Given that being good at a sport or achieving success with your at-home exercise regime requires more than just physical training, what can you do to give yourself a mental edge? As Robert Schleser, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, has observed, when elite athletes are not performing, they are most likely thinking about their sport and mentally rehearsing it.

Visualizing themselves engaged in their chosen activity, performing flawlessly at optimum potential, helps athletes to work out ahead of time how they will react to a myriad of circumstances. A competitive swimmer who mentally practices her stroke technique before slipping her toes into the water will swim better for the effort.

You don't have to be an elite athlete to benefit from mental imagery. This technique can help you perform more confidently in every area of your life, whether you want to increase the efficiency of your workout or give a better presentation at your company's annual meeting.