W ith a new year upon us, there is a zing of energy in the air. Our hearts beat for change, as we optimistically have our sights set on the future. Usually, on NewYear’s Eve, I sit down andmake a list of goals to accomplish in the upcoming year. The list often looks something like this:
Another invaluable skill my father taught me growing up is the skill of“visualization.”This year, I will visualize myself achievingmy goals. For example, if I want to run a half-marathon, I will visualize myself lacing upmy running shoes, puttingmy hair up in a ponytail, stepping foot onto our cement driveway, and taking off jogging down the road. I’ll visualize myself scaling hills and running through snow, rain, and scorching heat. I’ll visualize myself on race day, pinning the bib onto the front of my shirt. I’ll hear the start gun fire and the crowds cheer, and I will visualize myself crossing the finish line. This is howwe visualized inmy household. I was taught to be detailed about my visualization – seeing, hearing, and even tasting the moment. I so believed in this technique when I was younger that I hadmy middle school basketball teammates sit in a circle at center court prior to games, close their eyes, and tell everyone on the teamone thing they visualized themselves doing during our game that night. We said things like,“I see myself getting low on defense and keeping my hands up,”or“I see myself making every free throw.”How on earth I was able to persuade 12- and 13-year-old girls to sit around in a circle and do this, I have no idea. I usually visualizedmyself bouncing the ball three times, liningmy toes up to the line, hearing silence fall over the crowd, getting the ball gripped perfectly to shoot, and then gracefully arcing the ball up into the air and down through the net. Swoosh. I grewmore andmore confident inmy game, and so didmy teammates. We won the county championship every year of middle school. As I’ve aged, it has become apparent tome how incredibly important the mind is to accomplishing goals. Visualization is not just something to be applied to sports, but to all aspects of life. I challenge you to give visualization a try. You will notice howmuchmore confidently you tackle tasks because, in your mind, you’ve already done it. Lastly, everyday I will be kind tomyself. It is so easy to compare ourselves to one another and feel as though we are not doing our best. What we must recognize is the great diversity in all of our situations. We must be kind to ourselves. I urge you to choose one thing you will tell yourself every single day when you wake up and look in the mirror. Better yet, tell yourself that thing over and over throughout the day. You could think it to yourself every time you walk through the door or every time you get into your car. Whatever you choose, be consistent and persistent. It is much easier to be a“thoughtful daughter,”a“patient parent,”or a“dependable friend”when you truly believe you are one.
Learn to play a new instrument
Call my friends at least once a month
Visit my grandpa more often
Eat less sugar
Read at least one book eachmonth
Sometimes I accomplish the goals, and sometimes I don’t. Many times, my list ends up beingmore of a list of“things I would like to do,”rather than a game plan to actually make those things happen. This year, I’mdoing it differently. Early inmy life, I learned the importance of a positive attitude. My sister has memories of my father encouraging her to stand in front of a mirror and say,“It’s a great day to get up and get at‘em!”I have the same memory of enthusiastically reciting that phrase, except I said it in the car with my father on his way to dropme off at school. I learned that I can choose to have a good day and a productive day simply by telling myself I will. Each day is a new day, and I have the power to start the
day confidently and cheerfully. It is a lot easier to be productive when you are positive from the outset of the day. I encourage you to try this – you can use this phrase or make up your own, tomake sure you are setting the tone to have a good day every day.
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As the new year begins, all of us at FSTNwish you a healthy and happy new year.
–Katie Fleschner McMullen
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