BPF Blog

Motivation hack: Act As If

One of the more interesting pieces of advice I’ve come across in the world of motivation and self-improvement is to “act as if.” This concept is used by addiction counselors, psychologists and coaches to help people motivate themselves, complete tasks and achieve goals. The idea is to imagine yourself having already achieved whatever goal you’re working toward. Imagine how you would behave, how you would feel, how you would carry yourself, what decisions you would make, and then do those things. If you’re able to put yourself in the mindset, the habits and practices you adopt will move you toward achieving the state you’re seeking in reality.

So, let’s say you want to run your first 5k. You’ve never done something like that before, and maybe you doubt your ability to do it, or even to stay motivated enough to train for it. So, you decide to “act as if” you are already someone who enjoys running, and runs 5ks with relative ease. How would that version of you act? Dress? Carry yourself? Etc. The “old” you might drag your feet after getting out of work and skip your planned run. This version of you looks forward to getting out there, knowing you’ll feel accomplished and relaxed after you’re done. Your whole body language changes – it’s time to run, so you are smiling, head up and shoulders back while the “old” you might have slumped your shoulders and made a comment about how you didn’t feel like it. It’s like acting – you have to get into character! When you adopt the mannerisms of a more confident, excited version of yourself, the actual feelings of confidence and excitement don’t take too long to follow. You’ve probably heard the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it.” Same concept.

Sound interesting? Try it out on something small. What’s something you have to do but aren’t looking forward to, or you feel nervous about? Now imagine yourself feeling confident and happy to be doing the task. Really picture it in your mind; feel it in your body. Then, act as if that’s really you, and do your task. Bet you’ll notice a difference!