Use LeBron James' simple visualization ritual to get what you want out of the new year

Use LeBron James' simple visualization ritual to get what you want out of the new year
Utah Jazz forward Jeff Green, right, defends against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, as he drives to the basket in the first half during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
  • LeBron James is a hugely successful athlete.
  • But his success is not just the product of physical talents.
  • He takes a cerebral, deliberate, ritualized approach to the game and to life.
  • Visualization is a key technique, says Mike Mancias, his trainer for over 15 years.
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LeBron James is one of the most successful athletes of all time.


Beyond his three NBA titles and four "most valuable player" awards, the living legend is also a voice of social justice - advocating for, among other things, pay for college athletes.

Everything the King does is incredibly strategic. And the way he executes his many strategies, on and off the court, is a lesson for strivers anywhere: Rather than leaving things as an abstract objective, like a New Year's resolution, translate the change you want to make into a ritual, or a simple action you can take day to day.

Take it from Mike Mancias, his trainer for over 15 years. In a recent conversation with Business Insider, Mancias said that James is "constantly doing some sort of visualization."

It's a matter of getting away from the phone, getting to a quiet place, and working through in his mind "everything required" for a given day or a given game.


Same thing before suiting up for the Lakers: "Before a game, he'll take a minute or two to himself, and he'll visualize the game and how he sees the game and how he prepares for the game," Mancias says, "and obviously it has a positive outcome."

You would be forgiven for assuming that James' success is simply the product of once-in-a-generation physical gifts. But elite athletics are defined by mental acuity - the highest-performing athletes are supernaturally quick visual learners, which manifests in being able to read the movement of their allies and opponents on the floor.

Hence why he can, as Business Insider's Tyler Lauletta said, recite "a random play from memory as if he had just watched the replay."

Mancias emphasized that the visualization approach is a "ritual": something that the superstar comes back to, day after day, to help structure his days and weeks.

That's a key insight for the New Year: Instead of settling for some vague resolution, choose a habit that can directly help you accomplish what's most valuable to you - be that winning a championship, or championing social change.