As you jump into 2014, you’re probably thinking about your future.
Even though you might be optimistic, you may have a few concerns about what could happen.
Here’s how to take charge of your future and turn it into reality.
Try this mantra…
Visualize to actualize. This gets it going (starts the behavior)
Ritualize to actualize. This keeps it going. (turns the behavior into habit)
It all starts with VISUALIZATION.
This means deciding what result you want in the future and how you want it to look.
Here’s a simple example about how to ‘create’ a piece of your future…
The future statement could be “I want to be in better physical shape than I am now”.
Start by visualizing what this means to you. Does it mean losing weight? Wearing a smaller size clothing? Having more energy? Being sick less often?
Whatever you choose, the next step is to form a PICTURE in your head of what this ‘looks’ like to you. You may see yourself with your current jeans hanging loosely because you are thinner. You may see yourself energetically running up and down the stairs. You may see healthy food in your fridge and a smile on your face as you open it.
Once you have the picture, it’s time to turn it into an actual set of behaviors that will make it a reality. In other words, MOVE from visualize to ACTUALIZE.
To do this, break it into small BITE-SIZED PIECES. For example, if you choose ‘losing weight’, it has two simple components – diet and exercise.
Starting with exercise – if you’re not doing any now, just start doing something. Maybe taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If it’s too far to walk up, then take the elevator up and walk down – letting gravity help you.
When it comes to diet – make simple changes. A piece of fruit instead of a candy bar. Cut down on the sugar in your coffee. Eat fried foods less often.
To turn these new behaviors into habit, move to the NEXT phase – RITUALIZE.
Ritualizing means making it part of your everyday life. The most important piece of this ritualization is to CONSCIOUSLY MONITOR the conversation you’re having with yourself around the new behaviors.
Here’s what this looks like.
“I don’t take the elevator any more”. “If I want a sugar hit, I eat fruit”. “My coffee is too sweet. It needs less sugar.” “Fried food is really bad for me.”
If you repeat these conversations over and over with yourself (ritualize), the new behavior will more quickly become both a healthy ‘habit’ and the way you now live (actualize). The new healthy conversations will have overwritten the old, unhealthy conversations, and you’ll no longer need to repeat them.
By going through these steps you will have predicted your future by CREATING it.
This process can be applied to ANYTHING you want to create for yourself in your future – all the way from getting the car you’ve always wanted to the job of your dreams.
(And, thanks to James Kerr’s wonderful leadership book “Legacy” for the phrase ‘ritualize to actualize’).