Make it Happen Monday: Visualization and Affirmations

21
May
2012

It’s no secret that many of the top cyclists (and other athletes) in the world use visualization techniques to reach the top of their game.  Today’s athletes are performing at levels that are at an all time high, and they all know that the mental aspects are just as important as the physical.  But visualization and affirmations are not just for top athletes….all of us can benefit from tapping into our incredible powers of the mind.

I, personally, have tossed affirmations into my daily routine as often as I can remind myself to do them for the past ten years or more.  I know the importance of them and how much power they possess, but still haven’t quite made them a daily ritual that I follow without even thinking about it.  But through the help and support of my Wife, they have once again became something that our whole Family is focusing on.

Visualization is something that I totally believe in and feel is the secret formula in achieving greatness….but I have never been able to teach myself to do this properly.  I close my eyes and begin to picture that which I’m trying to visualize, and then I either get distracted or can’t picture what I want to see.

So here I am with today’s Make it Happen post and providing information for myself….but I hope it benefits you as well.  Here are a few affirmation and visualization tips to help you achieve all you want in cycling and in life.

Affirmation: Positive statements that describe a desired outcome or situation.  They are repeated several times, in order to impress the subconscious mind and trigger it into action.

Visualization: Using your creative imagination to see something you want.

5 Steps to Effective and Powerful Affirmations

(from psychology today)

Step 1: Make a list of your positive attributes and negative perceptions of yourself, as well as any specific goals you have.  Use this information to create positive affirmations that are clear concise, and written in first person (ie: I am).

Step 2: Rewrite your affirmation so that it is as effective as possible. You may want to use a thesaurus to find more powerful words to beef up your statement. For example instead of saying, “I’m worthy.”  You could say, “I’m remarkable and cherished.”  After you have written your affirmation then ask a close friend to read it to see if they have any suggestions to make it stronger.

Step 3: Speak the affirmation out loud for about five minutes three times a day – morning, mid day and evening.  An ideal time to do this is when you’re putting your make up or shaving so that you can look at yourself in the mirror as you repeat the positive statement.

Step 4: Anchor the affirmation in your body as you are repeating it by placing your hand on the area that felt uncomfortable when you wrote out the negative belief in Step One.  Also “breathe” into the affirmation while you are saying or writing it.

Step 5: Get a friend or coach to repeat your affirmation to you.  As they are saying for example, “You are remarkable and cherished” identify this statement as ‘good mothering’ or ‘good fathering’ messages.

5 Important Visualization Tips

(from the personal growth library)

Relax:  Visualization works best when you are completely relaxed. Before any visualization session, lie down or sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet on the ground.  Keep your spine straight.  Do a few minutes of meditation in order to quiet your mind and relax fully.

Set Your Intention:   Identify what you truly desire.  What do you truly want?  Do you believe it can exist for you?  Take time with this step.

Focus On What You Want, Not What You Don’t Want:  We see what we look for.  In visualizing, and in life in general, the more you focus on what you don’t want, the more you seem to get it.  Keep your focus solidly on what you want.  For example, instead of thinking “eliminate stress,” focus on “being perfectly healthy and relaxed.”

Don’t Struggle:  Visualizing may be difficult at first, but don’t struggle or try too hard.  People say visualizing is like holding a bird:  hold it too loose and you lose it; hold it too tightly and you   crush it.  Keep your concentration as if you’re holding the bird.  Also, if you’re having a hard time, return to your intention. Do you truly want what you’re visualizing?  Or, is it something you think you “should” be, do, or have?

Express Your Highest Self:  Visualizations work best when they express your highest self and your highest aspirations.

There you go….now it’s time to make it happen.  Affirmations and Visualization are definitely are a great help in getting you there.

Enjoy Your Ride
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  • http://twitter.com/trimon29 Eric Hutchins

    Since visualization and affirmation are such tough things for most people to actually do well (include me in this group that struggles) it is great that you added depth to this post and provided some help in being able to actually make it happen. I think that most of us know (yes after the eye roll) that these are actually really powerful and important things to do, actually doing them, and doing them well enough to make a difference is the hard part. Any time I start to do something (like say a training ride) I find my mind wandering to all the things that I should be taking care of, making mental lists of the things I need to do when I get back etc etc.
    I need to be able to block that out, and get it the right frame of mind to truly, enjoy the ride.

  • Roger

    Once again you’ve inspired me on this manic Monday. Yes, I need to slow down and make time for this sort of thing. Any advice on how I can do that?

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Glad to know that our Make it Happen Monday posts have had an impact on you. Hmmm, my best advice would be to start by setting aside even 10 minutes a day where you just sit and let your mind relax and spend that time focusing on what you’d like to adjust. Make it a habit and you can then use those 10 minutes for your affirmations as well.

  • James

    I’ve tried using affirmations in the past, but can’t seem to stick with it. I’ll take a better look at your tips and maybe try it again.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      I hear you, James. Keep at it and I hope these suggestions help you lock it down. Let me know how it goes.

  • Ian Poulton

    You must know that I love this post. Visualization is a huge part in everything I do, and the benefits are huge.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      One only has to look as far as you to see how beneficial visualization and affirmations can be.

  • http://www.reasons2ride.com/ Joel Phillips

    When speaking about visualization and affirmation, I often see eyes being rolled and a condescending smirk. Even I have to admit I didn’t place much value on the practice when it was introduced to me. Like riding a bicycle for the first time in years (maybe even decades), it’s awkward and uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the more natural it becomes. I truly believe what you’ve talked about here today are the keys to self belief, and once you believe in yourself, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.

    As always, great read Darryl. Happy riding…

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      Thanks, Joel. Very well said, my friend……keep on being a great leader like you are.

  • Charles

    Thank you for this reminder. I’ve been wanting to do more of this but just keep on putting it off. Yes, I will make it happen as you say and get started now.

    • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

      You’re welcome, Charles. Good to see that you are making it happen. Awesome.

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