You've made the decision - that is fantastic. It's time to start the journey! First, you must understand the destination. It is incredible how many people set off in life without knowing where they wish to end up. Everything in life has a driving purpose behind it, and vision is what helps to define that purpose.
Without vision, you have no path - how can you, when there is no destination to reach? Fortunately, visualization is a technique that has been around for some time, and has been practiced and employed by successful people around the world.
Setting A Plan
Let's imagine that you are going to prepare a meal for your family. This is the destination - the final, desired result: a savory meal, prepared and ready to serve. In order to reach that destination, several things must happen. There are many ingredients that will go into the recipe.
You will need to take an inventory of what you already have in your kitchen, and then build a shopping list of items that are missing. You will have to make a trip to the store in order to obtain those ingredients. Once you have all of the necessary items, you must follow the steps in your recipe.
Certain items must be prepared - diced, chopped up, and cooked. Other items must be mixed together. Once this combination of events finally concludes, the end result is a meal.
Have you ever considered going into your kitchen to simply "do whatever" and see what would turn up? You put a pot on the stove and pour water into it, and set the burner to low. You preheat the oven to a random temperature - 300 degrees. You grab the first box of whatever out of the cabinet, and throw it into a microwave-proof bowl.
The next thing that you see, you dump into the pot on the stove then you stick something else in the oven. Would this be a successful way to prepare a meal? What if you were baking bread, then halfway through decided that you wanted muffins instead? Or how about making biscuits with a special mix that can serve for pancakes as well, but deciding you really want pancakes only after the biscuits are done cooking?
Many people embark on physique transformation with no end goal in mind. This is like trying to prepare a meal without having a clue what it is supposed to look or taste like. Someone may decide, for example, that they want to lose twenty pounds - but then they do not have any idea how they will look. Will those pounds come from their stomach? Their legs? Their arms? Their face? Is there any way to truly predict how the fat will come off?
The answer is no. What can be predicted, with absolute certainty, is how one wishes to appear. Without a fixed, clear vision, you are bound to change the recipe in the middle - and the end result could be disastrous.
How To Start
The first thing to detach you from is a fixation on numbers. Many people become over-concerned with the concept of ideal weight. My own ideal weight, according to certain insurance charts, is about 160 pounds. I have not weighed that much since high school! Make no mistake, however. This does not mean I am at risk for health conditions or even carrying too much fat.
The weight I have accumulated is muscle, and at 180 pounds I am so lean that you can see the striations and veins all over my body. Imagine if I was not satisfied with being that lean, simply because a chart told me I needed to weigh 10 pounds less!
The reason that I was successful was because I created an image. I imagined what I wanted to look like. I fixed that image in my mind. I even took pictures of athletes and bodybuilders who had a similar build to my own, and visualized my face on those bodies. A friend of mine took a picture of a former EAS champion that I admire - Brad Wadlow1 - and used software to superimpose my face on his body. If you compare our pictures today, you will see a striking similarity (with the exception that Brad has hair and a few more pounds of muscle on his frame).
Former EAS champion Brad Wadlow1.
This is no coincidence! It is the power of visualization at work. You have heard the analogies before - that in order to build a house, you must have a detailed blueprint. In order to make a trip, you must have a final destination and then plot a route to make it there. If you don't fix that destination in your mind, you are bound to wander aimlessly on the way.
It would be like Ulysses attempting to return home - delays and detours plaguing you every step of the way. You don't want to face the whirlpool or deadly hydra, do you? I certainly hope not! So let's get to work.
First, construct a vision of how you wish to look. You might take pictures from your past and use those as a reference. You may find someone you admire and feel has a body similar to your own, only in much better shape. Whatever method you use, try to make certain your vision is as clear as possible. The clearer your vision, and the greater your chances of success.
Go ahead and fix that vision in your mind. Don't imagine it as something you will become. This is the tricky part. If you have read personal development books or other self-help material, then you will have been introduced to this concept. Success comes from being, so you want to be that healthy, lean person - right now! If you continuously imagine becoming that person sometime in the future, you may never reach that point - the ideal will elude you.
By placing that vision in the present, you send your brain - your subconscious - a clear, precise message. You are memorizing the blueprint so that your mind can gather the right materials to construct the "home" you wish to build.
Any method to reinforce your vision will only help you achieve your goals more quickly. This can include putting together a collage not only of the ideal body you are striving for, but of the things you will do with it. Maybe there is a sport you have never played because you just couldn't keep up with the other players.
In my past, I feared visiting the pool or the beach. I was too embarrassed to take my shirt off - I felt that everyone was silently laughing at me. It was an incredible experience to finally walk on the warm sand of South Beach with confidence and poise. That was no chance circumstance, either - my wife and I had booked the motel three months prior, when I weighed 30 pounds heavier. We created an image for our success and knowing where that motel was - right on the beach - set my course.
If you find you have trouble committing to your vision, try a little technique that worked for me. It may not be the ultimate solution, but I have found it to be effective with many people. Often, as we are focused on our future, we think about those around us. There is nothing wrong with that.
We tend to be able to imagine someone else growing older or becoming fit or simply changing into a better person. When we try to apply those same processes to ourselves, however, we simply teleport ourselves to the future - we retain all of our current qualities, and just the scenery changes.
This is a case where it may be effective to let go of your ego. Instead of being connected to who you will be, say, six months from now, imagine your "future self" as an entirely different person. When I was overweight, I could only visualize myself in terms of "overweight". I had a limited vocabulary to describe myself.
So I created an image of Future Jeremy. Future Jeremy was not overweight - he was lean and muscular. Future Jeremy did not lose his temper over trivial things and frequently become depressed. Future Jeremy smile much more often than I did.
To bridge the gap between now and then, I would visualize a conversation with Future Jeremy. As long as I was sticking to my goals, everything was fine. It was when I began to falter that this visualization technique really became effective. When I would skip a workout, Future Jeremy would become distraught - I was threatening his very existence. By choosing not to eat the right foods or to skip important workouts, I was literally destroying the notion of who I could become. I was making someone I respected extinct!
This may sound strange or even silly to some, but using this imagery helped me stay the course. I knew that my future self depended on this. You may have heard of the term, "The Butterfly Effect." The simple premise is that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world could create such a complex interaction of breezes that it would ultimately result in a massive storm on the other side of the world.
This effect is present in our own lives, but in a very different way. The ripples we make in our own sea of life today can turn into tidal waves that carry us to prosperity our dash us against the rocks of our future. Imagine your future self, and do everything you possibly can to ensure their survival!
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