Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Getting Clear About What You Want

What is it that you want?

We all want so many things.  But wanting and achieving are two separate things. You can want all day long, but if you don't believe and visualize the achievement of the goal then you are just going to exhaust yourself over wanting.

This year my goal for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon was to drop ten minutes off of my finish time. I visualized myself crossing the finish line, looking at my watch, and seeing my goal time over and over. Even during the actual race itself, when I would get tired I would go back and visualize my finish and it never failed to make me kick it up a notch. I know that sounds funny, but it works. Sure enough, my run went the exact way that I had envisioned it, down to my placement in the finish chute (far left next to the spectators so their cheering pumped me up), the running style (long strides), the breathing (controlled: in through the nose, out through the mouth), the focus of my eyes (the medal), and the celebration (like Tom Cruise jumping on the couch on Oprah). What I had envisioned for myself I had allowed to manifest.

When I swam, I always thought "meditation time" was just a great excuse to get out of the pool, stop working out, and lay around. At 8 years old you do not understand the benefit of visualizing a start, a breakout, a flip turn, or a strong finish. All you care about is getting out of a workout (woohoo!). Fast forward to when I was about 12 years old and I actually started participating in the meditation with my teammates. I listened to my coaches voice with my eyes closed, I pictured myself prior to hopping up onto the starting block right down to me spitting into my goggles so they didn't fog up on me during my swim. I could feel the water hit my body as I entered in, I could feel my arms and legs cut through it with each paddle and kick. Once I started doing that, I started achieving my goal times with swimming and since, meditation has just sort of stuck.

Many people have a misconception about meditation. When you talk about meditation so many people think it is sitting in a zen-like room, repeating Oohms in complete silence. You could do that, but meditation can also be so much easier. You can meditate right before you go to sleep, when you first wake up in the morning, or even while at work. Meditation does not have to be as defined as you think it needs to be. It just needs to be structured in a way that it is done when you have a moment of quiet, and a moment where you can focus. It can last 1 minute or 30 minutes (or more). Once you have thought clearly about a particular idea multiple times, it is easy to take yourself to "that place" in your mind and visualize everything. Thus, meditation gets easier and more rewarding the more you do it.

Meditation allows us to get REALLY clear about what we want. In fact, studies have shown that if we close our eyes and imagine ourselves participating in a particular activity, that we can make ourselves experience the emotions associated with that activity as if it is really occurring. Don't believe me? Try it. And really try it, don't just close your eyes and say, "I'm picturing myself winning the lottery and I feel nothing". Allow yourself to wander for a while, enjoy the time "living" your dream, and then tell me you feel nothing. If you are feeling nothing, you are not clear about what you want. When you have a clear sense, a crystal clear vision, and a drive to achieve something you can picture your exact outcome.

Meditation isn't for everyone. There will always be those that say meditation is a crock of crap that doesn't work, and to each their own. For me, I keep breaking my goals and achieving success and I personally feel that meditation has helped me get to that point, so I'm going to keep on meditating. If you have never tried it, I suggest you give it a whirl. Start taking a few minutes each night this week before you go to bed and think about what you want. Do you want to quit your job? Do you want to take your family on a dream vacation? What about buy a new car? The following steps will help you start to meditate on such an idea in order to help compel you to take action and reach your goals:

1) Envision your goal in its most basic form. What do you want?

2) Get more specific. If you want a new car, what kind, what color, what features, does it have tinted windows? Specify your want.

3) Imagine yourself achieving your goal. If it's a car, imagine your hands gripping the soft leather of the steering wheel. Imagine the key in your hands as you put into the ignition for the first time (or maybe you push to start). What does the engine sound like. Are you in your driveway, or at the dealership? Window up or down? Is there a breeze?

4) "Live" your goal. Take a few minutes to drive in your new car. What are you seeing as you drive past? Who are you waving to? Where are you going? What does the sun feel like on your skin as it comes in through your window.

This is what I mean by getting CLEAR. Your vision needs to be a movie of your achievement playing in your mind. Again, this takes practice but the more you practice, the clearer it will become, the more realistic it will become, and without knowing it you will start to take the necessary actions needed to achieve it.

Dream on!

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