The Brazil Olympics just ended last weekend, and I thought I'd share a skill that many athletes use to accomplish their goals. And, who doesn't need a little inspiration for achieving their goals, especially when it comes to eating good food?
You may have noticed athletes seemingly concentrating and tuning out all else around them just before competing. It's a skill they undoubtedly have practiced throughout their training - the mental rehearsing of their sport in as little as 5 minutes.
The brain has an amazing ability to use visualization as if you were actually doing the task. Even so much so, for example, as to increase muscle strength with just the act of thinking about a weight lifting session. If you're interested, read more in this Scientific American article, "How to Grow Stronger without Lifting Weights."
That's pretty powerful!
Visualization can help motivate, calm and focus your mind on what is important and essential for creating a happy and healthy life. When you use visualization, you emanate powerful positive energy that can change your outlook. You might find it easier to focus on your goals and really achieve what you want.
So, why not use it for our goals of eating a plant-based diet, losing weight, having more energy or gaining muscle? Spend 5-10 minutes visualizing yourself having accomplished your goals, and also build a vision board to bring these into reality. It's a daily reminder of what you WILL do and want to accomplish. It's a wonderful motivator and daily reminder to actually make this part of your life.
When I was growing up, I always had a bulletin board hanging on the wall over my bed. I loved to cut out pictures of things that inspired me or, in those day, some celebrity I had a crush on. Sometimes it would also include words or scraps of paper that were important to me or reminders of an event. I enjoyed the process of designing the board in addition to seeing it all the time.
Creating a vision board for a plant-based life that encompasses your goals is a wonderful motivator and daily reminder to actually make this part of your life.
WHAT IS A VISION BOARD
A vision board can be in any area you’d like to focus on--career, finance, travel, personal growth, relationships and health. It’s a great idea for the goal of eating plant-based to gain health and vitality, or to lose weight.
A vision board is a visualization of your goals and at its simplest form, it's a collection of images, ideas and objects.
The most important rule of creating a vision board is to choose images and words that express the way you want to FEEL, not unrealistic images of something unattainable. In other words, don't include an image of a tall skinny model if that's something you'll never be.
That being said, you also don’t want to make your goals so easily attainable that you don’t change your mindset or lifestyle at all. Find the happy spot that you know you can accomplish.
SETTING YOUR GOALS
As when setting any goal, think about visualizing goals that are SMART. S = Specific, M = Measurable, A = Attainable, R = Relevant, and T = Timely.
Example of a SMART goals made into a Vision Board.
S = Specific: “Get healthy” is too general, instead say, “I want to lose 25 pounds,” OR “I will eat no meat or dairy.” You can even break down your goals into smaller chunks such as, “I will eat no meat or dairy for breakfast and lunch.”
- Choose photos of or write the number 25 or the words LOSE 25 LBS.
- Find a photo of a people who look like you would like to look.
- Find photos of people working out, exercising, hiking, biking or walking.
- Find images of food that you know to help you lose weight.
M = Measurable: Use a scale and keep track with a chart.
- Photos of a scale or a tape measure. Write the numbers you want to achieve.
A = Attainable: It’s within the realm of possibility for you.
- Photos or words like “You can do it,” “Start now,” or “Yes, you can.”
R = Relevant: Is important to my health now
- Have an upcoming event you’re getting ready for? Put the invitation on the board or write the date of the next time you’ll be in to see the doctor.
- Choose words that are reasons for your transformation like: “To feel better,” “Look better in your clothes,” or “Lower my BMI.”
T = Timely: Set your accomplish by date.
- “By September 1st”
NOTE: Although you can create an online board through places like Pinterest, the advantage of doing a physical one is that you can see it every day. I suggest you make a physical one.
6 STEPS TO A POWERFUL HEALTH & PLANT-BASED DIET VISION BOARD.
1. Take time to think about what you want to achieve for your health goals. Think about the areas you are thriving in and other areas you want to improve on. And, put them in terms of the SMART GOALS listed above.
Also, think about what you want to FEEL. What kind of images make you feel good? For example, if exercising in nature makes you feel good in addition to accomplishing your goal of moving more to lose weight, find an image of nature.
2. Gather your supplies:
- Some kind of board - possibly a cork board, poster board, foam core or pin board. I purchase my supples at the local Walgreens. Etsy offers vision boards and kits, as well.
- Magazines to cut out inspiring photos and sayings, photos you have taken, or small memorabilia
- Printed images and words from an internet search
- Scissors, tape, glue, pins, markers, stickers, and other embellishments
3. Go through your magazine and tear out images and words. Print any internet photos that you like. Cut them down to feature what inspires you.
4. Before pinning or gluing, place the image over the board and rearrange until it seems suitable. If you’d like, put a photo of yourself in the center around which all the other images go. Take a photo so you can remember where things go.
5. Glue, tape or pin onto your board, leaving room for words you write with markers.
6. Hang in a place that you’ll see it often.
Plan at least 1-2 hours to spend working on your vision board. Also, you might want to set the scene - light some candles, play some music you like, make some tea, or drink some wine. This should be a fun experience. It didn't really take all that long to put mine together.
And finally, be creative. Make something that you love and will really inspire you.