Increase Self-Confidence with Imagery
One of the many uses of imagery is to enhance feelings of self-confidence. The benefit is when you believe you can do something, you can. Breaking through our mental barriers is tough. In fact, it’s so tough, we might not even think self-confidence is an issue. But, when you’ve done something once, you realize you can do it again.
When you imagine something, your brain doesn’t really know the difference between whether it’s real or not. You’re brain actually thinks you went through the experience. Both physically and mentally, you’re more prepared to deal with the actual event. Here are 2 common goals you could easily use imagery to increase your self-confidence and accomplish them:
1. Run a marathon
2. Lose 50 pounds
Using Imagery to Run a Marathon
Most people say, “I could never do that”. Which often is a version of “I don’t want to do what it takes for to run a marathon”. This might be true, because it’s tough work. But what if you didn’t imagine it to be so tough? What if you knew you could prep for a marathon easily? That’s your starting point for using imagery to run a marathon.
Generally speaking, you know what goes into preparing for a marathon- long runs, eating for fuel, potential aches, and time. If these are the things standing in your way from running the race, then work to overcome them. Spend only 1 – 2 minutes (2 x day) imagining what the preparation process looks like. You should use imagery during the race too. But most people won’t even get to the starting line because of the preparation it takes to get there. Use your own imagination or use ours below to walk yourself through it:
Imagine waking up excited about a new goal. You have a new purpose to each day now. You’ve made time in your day, so you’re excited to see the sun come up on the horizon. You dress quickly in the things you laid out the night before. Your playlist is set, starting with your favorite song to get you going. After you go through your brief warm up, you feel the awesome sensation of getting your breath in line with your stride and it feels just right.
As you run, you notice how your body feels to be moving early in the day. As you continue your run, you smell the air, you notice the colors you see. You feel your feet hit the ground and how perfectly supported they are with your shoes. Your heart is pumping but it’s at a steady state, comfortable enough to sustain for the pace and duration you need today.
During the day, you’re aware of what you’re eating. Not because of so-called rules but because you’re eating for fuel. You’re putting your body through a new challenge, so you need to treat it in the right way. As you eat, you taste the food that makes you feel your best and gives you the fuel you need. It’s not like the hunger or cravings of dieting. It’s the fulfillment of taking care of yourself- just like you would take care of anything else.
Even with the unexpected, you know what your day looks like. You can see your schedule in your mind’s eye and you know where the few minutes waste away. You know where you lose focus. But you have a plan in place. You walk through an event that might pull you off track and then see yourself resolving it. What are the solutions you came to? How did you feel inside when you were able to find a solution? Relieved? Confident?
Then you think about your upcoming run. You see yourself having conversations with people letting them know you can’t do something for them. But it’s okay and you feel okay about it. Imagine the understanding looks on their faces. Realize, like most things, it will work out. Imagine feeling less stress about time than ever before. And think of the things you did to get you to that feeling. It’s the feeling of confidence that you can do and fit in more than you previously thought.
Using Imagery to Lose 50 lbs
Losing weight, let alone 50lbs isn’t easy for anyone. No matter how fit you are or what you know about fitness and nutrition, it’s tough. This is because you’re digging yourself out of something. So, you must go above and beyond what you would normally do just to stay healthy. It’s hard and most people think they can’t (or don’t want) to do it. This is usually because it means eating better, exercising more, feeling restricted from life enjoyment, and assuming failure. Those are related to self-confidence. Imagery, can help you imagine scenarios so they don’t stand as barriers for losing the weight. You can use our scripts or create your own. Like with all imagery, make sure you spend 1 – 2 minutes visualizing, at least twice a day.
Eating on a diet is awful. That’s only because a diet implies, and gives you the mental image, of starvation. Two things, 1. It doesn’t have to be starvation. 2. Imagine the process in a different way.
Imagine planning a meal. See yourself flipping through different healthy recipes that fit your needs. You see calorie amounts and you counter it with taste appeal. Finally! You find something that looks good to make and easy to do. Think about feeling excited to be trying something new. You like feeling in control of being healthy and this is it. You’re giving your body what it needs for good reasons- you need to feel fuller, you need to have the right fuel, and you want to enjoy it.
As you start prepping the meal, you enjoy the process of taking care of yourself and your family. The food you’re making smells good and surprisingly appetizing! You can’t even tell this is something you would otherwise consider healthy. The colors are fun. You see green and yellow and red. You start to notice you’re cooking faster- not because you’re in a hurry, but because you’re excited.
The meal you’re putting together looks AWESOME! Then, you hear the pan sizzling and sauces coming to a boil. As you sit down for your first bite, you taste EVERY SINGLE FLAVOR. Consequently, you love it. It’s easy to eat unhealthy because you just plow through the meal instead of experiencing the delight of flavors you’ve created. You don’t even think “healthy”. You think you want it again tomorrow.
People tend to think they can’t stick with their exercise program. Usually, it’s either because they don’t like it, don’t know how to exercise right, or don’t think they can do it in the first place.
Imagine yourself getting ready to go workout. Your workout clothes are on and you’re on your way. You listen to the kind of music that makes you feel motivated- no matter what mood you’re in. This song always gives you a little pep in your step. You can see the workout floor in front of you and you know exactly what you’re going to do. It feels good to have a plan. You walk through the gym confidently.
You have your eyes set on where you’re going, and other people notice that. No one is asking if you need help finding anything because it’s clear you don’t. You hear the background music and the sound of other people having fun but working hard. The sounds energize you to feel the same. You pick up your pace a little. You can see your workout in your mind’s eye. It’s going to be fast, energizing, and fulfilling.
Your heart rate and body temperature start to increase. You like it because you know It means you’re doing something right! As you do your workout, you feel good. There’s no unnecessary discomfort. Just the normal signs of your body doing what it was meant to do. The sounds and visual surroundings continue to give you energy. You’re with people doing the same thing as you. It’s amazing because you’re part of it and you made it here.
After your workout you feel great. You leave the gym warmed up and full of energy. The energy, makes you excited about the next time you go there. You feel stronger and you notice the additional exercise is also decreasing your appetite. You’re not as hungry as you normally are. In general, your tension in your shoulders has melted away and you feel yourself smiling. Today was a good day.
Activity and Discomfort
It’s easy to move around more when you aren’t so comfortable. Be active, they say? That’s hard. It sounds awful. Use imagery to feel more confident about increasing activity levels.
Today’s the day you’re going to start increasing your activity levels. Your goal is to move around more. You decide to take a short mid-day walk at lunch. As you head out of the office, you see yourself smiling and telling co-workers you’d love to go to lunch with them, but you just want to get some fresh air and move a bit. They look at you enviously because they know they should be doing the same. You listen to one of your favorite podcasts as you start walking around the block. You notice what a beautiful day it is. The sun is out, people are smiling, and birds are chirping.
Before you know it, you’ve already been walking for 5 minutes. Nothing hurts- at all. In fact, you wish you were in workout clothes so you could pick up your pace. But this is just fine. After being at a desk, you feel your limbs straighten. You pull your shoulders and head back. And you feel like you just grew an inch. It all feels a little too easy to get your activity in. Your shoulders have relaxed and your hands even open as tension disappears.
You got lost in the moment. So much, in fact, that you consider what you look like from someone else’s perspective. You look relaxed and happy. It looks easy and enjoyable to everyone else. And, you see yourself smiling at other people and causing them reason to smile back. Headed back into the office, you already have plans to do another walk before you leave for the day.