How we visualize ourselves in the future is half the battle of achieving our goals. Hard training disciplines us but we must believe we can achieve a higher level. Once we have that proper mind set, we work hard towards that goal. In karate we use a rank system (standards within a system or dojo) to recognize a person's improvement. I like to think of it as a sensei seeing us reach our goals.
I tell my students to picture themselves as the rank they are working towards. For example. As a brown belt one should envision themselves as a black belt. Not just any shodan, but a good one. Then the brown belt should work to look like that shodan. The sensei see's their students improvement and in the proper time gives that kyu rank their shodan. Just repeat this process over and over again.
Don't train in your current rank. Train like the rank or level you are working towards.
Richard Ruberto Sensei
Isshinryu of NY