Fake it to Achieve it
Using Visual Imagery to Achieve Performance Goals
“Fake it till you make it…”
This is an age-old phrase that just never get’s old. This is applied to anything that requires performance whether it’s in your career, school or relationships. We don't admit to this being such a pertinent element of what defines success. What do these areas of performance have in common? They all have to do with our confidence, which begins with the intangible. In this case, it's the intangible power of visualization and further proof in the power of the mind-body connection. Easier said than done, but being able to visualize success is the prerequisite to making success move from a fantasy to a reality.
As a physical therapist, I am constantly addressing elements of performance. Whether its performance on the basketball court, bedroom or making lasagna in the kitchen, a certain level of visual imagery is required. Brain scans and peer reviewed journals in neuroscience and visual imagery have tested the impact of such an activity showing numerous rehabilitative implications strong enough to facilitate behavior change.1
By addressing specific areas like the task itself, timing and emotional responses, visual imagery can help us get closer to type of success we are looking to achieve. Emotional elements like confidence, feeling positive and having control are just as easily influenced through the power of imagery and are interdependent. Their power in interdependence assumes that by influencing one, you can influence the other. Certain mind-body practices like yoga and meditation influence the same areas of the brain responsible for changing behavior overtime. There is no coincidence that the tool of choice for popular influencers like Tony Robbins is meditation. By influencing the body, one can influence the mind. And of course, vice-versa. You’ve heard it: “where energy goes, energy flows.” Similarly, when the mind leads, the body can follow.
How can we begin to achieve the success we are looking for? It begins with a clear vision. Pay attention to the details. What does your environment look like? Who is there? How are you feeling or achieving to feel? What does the motion look like? What is the task? Lastly, repetition, consistency and timing is key. Practicing a task daily, most days of the week and at a time that feels effortless are the keys to successfully mastering performance.
Performance comes in various shapes and forms. A performance can be as simple as getting off a couch, climbing stairs or opening a refrigerator with ease.
Steps to Mastering Performance:
Be clear on the task you want to perform.
Pay attention to the physical and emotional details.
Repetition is key. Practice daily and most days of the week.
Time your activity at a time in your day that feels easy and doesn’t feel like work.
What is an activity in your life that requires attention? Contact me for a free consultation.
McKelvie SJ, Demers EG. Individual differences in reported visual imagery and memory performance. Br J Psychol. 1979 Feb;70(1):51-7. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1979.tb02142.x. PMID: 486866.