There is no question that goal setting is an incredibly important step when it comes to actually achieving the goals you set for yourself in life. You may know what you want in your mind, but by actually writing down specific goals on paper or on your computer, you help to make these goals even more real and you allow your mind to focus on getting there even more.

There is another trick that works perhaps even better for helping you achieve your goals and it is called Visualization. Visualization is pretty simple, you visualize yourself in your mind doing something and then you work to achieve that picture that you have created in your mind. You see, your mind can’t necessarily tell the difference between what is actually happening and what you are IMAGINING. So in effect, using the techniques of visualization alone can actually make you better at whatever it is that you do. A study conducted of college basketball players demonstrated this in details. In the 1980’s, a study was conducted that demonstrated the effects of a group of men actually practicing their basketball skills for 6 weeks versus another group who simply visualized going through the drills in their head. As it turned out, the group that merely visualized practicing showed as much or in some cases MORE improvement than the group that actually practiced the drills. While this was only on experiment and can’t be proof positive that this concept if foolproof, it does demonstrate that this concept may have some real merit.

One of the reasons why this exercise may prove effective for someone looking to improve a skill or reach a goal comes down to one simple thing…focus. When you are visualizing something, it can be much easier to focus on it than by actually doing it. Sounds like a weird concept, but here is an example. Imagine you are playing basketball yourself. You have to dribble the ball down the court and make a basket. When you are actually playing the game, you have the opponents to deal with, your teammates, the folks in the crowd, the sound of the buzzer and perhaps even other stimuli that can get in the way. It can be hard to focus on truly improving your game at that particular time. Even if you aren’t playing and are just practicing, your focus can be diminished by anything else that exists around you at the time. When you are visualizing, however, all your focus is on the skill you are trying to improve. You can spend time analyzing every detail of your moves…what works, what doesn’t, how to move your body in such a way to make you even more effective on the court. How to plant your feet before you make a shot and many other areas of the game you want to focus on. By visualizing, you increase your focus.

The key question is how do you do it? Visualization is easy, but first, rid yourself of distractions. You want a quiet room, but it doesn’t have to be completely dark or void of all noise. The goal is to focus, not go to sleep. Simply close your eyes, and picture yourself doing whatever it is that you want focus on. Perhaps you want to lose weight…then picture yourself thinner, or perhaps picture yourself running an extra mile every day. The more you can picture yourself doing or achieving whatever it is that you want, you will be much closer to actually getting there. The more specific and detailed your vision, the better your results.

No one is saying to stop actually DOING, but by adding the technique of visualization, you can help support your other efforts and you may just reach your goals much faster than ever before.

Author's Bio: , aka Emile Jarreau, is a 31-year veteran fitness professional and co-owner of in Long Beach, California. Also having 19 years of bodybuilding and figure coaching experience, he specializes in fat loss and all its aspects and freely shares online resources to the world.