In her must-read book Life Is Short, Don't Wait to Dance, Miss Val provides a great method to develop new habits:
"How do you improve yourself through the inspiration of others while still being true to you? I learned to embrace a shift in my mindset to "Act As If". Most of us already have a story we're living by, but it's unconscious. When you "Act As If", you take control and make your story conscious, even if you don't feel it's your default mode at that moment. "Acting As If" is a powerful tool that can put you in a position to gain experience and knowledge until you no longer need to act and instead can simply be.
I first incorporated this philosophy when I was 18 years old, dancing and struggling with finding the perfect diet, when I made the decision to stop thinking of myself as an overweight dancer who needed to lose weight. Instead, I started to think of myself as a lean, fit, "heath nut."
It was remarkable how quickly my habits changed from sneaking chips and overeating to only eating when I was hungry and then only eating healthy food. Part of what helped me was to observe the habits of people I felt were really fit. I found that they ate slowly; they weren't obsessed with food when it was around; and they never finished a meal. I followed their lead and gave myself a consistent internal reminder to "Act As If" I was a health nut. It worked.
Here are a few of my "Act As If" buttons that, even today, I find myself constantly pushing to reboot:
I act as if I'm super healthy. For me, this means eating clean and exercising at least a few times per week.
I act as if I'm organized. I need a refresh and reboot on this one a lot, sometimes multiple times a day. At home, it helps that Bobby is super organized and tidy. That makes my mess an eyesore and an unavoidable reminder of the need to change my default of being a slob. Even if I only put a few things away each day, at least I'm doing something to "Act As If" I'm organized.
I act as if I'm a morning person. This means planning my life, so I get up early and get going, even on the weekends. This helps prevent me from feeling lethargic during the week when I do have to get up early. I also refuse to allow myself to say anything negative about "having" to getting up early. Instead, I have gotten in the habit of waking up and thinking, "Yay, I get another day."
What new habit do you want to try the "Act As If" approach on?