Achieve Goals with Mental Rehearsal

By on April 9, 2011

By Kelly Stallings, MS, LPC

Weight loss has become one of the most popular goals for Americans. Our fast paced, fast food culture is getting faster and fatter. This has made losing weight   priority for health reasons more than vanity.

As with any goal, it is important to be specific about your weight loss goals. How much weight do you need to lose to be healthy? What is the appropriate caloric intake needed to reach the goal weight? How much physical activity is required to burn calories for weight loss? As you develop these goals along with others to reach your ultimate weight loss goal, record them in detail for ongoing reference. A written reference of your goals allows you to monitor and identify goal achievement.

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So how do you stay motivated to achieve an aggressive weight loss goal? Mental rehearsal is my personal favorite technique for achieving goals. I have seen mental rehearsal make a major difference in people’s lives. Mental rehearsal can keep you motivated toward your goal and boost your mood anywhere, anytime.

Here are the easy to follow instructions for mental rehearsal. Make yourself comfortable in bed with your body straight and uncrossed arms and legs. Relax your body as you slow your breathing to a relaxing pace. Create a vivid picture or visualization in your mind of you at your goal weight. Create this visualization using all of your senses. See this picture including the environment or activity that you will be engaged, hear the sounds you will hear, smell the smells you will smell, and feel the textures you will feel in this picture. The more detailed and robust your visualization, the easier it will be to think and behave in ways that create this visualization as your reality. This is an easy technique that offers a huge benefit.

Elite athletes have used the mental rehearsal technique for decades to improve their already elite skills. They repeatedly visualize and mentally rehearse perfect execution of their skill in vivid detail. This mental practice creates the same neural experience that physical practice creates which is why it is so effective. Think of it as reprogramming your subconscious to automatically behave in ways that support your vision. The famous pro golfer, Jack Nicklaus, has been quoted as stating that he never takes a shot at a golf ball without vividly visualizing the swing and perfect execution first. This technique is no longer reserved for the elite athlete. Start visualizing and mentally rehearsing your perfect body wearing the clothes you will wear and doing the activities you will be doing to start thinking and acting in ways necessary to make this mental rehearsal a reality. You will amaze yourself at how effective this practice is for goal achievement.

Mental rehearsal is just as effective for weight loss as it is for pro golfer performance. Are you questioning the effectiveness of this concept? Test it. Quickly bring to your mind an image of your body. What does it look like? I am going to guess that it looks similar to your current physical state. We make decisions and take actions that support our beliefs. If you believe that you are overweight, your actions will reflect that belief and continue to support you being overweight. Have you ever heard of anyone saying they feel like a thin person trapped in a large body? I doubt it.

I recommend that folks new to mental rehearsal and visualization practice this right before falling asleep while comfortable in bed. This is a great way to relax your body for sleep and positive dreams.

If you notice that your mood becomes grumpy as you begin using the mental rehearsal technique, understand that this is normal. Many people report feeling like using mental rehearsal is like lying to themselves about their weight. Since your current physical state is not the optimal goal weight you are visualizing, it is natural that your conscious mind will fight the experience of mentally rehearsing something that is not true at the moment. Continue daily practice with this technique and you will move through the moodiness and start believing that it is possible for you to achieve this goal. Only when you believe the weight loss is possible, will you lose the weight and keep it off.

The simplicity of these techniques may be a reason that many people do not make these techniques a habit for goal achievement. If you are one of those people who think that weight loss is hard, you will succeed in fulfilling that prophecy. Choose to decide that weight loss is easy. Write down your short and long term goals and mentally rehearse being at your goal weight. Use these easy techniques to create your weight goals and accomplish amazing weight loss results!

Kelly Stallings is a psychotherapist and author of Life is Mental: Think Thin to Live Thin, the easy mental formula for permanent weight loss. Kelly gives Life is Mental training tips on and

About Kelly Stellings

Kelly Stallings is a licensed psychotherapist and the author of Life is Mental: Think Thin to Live Thin, the simple solution for addressing the mental aspect of weight loss. Since 1994, she has worked with people to create significant changes in their life including increased overall physical health by teaching the appropriate uses of cognitive behavioral techniques for healthy living. She has extensive experience training medical professionals on the appropriate uses of cognitive behavioral techniques for client’s healthy living. Kelly’s book and training have been featured on several television news shows, radio shows and popular magazines like American Baby and Success for Women. She is a dynamic speaker who quickly engages the audience and puts them at ease with her warm, ‘no fluff’ personality. Connect with Kelly on Facebook and twitter to receive her Life is Mental tips and techniques. Get Free Life is Mental Gifts at Follow Kelly on Facebook and twitter to get daily motivation and Life is Mental training tips.

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Achieve Goals with Mental Rehearsal