The Power of Your Self-Image. Why Visualisation & Positive Self Talk Work

The Power of Your Self-Image. Why Visualisation & Positive Self Talk Work


Did you know that you hold an idea of yourself that creates your reality?

You have a set of stories, images and ideas about yourself that form your self-concept, and your self-concept creates the self you live in, and what you can and cannot do.

“The strangest secret is that we become what we think about most of the time.” – Earl Nightingale

Inside your Self-Concept is your Self-Image, how you perceive your body; how it looks and how it performs. Your health, your strength, your body fat levels, your fitness, your capabilities, your body shape, your “trouble” zones, are all influenced (if not outright dictated) by your self-image.

How does our Self-Image get created?

Your self-image is a mishmash of influences and experiences you had when you were very little, things people said to you, decisions you made or ideas you accepted from others. Things you assumed or deduced based on how people treated you as a child and teenager. These ideas then get locked in place as you grow up and become self-fulfilling prophecies for your life and your capabilities.

If you want to HAVE more and DO more; achieve more, then you must BE more. If you want to BE more, to stretch yourself, grow and expand into new capabilities, you need to address your Self-Image first. It determines who you are. The best way to change your Self-Image is through focussed mental rehearsal/ visualisation and repeated practice.

Amazing as it sounds, you don’t actually experience your senses through your skin, eyes, ears or nose, or mouth. You experience the world inside your brain. It is your brain that takes in, sorts and organises your sensory data into what you experience. This is relevant because your brain and unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what you can clearly imagine happening, and what really happens. You’ll know this to be true from any vivid dream you can recall. When you are dreaming, you are experiencing that dream as if it is real, even though your body is lying in your bed asleep.

Inside your brain there are pathways that your thoughts travel down; electrical currents like little roads and highways. When we think a thought over and over the pathway gets strengthened from a road to a highway, and it becomes easier and easier for you to think and believe that thought. At this cellular level, your thoughts affect and change your body instantly! When you truly believe that thought and it becomes a part of your self-image then your unconscious habits and choices will reflect that identity you hold for yourself, you will naturally start to live in congruence with that idea.

If you have been repeating negative things to yourself for years and years, they will have become ingrained in your self-imageand you will notice yourself struggling with “bad habits”. You may notice things like: ‘I’m clumsy’, or ‘I’m no good at sports’, or ‘I’m big boned.’, ‘I have no willpower’  pepper your thoughts.  If you have negative ideas like these affecting your self-image, it’s time to begin to change them!


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Visualisation and positive self-talk work because:

  • Every repetition of the positive thought or image strengthens the neural pathways inside your brain that correlate to that thought and weaken the pathways to the opposite thought.
  • As you repeat it more and more it will begin to overwrite the old negative self-image you had of yourself in your unconscious mind.
  • Your unconscious mind dictates your habits, desires and motivations based on your values and your self-image.
  • When you visualise goals regularly your unconscious mind thinks you have already achieved that goal and you begin to naturally live as if you are already that person, then actually achieving the goal becomes easy because you feel like you’ve already done it before!
  • When you get ‘tested’ in the real world, (i.e. “Would you like a piece of cake?”) your positive ideas about yourself dictate the choices you make because they are the strongest pathways in your brain and your thoughts naturally flow down those paths. (“No thanks! I’m ok.”)

Use self-talk & visualisation to adjust your self-image.

  • Create a vivid image of your achievement using the 3 P’s of goal visualisation: Positive, Personal, Present tense. Imagine your goal unfolding perfectly, as if it is happening right now, see out of your own eyes and clearly imagine all the things you will be seeing, hearing, feeling and experiencing as you do this.
  • Notice your self talk as you imagine yourself having achieved that goal.
    How do you talk to yourself?
    What do you now believe about yourself and what you are capable of?
    What do you say to yourself? What do you say about yourself?
    What is the tone of voice that you talk to yourself in?
    What kind of words do you use?
    Are you compassionate? Encouraging? Determined?
    How good does it feel?

Self-image action plan.

1. Take stock of how you currently identify yourself. Complete the sentence “I am…” with as many things you can think of, positive and negative about yourself.

2. Mark a few key negative ideas you would like to shift, and create a goal statement that contradicts them in a positive way.. eg: if you think you are not fit or not a runner, imagine yourself crossing the finish line of a marathon exhilarated, fit and healthy.

3. Get up 20 – 60 mins earlier in the morning. (Depends how long you want to spend on changing your thoughts!)

4. Write out your goals in present tense, by hand every morning. Add in more details as they come to mind.

5. Visualise yourself as having this in your life now. Imagine every detail of the moment of achieving this. It doesn’t matter if you think it is ridiculous or it’s not possible, just keep imagining it in vivid, colourful, exciting detail. Smile. Relax. Enjoy creating this moment of success. Notice how good it feels. (You can do this while you are exercising too!)

6. Repeat every morning for 90 days.

7. Take massive daily action consciously living as if you have achieved that goal already.

8. Hold on for the ride of your life as your focussed action changes your world faster than you thought possible!

Join the conversation.

What do you think?  What’s your experience of this?
Please share your visualisations-come-true stories!

Big welcome to our V100 Runners! Let me know how your self-image has been shifting as a results of your run club practice and lead up race achievements…

Comments (5)

  1. Kylie, thanks a million for this article. It is spot on – for the place where I am on my journey. I have become what I have thought about – and they are not always positive thoughts and images. I commit to the 90 day challenge of writing my goals every day and visualising myself in my new life right now. Hang on – it ‘s going to be a wild ride. Karen

    • Yeah Kaz!! You become what you think about. It’s so obvious to see when you think about it, right? Your past thoughts pos & neg created the you you are today, what is easy and what is a struggle. So, your current thoughts will create your future life. I LOVE that you’re committing to the 90 day goal writing challenge. I think it’s time for a throw down, Who else is up for it? I’ve been actively writing mine out for 4 days and am noticing a difference in myself in that short time, amazing. The writing seems to really speed things up. I’m very proud of you for committing to this! Can’t wait to hear about your experience of it. Kylie.

  2. I am in
    Still struggling big time with so much but starting tomorrow morning I going to start the 90 day challenge.
    Will post my statements and goals when I write them for advice and comment
    Also making a commitment to listening to the hypnosis downloads as well

    • Hey Barb! How are you going with your challenge? Can you post your goal here, so I can help you make it as strong as it can be… Best, Kylie

  3. Pingback: Lose the Last 5kgs, Motivation Tips & Tricks | My Mind Coach

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