Monday, January 4, 2010

Step Visualization

Visualization is nothing new. I have a book about it that someone gave me probably back in the 70s and I'm sure the idea has been kicking for many hundreds of years longer!

You all know about visualization. Roughly speaking, "if you think it, it will come". The idea is that if you visualize yourself healthy, thin, rich, successful, etc. etc. hard enough and often enough, you will reach this goal. It's part of the whole positive thinking movement. Think positive and positive things will happen.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you've probably realized that I'm not that big on visualization or positive thinking. It's not that I think these techniques are totally useless. I'm certainly the first one to say that it's a lot more fun being around people who look to the future with hope rather than those who think life is a load of crap today and will be so tomorrow too.

My personal life experiences have taught me that you can't just get there on hope. When my operation went wrong in 2003, I visualized myself into a tizzy and the only thing it got me was frustrated. I needed surgery, and after that surgery was done, I got better. Simple as that. Well, perhaps not that simple. I worked my butt off and found the right kind of physical activity to help me reach the highest level of recovery that I was able to reach. Much as I'd love to, I will never ice skate again, for instance. I can hope and visualize myself blue in the face but it will not get me there and I have to accept it.

However, I came across something very interesting in the newspaper recently about visualization that I'd like to share with you. The article suggests that visualizing the end result is not the way to go about things. What's important is to visualize the steps that get you there.

Visualizing yourself x pounds thinner is not all that useful. But visualizing yourself eating more slowly, drinking more water, doing your favourite exercise, enjoying a brisk walk...can all be helpful pictures to paint in your mind.

This makes wonderful sense to me. Actually reaching a goal or a state of mind can't be done without going through certain steps. Going from 0 to 100 without anything in between just doesn't happen, unless you have been the recipient of a miracle. And miracles are few and very far between.

So if you're planning to ramp up your visualization this year, at least consider adding what I call "step visualization" to the mix.

And if you think it helps, please let me know!


  1. Very thoughtful post, Wendy. We all like to think about ourselves at the point in our lives that we want to be, but few stop to really consider the steps that we must take in order to make it happen.

  2. Yup, makes sense to me too! Success lies in the doing, after all.

  3. I like this. Visualizing the steps is something I can do today, this hour, right now. It doesn't have to wait until I'm at my goal weight. Useful technique, thank you.

  4. I am a great believer in visualization for all sorts of reasons. But I have to say I cannot visualise myself thin. I have a phto that my son suggested I should use as a template (I weighed about 147 lbs at the time) But I know that in that photo I am so dreadfully unhappy. And I think that is why I can't see myself thinner. But your idea of step visulaization is brilliant.

  5. A 6 grams of fat or less Subway sandwich would have to be over 4.5 feet long to provide 2500 calories. Think in concrete terms.

  6. I like the step visualization concept. Makes perfect sense to me! Thanks for posting this, as I think I was in need of just this type of a reminder.