Make Your New Year’s Resolution Come True: Drink Less with Visualization
Here we are – on the first day of a brand new year. What do you want your life to look like a year from now?
For many years, my new year’s resolution was to drink less alcohol in the upcoming year. Like many people who struggle with drinking, I knew I wanted to feel different in my life, but I could not quite see what that life would look like through the tinted wine bottles. Nor did I have the slightest idea of how I would get there. The disconnection created deep agony, probably one reason my new year’s resolution never lasted past the second week. Almost always, I would return to the one coping mechanism that I know, alcohol, to numb the pain from living a life that was so different from what I wanted. If you are feeling similar in your journey, you are NOT alone. Being unable to see a path from where you are to where you want to be can be immensely painful.
What if I tell you all you have to do today is to figure out where you want to be but not how to get there; and once you get crystal clear on your where, then the how will follow suit? Today, I want to share with you one of the most powerful tools I have learned in my quest for sobriety – visualization.
From Visualize to Materialize – What is Visualization?
Many people falsely believe visualization is daydreaming. In reality, it is much more than that – visualization is a mental workout, an intentional process of forming a mental image of your visions. “When you visualize, then you materialize,” says Denis Waitley.
The power of visualization is widely recognized in sport psychology. Many elite athletes incorporate mental imagery as a part of their training routines. Coaches and athletes understand that the more a routine is rehearsed in one’s mind, the more habitual and proficient the skills become. Science confirms the merit of such mental imagery practices. One study showed that by engaging in daily 15-minute mental finger abduction training for 12 weeks, participants could increase their finger abduction strength by 35%. How exactly does mental power translate into muscle power, you may wonder? Neuroscience is able to give us a glimpse of how our incredible mind works.
From Imagination to Reality – The Science Behind Visualization
Visualization is a powerful mental rehearsal as it can activate the motor cortex directly as a physical action would. In other words, the same brain region lights up when you imagine yourself ordering a non-alcohol drink as if you were actually ordering it in a restaurant. Repeat visualization allows you to rehearse and remember what you want to do, and prepare your body to coordinate movements to achieve the intended goals. Over time, as new connections form in your brain, your body is ready to carry out the actions without effort.
Visualization also allows your brain to become readily aware of any opportunities that may support your pursuit of the intended goal. This is because of the involvement of the brain’s Reticular Activating System. RAS is a traffic controller that controls the information flow to your consciousness. It filters out the information it deems irrelevant to your current goals and only allows the relevant ones to enter your conscious mind. Regular visualization keeps your goal in the forefront of your mind and lets RAS know it is currently one of your top priorities. Your subconscious mind receives the message and then works relentlessly to search for relevant information and solutions allowing them to enter your consciousness. If you visualize yourself having the best time of your life sober, then your subconscious mind will work diligently to bring ideas and opportunities to help make it into reality.
Crystalizing Your Vision – the Key of Visualization
If you are ready to tap into the power of visualization and make your new year’s resolution a reality, here are a few simple guidelines to get the most out of your visualization practice.
Be specific: Create as many details as possible in your vision, and engage all your senses when possible.
Be emotional: Imagine how you will feel when your vision comes true, allow yourself to feel the joy, the peace, and the gratitude.
Be frequent: Remind your RAS what is important by visualizing at least twice a day, and keep your vision in the center of your conscious and subconscious mind.
Ready to live a life where alcohol is small and irrelevant, where peace and freedom are restored? Start with getting really clear on the vision of your dream life. I have created this FREE Visualization Worksheet to help you crystalize your vision so that you can amplify the incredible power of your subconsciousness. May you find peace, joy, and true freedom in your quest.
Ranganathan VK, Siemionow V, Liu JZ, Sahgal V, Yue GH. From mental power to muscle power–gaining strength by using the mind. Neuropsychologia. 2004;42(7):944-56. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2003.11.018. PMID: 14998709.
Lohr, J. (2015, May 1). Can Visualizing Your Body Doing Something Help You Learn to Do It Better? Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-visualizing-your-body-doing-something-help-you-learn-to-do-it-better/?error=cookies_not_supported&code=32e58b31-bdc1-4cd0-a703-d3263ff9abbb
Rampton, J. (2018, April 24). Neuroscience Tells Us How to Hack Our Brains for Success. Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/growing-a-business/neuroscience-tells-us-how-to-hack-our-brains-for-success/295885