Imagining a New You for the New Year

Author: Shoshana Belisle, MSW, MA, RYT, Namaste Wellness Advisor and Director of Wellness Research

As we approach 2020, have you started to imagine a health or wellness goal for yourself?

Research has found that using your imagination can be a powerful and effective tool for supporting health behavior change. Perhaps you want to drop a few pounds, improve your fitness, or reduce your stress. Whatever your goal, take a moment to stop, breathe, and picture yourself achieving that goal. Imagine every detail and nuance, and allow yourself to feel the joy and satisfaction of accomplishing it. Now, take your imagination one step further and picture yourself engaging in the specific actions needed each day to get where you want to go.

According to proponents of the Law of Attraction, creative visualization is the secret sauce for a life of success. However, while visualization is a fantastic tool, it must be done in the right way to get you where you want to go. One critic of the Law of Attraction argues that focusing on outcomes can actually lead you astray and undermine your motivation. If you get too confident in the realization of the goal, you might not put the necessary work in to get the job done. The solution? Adopt a process focus as opposed to an outcomes focus. In one study, visualizing engaging in the processes needed to achieve a goal was more effective than visualizing the outcome itself. Let’s say you want to run your first race. You are more likely to be successful by visualizing yourself actually engaging in training (i.e., lacing on your running shoes, warming up, getting in a runner’s flow, enjoying the scenery, and feeling your endorphin high, etc.) rather than simply picturing yourself passing the finish line.

Converting your big goal into a realistic daily habit is a critical first step. We explored this in-depth in a previous post. Next, use visualization to get really clear on how it will look and feel to engage in that habit. How does your habit fit into your day? What obstacles might you encounter? How do you expect to overcome them? Using the power of your imagination, work through these details in your mind, and you will be one big step closer to making your goal a reality.

Creating mental representations of future events, actions or tasks isn’t easy for everyone. If you have a goal you wish to accomplish, empower yourself with support. Namaste wellness advisors can help convert goals into habits, guide you through visualization exercises to make your new habits “feel” real and sustainable, and help connect you to all of the resources needed to optimize your wellbeing in 2020!

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