Last week I wrote about a single technique to begin calming the inner critic, that voice in our heads that likes to remind us of all the reasons we might fail. This week, I’d like to share another stand-alone practice that can give your new goal or project an energetic boost, or start the proverbial ball rolling. It’s a writing exercise, but not necessarily a time-consuming one. I often do it in the mornings before breakfast in about five minutes. Here it is:
What if the goal or project you imagine had already been achieved? Write a few sentences in the present tense describing what you might be doing and what might be happening around you as if it were already true. For example, “I wake up in the morning having slept well. I have time to myself every day after work to cook, read, or spend time with my family. I organize my work so that the pace is challenging yet manageable, and communicate clearly and confidently with my colleagues.”
These statements may sound somewhat general. Yours, or course, will be tailored to your particular situation and current life goals. The “As If” writing technique asks us to travel into a parallel universe in which we are already living the lives we want, already achieving the goals we have identified. It matters not at all how likely or feasible this future may seem to your rational mind. In fact, it’s likely that your rational mind will reject all or part of this exercise. That’s fine. Just acknowledge the response and keep writing from your imagination, listening for another part of you that may be curious about the possibility that you are describing.
“As If” is one way we can use our innate creative faculties, not to design a painting, product or service, but to design our own life path. Once an idea takes hold in the imagination, our nervous system begins to seek out parts of that vision, or anything that may closely resemble it. We literally see things we may not have seen before: objects, colors, people, job listings, or connections that all accumulate momentum, feeding our goal and ultimately generating the circumstances for it to take shape.
Some guidelines for your “As If” journal:
1. Write in the present tense
2. Keep a small size journal (4x6 or 5 x7) and write a one-page entry per day (small tasks are most easily accomplished than big ones). If your journal is larger, write half a page.
3. Write only statements that feel positive and attractive to you, scenarios you would enjoy if they were to happen.
4. Write in the morning (really, anytime that fits your schedule is fine, but I find this exercise supports my mood for the rest of the day)
5. If your rational mind tries to tell you that what you’re writing is impossible, politely ask it to take a mental seat and wait until you’re done writing
6. Don't over-think this exercise. If you find yourself becoming anxious, stop and try again tomorrow
If you have experience with this or similar techniques, please share your story in the comments!
And if this kind of practice feels inspiring to you, please consider contacting me for a free empowerment consultation. Empowerment coaching is a goal-oriented system that guides you in shifting patterns of thought that are holding you back and creating vision-based strategies that result in lasting change.