USING MENTAL IMAGERY FOR MOTIVATION

Sometimes we get in those moods. We’re tired and uninspired, and we just don’t want to do it anymore. Commence with the Netflix and chilling, I say! When it comes to times like this, I always tell people to use imagination over motivation. Let me give you an example of what I mean by imagination over motivation.

Just the other day I was playing some drinking games with my friends. It was a two-on-two kind of game and naturally, there was banter and good-natured shit-talking as there should be in all groups of good male friends.

My partner and I were poking fun at our opponents, telling them that if we were a tribe, that they would be gatherers of the tribe and that our team would be hunters. Not that there’s anything wrong with gathering, but all men want to be a hunter. Belittling your opponents is a huge part of psychological warfare when it comes to party games.

Our team lost a round and so we had to drink, and my partner was starting to lose the motivation to keep on going. I turned to him and said,” you can do it dude. You’re a hunter.”

The funniest thing happened. His eyes lit up and he said,” you’re right. I’m a hunter.” He chugged his beer and came back to the game with a new energy. I couldn’t help but laugh and admire the wonderful tool that mental imagery is.

All that my friend had to do in order to find motivation to keep fighting was to imagine himself as a hunter. It’s a mysterious thing, how we can find power within ourselves by imagining ourselves as someone who is powerful.

Often in times when I find myself wanting to give up, I will tell myself you are a warrior. I imagine myself as a warrior and in some weird sort of way, I tap into the spirit of that warrior, and I’m ready to keep going. I am Mike Tyson in his prime, and nobody can stop me.

So when you’re feeling unmotivated, try using mental imagery in a positive way to refuel that flame. Imagine yourself as the warrior, or as the hunter or even as a power animal like the tiger or the gorilla.

Creating a strong mental image can revive your physical energy in a strange way that I don’t fully understand, but I’m sure we have all experienced this phenomenon in some way before.

I once read the words of a man who claimed to imagine himself as the stag, with antlers protruding, whenever he felt that he was lacking in confidence. This method was of great benefit to him, and he would once again pick his head up and throw his shoulders back and find that his confidence was renewed.

The cover picture is of a painting I did recently of Master Frog vs Warlord Snake. Master Frog is a warrior who faces evil with an unwavering heart and unshakable spirit. Be like Master Frog. Be a warrior or a hunter. Be the mighty tiger or proud stag. All it takes is a little imagination to get you there.

When you feed your attention to imaginings of ‘Netflix and chill’ -ing, soon you start experiencing feelings associated with flopping out on the couch with snacks, the relaxation, the excitement of the movie and the comfort of your couch and a blanket.

See where this is going? Those mental images and feeling associated with them become stronger as you feed them attention and soon you forget about that workout you were supposed to do or it just seems like such a horrid alternative to Netflix and chilling that you make some kind of excuse to justify your decision to put off exercise.

What you should do when you recognize that you’re paying attention to imaginings of things you are trying to avoid doing (Netflix) is to imagine that thing you should do (exercising) and the feelings associated with that activity. Focus on the opposite, and the positive feelings associated with it.

Let’s say you’re driving home from work, and you’re tired and you’ve had a long day. You had told yourself that today you were going to go to the gym and workout after work, but now all you can think about is how hard that sounds and how much more appealing Netflix and chilling sounds.

STOP!

Quit feeding your attention to what you shouldn’t do and focus on the opposite: going to the gym!

Imagine how you feel when your muscles are pumped up. Imagine the feeling of strength you get after lifting weights. Imagine feeling good about yourself and confident for being disciplined when its easier to be a couch potato. Imagine getting to your goals and how accomplished you’ll feel.

If you have a decent imagination and you can form mental pictures, soon you’ll be feeling a renewed energy. You’ll be excited to get to the gym and lift weights. You’ll have a good workout and come home feeling refreshed. Then you can reward yourself with Netflix and chilling because you deserve it. You did what you needed to do.

Be aware of what you’re thinking and imagining because it determines what happens in your life. If you’re lacking motivation, use mental imagery to create motivation. You decide what you want to give your attention to and don’t get lost in your thoughts and mental pictures. Instead be a conscious creator of your mental imaginings and direct them in ways that will positively influence your life and well-being.

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