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What can your biggest sporting hero tell you about success?

Communication Skills Training Course Dublin

I’ve been talking a lot about habits recently; getting rid of the ones that are doing us no good and replacing with ones that are beneficial to our life, including health, work and relationships.

You may recall I mentioned that it takes the average person 66 days for new behaviours to become unchangingly automatic, with research finding it can take some people up to 245 days to change a habit. The reason for this is that it can take a while to strengthen the connection between neurons representing the new behaviour.

You may not be this patient? I know I certainly am not! And because of that I often in the past have given up on attempting to form new more useful and healthier habits. Some of my attempts have included many efforts to eat healthier, getting fit and staying fit, maintaining a level of contentedness and gratitude in my daily life, blogging weekly about adaptas™ or topics of interest to clients and friends of adaptas™, posting daily messages in social media that might be helpful to anyone who cares to read in the area of communication in the workplace and behavioural change..the list goes on and on…frankly, we could be here all day!

Now, let me ask you, have you ever visualised what you want to be, learn, or do? There is endless research into using visualisation in Cognitive Psychology and Sports Psychology. Successful athletes utilise visualisation by way of mental practice. Mental practice is the cognitive (thinking) rehearsal of a physical skill without movement.

So much research with athletes has shown us that thinking about how to perform a skill plus physically performing it works better than just physical execution for learning and remembering skills. Any sportsperson at the top of their game will tell you that mind preparation strategies are essential for producing maximum or peak performance. And the science behind this is, that it strengthens that neural pathways I keep referring to!

I have known all about the strengthening of connections between neurons, and all that jazz, from studying Psychology in-depth since the I was a teenager (and ongoing). Actually I think I was always a mini-psychologist as I was always obsessed from I think the age of 8 years (maybe younger, but I don’t recall those years) about what makes us human, why we behave the way we do, what impact our experiences have on us. I have also always been intrigued with observing people and their reactions to their environment! Before you start accusing me of being a voyeur of some sort, my biggest case study has been myself! ;-).

Even though I knew all about visualisation, it really only hit me recently (i.e. that there are ways to speed up these neuronal connections), through conversation with my colleague Erika Brodnock (Erika Brodnock, CEO and Founder, The Centre for Positive Children Ltd), that if you actually visualise the neuronal connections happening, you can speed up the process of changing your habits!

If you want to learn about effectively visualising (not all of us find it easy!), keep an eye on our blogs in coming weeks.

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