Last week I wrote about being a yoga teacher that hasn’t practiced since last June ( Which you can read here: Yoga Every Day?). Since then, I have rolled out my mat every day, even if it’s just to do a short practice. There is something about writing it down, putting the mental picture in your head, or telling on yourself that motivates behavior change.
In therapy, we call this “Acting As If” and it is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy technique. Basically, it asks clients to pretend. If you hate giving speeches in front of people, act as if you really love it and you’re really good at it. If you hate working out, next time you go to the gym, act as if you love it. If you hate folding laundry, act as if it’s your favorite chore. In prescribing this homework assignment for clients, it allows them to experiment with different roles, attitudes, and preferences and it usually leads to a mindset shift.
Often times we believe everything we think. We assume that the thoughts that go through our mind are data driven and reliably tested, when actually, they’re not! Your brain is highly highly susceptible to persuasion, even from yourself! Tell your brain that you can’t wait to get to the gym and it will believe you. Have fun experimenting with feeling differently than you’re used to. Let your behaviors drive your feelings for once, instead of the other way around.
This is basically what I did when I wrote that blog posts about my yoga practice. By writing that post, the picture was implanted in my brain of practicing yoga and since then, my body has followed through.
What ways do you hold yourself accountable? What practices could you change/make more enjoyable by “Acting As If”?