I’ve got Olympics fever this week. I am loving watching all of the world’s best sportspeople go for gold. It’s so inspiring and sometimes unbelievably amazing what some people are able to do with their bodies. Regardless of whether they take home a medal, I think simply getting to the Olympics as a competitor is an admirable feat.
While I was watching Natalie Cook and her team mate Tamsin Hinchley take on the USA in beach volleyball, I was listening with interest to the female commentator who was apparently an ex-teammate of Natalie’s. The commentator spoke of Natalie’s determination and how they had mentally set themselves up to compete for Olympic gold at previous games. Visual aids was a big part of it, including pictures of Australian flags and gold medals and anything that created inspiration, drive and focus on their ultimate goal.
I know of many people who, like Natalie Cook, create vision boards of the goals they are aiming to achieve. Time and again I hear stories of success in turning what once was a picture on a board into a reality. A vision board is a great way to activate your Reticular Activating System (see my recent article ‘It cost nothing to use your brain to your advantage’ for more details on how the RAS works). The regular attention of the brain onto the desired goal keeps the goal top of mind as a reminder to the brain of what information is important to notice and act on.
Dr Kerry Spackman teaches how to create what I would refer to as a ‘vision board in a book’ in his book ‘The Winner’s Bible. This tool is particularly useful as it allows for parts of the ‘vision book’ (aka Winner’s Bible) to evolve as the corresponding different parts of your life do and the book is easy to take with you if you are travelling. Speckman also incorporates pages of the book to be focused on understanding one’s own strengths and weakness and inspiring role models.
Speckman, a former athlete himself, understands the brain and the need for constant reinforcement in order to change habits. Without the reinforcement and plans for dealing with inevitable failures on the path to success, the brain will revert back to old thinking patterns. Given all actions are preceded by thought, so then behaviours will also revert back accordingly.
Your vision board or book also needs to be very inspiring and to really engage your emotions when you look at it. This will assist with the much needed motivation to keep going when life gets challenging or when you’re struggling to keep on a goal, especially if it is taking longer than you’d hoped. As Zig Ziglar said:
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.”