The Power of Visualizing Your Goals

February 15th, 2021 by JoAnn Cranson

By:  Raquel Torres

If you want to increase the likelihood of reaching your goals and dreams, visualization is where it all begins. Just as affirmations or mantras are beneficial for motivation, focus, and effective goal setting, so too is a visualization or mental imagery.

What is Visualization?

It is the use of the imagination through pictures or mental imagery to create visions of what we want in our lives and how to make them happen. Along with focus and emotions, it becomes a powerful, creative tool that helps us achieve what we want in life. If used correctly it can bring about self-improvement, maintain good health, help you perform well in sports, and accomplish your goals in life.

In sports, mental imagery is often used by professional athletes to improve their skills by picturing the achievement of a specific feat, such as hitting or shooting a ball, riding a bike, swimming, or running a race, among other things.

Some benefits of visualization:

  • The idea behind visualizing your goals is that if you “see” your goal, you are more likely to achieve it.
  • It creates an inner motivation to strive for your goals and dreams.
  •  When you visualize your brain learns to recognize what resources it will need to help you succeed in reaching your goals.
  • The consistent practice of visualization promotes positive thinking, it helps you to stay on track to be successful in the long run.

By experience, the more I practice this, the better mentally prepared I am before any life event or race week, this increases the possibilities to enjoy the whole process. 

It’s a very good habit to do the visualization first thing in the morning, I also do it during training, or before going to bed. 

We can apply this technique to anything in our life, big dreams, goals, interviews, speeches, personal life, any life challenge, or skill that we want to improve or learn.

Before any big event or activity, it’s very important to do the full movie in your mind several times. Dreaming is free and legal.

Visualization Scenarios Tips for Triathlete’s Race Week: 

  • The race briefing, the expo, the environment with good energy.
  • Setting an alarm the night before.
  • Your waking up routine early in the morning.
  • How your breakfast will taste, yummy.
  • Getting to the race venue. Listening to your favorite music.
  • Doing your gear checklist and completing all the to-do lists.
  • Bringing your bike in the car or packing it.
  • The weather (cold/hot/windy/raining).
  • Setting up your transition. What do you need? 
  • Imagine the sounds, music, smells, the whole feeling.
  • You see a lot of smiles and nervous people but you are staying very calm.

Some examples of a Triathlete Race Day simulation visualization:

This can help to ease any race day nerves.

For better results start 2 weeks or some days before, visualize for around 5 minutes or more your event, here some examples of scenarios to visualize for a triathlon race day:

  • Waking up early: preparing to get to the race venue, how is the weather? is it dark or sunny?
  • Preparing your transition: warming up, practicing your favorite mantras for that day.
  • The race start countdown: 10, 9,8,7… Are you feeling cold, warm, confident,  focused, positive?  3,2,1….Beeeep!
  • The swimming: visualize a lot of athletes swimming close by you, the water temperature and waves?  clear or dark water?  You are feeling light, breathing often. And using  your favorite mantras. 
  • Transition #1: Running from the water to the transition, finding your bike spot, do a mental rehearsal of all you need to do in the transition before touching your bike and getting out  the T1 for your ride
  • The bike ride: a smooth ride, how is the circuit?  hilly or flat? You are feeling alert and strong, focused on your nutrition, how it tastes?
  • Transition #2: Getting off the bike, running to find your bike spot, again a mental rehearsal with details of what you plan to do in the T2 before heading out for your run.
  • The run: Visualize having a good form, well managing your thoughts with encouraging self-talk,  then you see yourself crossing the finish line.

The intention of visualization is to prepare your mind and body for the reality ahead of time, when the day comes your mind/body will definitely feel familiar and perform better. 

A teen’s prospective: Accidents happen and Goals change

May 28th, 2020 by JoAnn Cranson

By Hunter Post

As a teenager in my third season in 2019, I decided that I wanted to start training more in order to improve. Even though I still had school during the day, I tried to ride every evening to get my miles up. My goal for the season was to win overall in the MiSCA JV category.   Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association (MiSCA) is focused on the coordination of youth mountain biking teams and races throughout Michigan for elementary, middle, and high school-aged students.

About a week after school got out, I went up to Michigan Tech to participate in a mountain biking camp. During the camp, we rode the Tech trails, Copper Harbor, and the Adventure Mine. Doing this camp drastically improved my handling skills and stamina. After the camp, I felt connected to my bike and unafraid to ride anything. I was grateful that I had the opportunity to do this camp, and I felt ready for the upcoming races.

Over the summer, I raced in several MMBA races, including Fort Custer, Hanson Hills, Island Lake, Pontiac Lake, Sweat Shaker, Big M, and Glacial Hills. I love doing these races because I feel that they give me a head start preparing for the MiSCA races since they are longer and more challenging. In September, I completed my first century ever. I rode my mountain bike and did Milford trail, Highland, Island Lake, Proud Lake, and Hickory Glen. I was really excited to ride that many miles, but I underestimated how hard it would be to keep pushing. I felt that completing this ride made me a better rider and showed me what hard work really is. Around this time, the MiSCA races finally kicked off. 

