Michael Phelps not only won 23 gold medals because he was a superior swimmer to those that he competed against but he was also a superior visualiser (I’m not even sure that’s a word).

The 2 types of visualisation he used so effectively were:

1. External Visualisation

Where he would ‘watch’ himself from poolside, imagining how he wanted his race to go.

2. Internal Visualisation

Where he’d view swimming the race as he normally would but with the anticipation of different things going wrong:

  • Goggles fogging up

  • The water being colder than he expected

  • His shorts ripping

  • Starting poorly

  • Swallowing water

EVERYTHING that could have possibly gone wrong, he visualised happening over and over and over again. This meant that when it came to race day he didn’t need to worry about anything going wrong because he’d already visualised it happening and knew exactly how to respond it if did.

This, I feel, is a strategy people should adopt when it comes to setting ANY goal, not just winning olympic gold, when we set out to transform our health.

We often only plan for our good days.

We have a plan for how we’ll train when we feel at our best.

How we’ll eat when we are at our most disciplined.

How hard we’ll push ourselves when we’re at our most motivated

Which is great but what about when you don’t feel like this? What about when things go wrong and life gets in the way? Because it will. What are you going to do when you’re stressed, short on time, or in an environment you didn’t expect to find yourself in?

‘The man that predicts his future troubles, takes their powers away’

So, if you want to see really great results and continue to sustain them over the long term then predict what these future troubles may be and write down your pre planned responses. Be ready for when they arrive because that way, they are simply ON the way Not IN the way and you can continue on your own path to gold.

If it’s good enough for the greatest Olympian of all time then it’s good enough for us.

Mark Hallam - IoM Health Coach

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