Visualize Success | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


Since I was a little kid, I’ve always been negative realistic.  In some ways, it serves me well, but largely it sets me up for failure.  After all, it’s a defense mechanism. Expect the worst, but hope for the best – and by anticipating bad things, I may not try as hard to meet my goals.

Wahhh wahhhhhhh. Yes, I can be a bit of a downer.

Back in high school, I was a high jumper.  Like many sports, high jumping is 50% physical and 50% mental. I was actually a GOOD high jumper. I still hold the girls record at my alma mater GLORY DAYS.  But, when it counted – like qualifying for the state meet – I’d consistently choke. I would get a complete mental block and my body would follow suit. This happened two years in a row.

My junior year in high school, my coach sat me down and we had a talk about positive attitude.  I remember breaking down in tears (okay, I was 16, it didn’t take much to start the waterworks) and saying I just couldn’t do it.  The state championship wasn’t within my grasp. I could get all the way to the qualifying meet, but there, I knew I’d fail.

I just knew it.

That day, he told me that I needed to close my eyes and picture success.  Literally, I was to sit on the bus on the way to each of my meets and go through my jumps in my head.  From the first hop to that last explosive penultimate step to arching over the bar to snapping at the waist once I’d cleared, I was to go over each minuscule detail of a perfect jump. Of course I scoffed. Right. LIKE THAT WOULD WORK.

My first few attempts at visualization, I actually managed to picture myself executing a perfect jump, but at the last minute I’d hit the bar with my heels, knocking it rattling to the ground. Or I’d clear the bar and go soaring right past the mat and land on my back on the concrete (I did that in real life once – and I’m not sure which was worse, the humiliation or the pain!).

But one day, lo and behold, I was able to see a perfect jump in my minds eye.  I began to work as hard on my mental state before each meet as I did on my physical state.

Guess what? That year, I made it to the state meet. I think I came in eighth (not sure), but I know I cleared 5’4″. There are not a ton of things from my teenage years that I am hugely proud of, but I count that as one of them.

So, how does this rambling story about my adolescence relate to you? Maybe it doesn’t. But I know that for a lot of us, weight loss is 99% mental.  Personally, I have a tendency to take myself out of the race before it even starts.  I have a hard time seeing myself running an entire half marathon. Some days, I honestly do not picture myself ever getting to my goal weight.

And that is when I employ the visualization techniques my track coach taught me all those years ago.  I literally go through how I am going to acheive my goals, step by miniscule step, in my head. Eyes closed, I play a little movie in my mind where I cross the finish line at the race.

You know what? It may sound completely hokey, BUT IT WORKS. It really does. Mind over matter. Try it – next time you’re feeling down or hopeless, like there’s NO WAY you’ll reach your goals, sit down and make a film in your head about the steps you will take to succeed.  Watch it over and over. Until it sticks.

Believe this – believing in yourself is the ultimate motivator.

Have you ever or do you ever practice positive visualization? How does it work for you?

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