My MiSCA race season did not go as expected. I had a good first race at Addison Oaks, coming in second.  My second race did not go as I planned, and ended my season. During the second MiSCA race at Fort Custer, I fell and broke three of my fingers. I was devastated that I would not be able to finish my season or complete my goal of winning the series. I was in a cast for around a month, and during that time I could only ride my trainer. Riding my trainer was not a fun experience, since it wasn’t a smart trainer and I couldn’t interact with anyone. I lacked motivation, but I did my best to put on some miles. During this time, I set a new goal to do my best at Iceman. Once I had my cast off, I had to wear a splint for an additional month. I was not supposed to ride until I was fully healed, but I started riding again in order to prepare for Iceman. 

Preparing for Iceman was very tough, I was getting ready for ski season to start, and I had to try to make up for a month’s worth of riding.  It was difficult to keep riding even though I knew that riding more would help me perform better at Iceman. I was ready for bike season to end and ski season to start. The weekend before I was cleared to start riding again, I did my second century.  I just hoped that all of the training that I had done earlier in the season would carry me to a successful race.

Racing Iceman was a very interesting experience. It was my longest race, and I was not as prepared as I would have liked to be after the injury. I also did not bring any food or enough water. In the end, I finished fourth in my age group, and I now know that to sustain a good pace, I need more water and food. I was slightly disappointed with my performance, I felt like if I hadn’t had my injury I could have done much better.

At the end of my third season, I learned that I have to train as hard as I can, while I have the opportunity, in case I am not able to ride. I need to make the most of the time I have to train, because life is full of surprises and I don’t want to be unprepared. I also learned that goals can always be changed, if I am unable to fulfill my goal, I can always set a new one and work for it. Goals are an amazing way to motivate me to be my best, but I need to remember that they can always change.

7 Tips to Stay 100% Motivated

May 14th, 2020 by JoAnn Cranson

By Raquel Torres

1. Have Clear Goals – Always have long and short term goals. Having goals motivates us to work hard and including short term goals ensures that victory can be savored regularly. This provides a greater motivation to push hard to achieve long term goals. For example, writing goals on an agenda or whiteboard and looking at them every day has a positive effect since this constant visualization keeps you motivated and 100% focused on achieving each goal. Setting clearly defined goals will help you monitor your progress and give you constant motivation.

2. Divide your goals into small goals – An article in Forbes magazine recommends dividing your goals into smaller steps, more task-oriented goals, and setting a time frame for each. If your goal is to “organize your closet”, you can begin by saying: “First I’m going to organize the shoes, then the belts, then the winter coats,” etc. This method can make even the biggest task feel more manageable.

3. Be extremely optimistic – When you are consistently optimistic, you focus only on the positive, which helps you stay motivated.  The moment you start bringing negative thoughts to your mind is the moment when your drive forward will stop. Is there a chance that something negative will happen? Of course, but you don’t want to think that way. Entrepreneurs and winners need to think like elite athletes. Do you think for a minute LeBron James was thinking of losing during the NBA finals? We can bet that the possibility of losing and not giving Cleveland a title never occurred to him. His optimism dominated his thoughts, blocking all negative thoughts.

4. Visualize the Results – It is important to visualize the final result and how you will feel when you have reached your goal. If you want to increase the likelihood of reaching your goals and dreams, goal visualization is where it all begins. When you visualize your goals, you do a few important things:

– It teaches your brain to recognize what resources it will need to help you succeed.

                  – It creates an inner motivation to strive for your goals and dreams. 

                  – It promotes positive thinking, which will help you to stay on track to be successful in the long run.

5. Search and enter positive information into your mind – Experts recommend reading or listening to positive information every day. If you fill your mind with inspiring and positive information, you’ll stay much more motivated. Use social media such as Youtube, FB or online books with themes, authors or groups, like Athletic Mentors Team, that shares blogs and positive information that will give you the momentum you need and constant reminders telling you that you are able to achieve whatever you want.

6. Be Consistent – You must take consistent actions or measures every day. This means that even if you’re not totally in the mood, do a small productive thing that will lead you to your ultimate goal, even if it’s only 10 minutes. Remember, keeping yourself motivated is absolutely within your reach, often it’s just about keeping your ultimate goal in mind, and doing it every day, little by little.  Be mentally flexible.

7. If you are too busy to workout or just don’t feel in the mood, take a day or two off, be kind to yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to be active again as soon as possible. When you regain your enthusiasm, move! Listen to music, enjoy the moment and pat yourself on the back from time to time. Remember, physical activity is a life-long positive habit and it’s scientifically proven that it increases and calibrates the hormones of happiness and motivation like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. You don’t need to do much, by doing a small 20 minute routine is more than enough to keep you healthy and in a good mood. We now have the Internet where we can find countless simple and short routines that we can do even in small places.

Motivation is like the habit of bathing, you have to do it frequently. To stay motivated we all need to do the exercises first from the mind every day. Remember absolutely no one is always 100% motivated. We have to learn how to be disciplined.  Insist, persist, resist and never desist. 



Team Athletic Mentors
© 2024 - Team Athletic Mentors