

August 22nd, 2014 at 5:05 am
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Food & Fitness Fridays at Daily Bites

Welcome to Food & Fitness Friday!

I’ve been on my 14 Day Wellness Jumpstart plan now for 1 week, and I’m feeling great. Keep on reading for the full update on how things have gone. A little later I’m going to talk about visualization for health/weight goals. It’s something new to me so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it and get your take, too.

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Recap
This week went well. I spent last weekend at my parents’ home in northern Wisconsin, which was incredibly refreshing and fun. I am eager to go back again soon! I didn’t encounter any major stumbling blocks this week, other than a few cravings for fruit now and then. A juicy peach sounded really good some days. :)

Lake Michigan

I took the photo above of Lake Michigan just a few miles from my mom and dad’s home. It was chilly up there, but on Sunday afternoon I bundled up and strolled around the marina just to relax and enjoy the smell of the water, the sounds of the gulls, and the peace that nature brings. Sometimes living in an apartment feels like living in a box to me, so getting out to “stretch my legs” was so refreshing.

Weight
I can tell that I’ve lost weight simply by how I feel. I have some traveling coming up, which throws a wrench in my regular eating and exercise. But I’m planning to give you a cold hard numbers update in a few weeks once my travels settle down. Stay tuned! I really enjoy only weighing myself every few weeks, as I think that’s the most accurate way to measure progress. Weight can really fluctuate day to day…and even week to week for us gals. :)

Digestion/Bloating
Within just a few days of following my new plan, I could feel an improvement in my digestion and noticed much less bloating. Sad as it is to say, I’m pretty sure that fruit is the culprit. No matter how careful I am with fruit—controlling portions, eating it with fat, eating it alone, etc. etc. etc.—it just doesn’t agree with me very well. I’m glad to have pinpointed it as an issue, but I do miss it.

My plan for now is to stick with non-sweet fruits like cucumbers and avocados (which I tolerate very well), and keep berries and sliced pears in the freezer for the occasional treat.

Exercise
I mentioned last week that I would be keeping an exercise journal, which I did up until Wednesday. On Thursday morning I looked high and low for my scrap of paper and could not find it. This is so unlike me—I’m one of the most organized people I know! But I’m pretty sure it ended up in the trash somehow. Sorry, guys!

To give you the gist of my exercise routine, here’s a quick recap:

  • I think I did about 3 high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts this past week. My HIIT workouts are short (12-18 minutes) but move right along. They usually consist of a blend of cardio and strength exercises. For example, I commonly do a circuit of 4 different exercises of 50 seconds work, 30 seconds rest that I repeat 3 times for a total of 12 minutes. (Example: Jump squats, push-ups, high knees, plank jacks…repeated 3x thru.)
  • I walked most mornings for 30-60 minutes. It was great to walk with my mom and dad for some of those! I also incorporated afternoon walks when I could, but I did not get them in every day as I had originally intended.
  • I didn’t do any “real” yoga this week. A little stretching on my own here and there was about it. I’m hoping to get back on the mat regularly this week!

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Goals for the Upcoming Week

Mostly I just want to keep on the same track I’m on right now. If I can get in a couple of yoga sessions, that would be great. I also haven’t been the most diligent about my water. I’ve been getting in about 8 cups most days, but I’d like that to be closer to 10.

Now onto some visualization chit-chat…

Vision Board

I first heard the term “visualization” on Oprah’s show years ago. At the time, the whole concept of visualizing your goals and essentially playing mental make-believe with yourself was a crazy one that was considered kind of New Age and “woo-woo” in many circles. As it has gained in popularity in recent years, visualization is now used by everyone from business executives to elite athletes.

Visualization is pretty much what it sounds like: closing your eyes and visualizing what it will be like to achieve your goal. Through creating a clear mental picture of that goal being reached, the mind becomes more and more conditioned to the idea of achieving that goal, so much so that it almost becomes second nature to think of yourself as a success before you’ve even succeeded.

I’ve been experimenting with visualization these past few weeks, and I do believe that it’s helping me. I consider my approach to visualization what I call “rooted visualization,” meaning that while I’m visualizing outcomes that I want in my life, I’m still staying very rooted in my faith and connection to God. I actually view my times of visualization as more meditative and worshipful—acknowledging God as the Giver of all good things and the Director of my life—than some get-what-I-want-fast fix.

So what are the How-To steps for visualization? I honestly have no idea! I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way, but maybe there is. I’m the farthest thing from an expert on this topic…so take what I say here with a grain of salt.

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Here’s what I do:

  • I set aside 5 minutes to visualize twice a day, preferably once at the very beginning of the day and once at the very end. Sometimes I’ll also do a little session after lunch, too.
  • I perform my visualization in a relaxed state. In other words, I don’t do it when I’m stressed out and frazzled! If I need to get calm, I’ll take some long, deep breaths for a minute first.
  • I close my eyes and start out by expressing gratitude for the many gifts, blessings, and opportunities in my life.
  • From that place of praise and thanksgiving, I then move on to visualizing my desired goal. It’s not hard. I simply create an image in my head of what my desired outcome looks like. I also engage my other senses. At that place where my goal is reached, what do I smell? Hear? Feel on my skin? Taste?
  • In order to get a clear picture, you’ll need to make sure your goal is quite specific. Example: “I will complete the speech at next month’s conference with confidence and clarity.” What will it feel like—in that clear and confident place—to achieve your goal? What will it feel like to stand on the stage having said the final word of your speech? Who will you see in the crowd? How sweaty or dry will your palms be? What is the tone of your voice? What are you wearing? How does the crowd respond to your words? Really dig deep and round out the entire picture of that goal being reached.
  • I dwell on that image for a minute or two, just letting it settle in and surround me. During this time, I’ve found that praying helps me become even more immersed in the vision of success. I ask God to help make that goal reality in my life, to lead me deeper and higher and farther than I could ever go on my own. I praise Him for already granting me victory in my life through the work of Jesus, and ask Him to continue renewing my mind and strengthening my heart as I journey toward my goals hand in hand with Him.
  • Throughout my prayer time, I continue coming back to my visualized goal. I continue to fill in details and focus on them. It’s a very creative, imaginative, and spiritual time. It should leave me feeling refreshed and invigorated…not drained, worried, or scared.

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So those are my deep psycho-spiritual musings on visualization. :)

Really, though, it’s just a goal setting technique that helps me connect to the desires of my heart on a deeper level. I enjoy it, but it’s not a magic pill that will make all my dreams come true.

I also don’t think it’s a weird voo-doo practice that will somehow “invite the presence of the Devil” into my life, especially since I love to use my visualization time as prayer time, too.

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What are your thoughts on visualization? Have you practiced it before?

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That’s it for today’s update! I’ll see ya next week.

 

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