Don’t just “put your mind to it”; Put your whole body into it! How “embodying” your visions can help them come true.
It’s a New Year and many of you have made a New Year’s Resolution or two. Or perhaps you have spent some time thinking about your vision for your life in the coming year. Visioning is a practice I do every January and highly recommend. I find it helps me feel grounded and focused on how I want to create my life in the coming year.
So, how’re you doing so far? If you’re like me you are starting to hit some inner resistance to staying on track. That cozy bed in the morning is starting to feel much more compelling than getting up in the dark and cold and going to the gym. And now that I’ve recovered from the three week sugar high I maintained over the holidays, my sugar fast is starting to seem much less interesting.
It’s a universal human experience to struggle with discipline. We make resolutions and goals with the sincerest of intentions and then somehow that resolve weakens. Too often we find ourselves back in our same ruts, frustrated and discouraged. If this is you, know that you are not alone
One reason we get caught in endless loops of determined resolve, then loss of motivation and discipline, then discouragement and shame is that we make our resolutions, or visions, or goals with our minds and not our bodies and minds together.
The trick to getting back your motivation to get out of bed, or put down the potato chip, must come from your whole body, emotions and mind being in touch with the desire and excitement about your goal. You need to be able to feel what you really want in the moment, not just the difficulty of it, and not just the “idea” or even picture of it.
Techniques like creative visualization, imagery, and positive affirmations can be powerful tools to help us achieve our goals and dreams. Many people, including professional athletes use visualization to help manifest desired outcomes. Medical research has shown that “mental rehearsal” significantly improves performance in athletes.
Research also shows that there is a strong benefit to including the body, or “kinesthetic” sensation in the process of “experiencing” your desired outcome.
Have you ever watched a downhill skier in the Olympics, crouched in the holding area before her turn at the gate, bouncing and weaving with closed eyes as she imagines herself running the anticipated slalom course? Her nervous system, muscles, bones and every cell of her body is experiencing the possibility of flying flawlessly through that course. This actually gives her a better chance of doing so!
Dr. Candace Pert, in her book Molecules of Emotion, describes the newly discovered phenomenon that every cell in our bodies is affected, through the circulation of chemicals called neuropeptides, by our thoughts and emotions….and images! That means that what we have thought of as the mind doesn’t just live in our brains, it literally lives throughout our bodies. So, if our whole body experiences a possibility, it will be much more powerful than simply seeing an image or an idea of that possibility.
When I take the time to feel the sensations of the energized, light, strong body I will have if I stick to my exercise goal, more times than not, I can overcome the sensations of the warm covers I am currently in. I also notice that I actually feel lighter and stronger as I get out of bed! I invite you to give it a try.