Over on his blog Raptitude, David Cain argues that effort isn’t enough. Instead of relying on hustle alone, Cain explains that we have to believe and behave like the person we are trying to be from day one:
We often regard the “baby steps” explanation as being the complete story, because we presume that success is more-or less just a matter of effort. But there’s something more important at play that we often miss, which is the change in self-image that always comes along with a successful change in habit or behavior….This sense is the thing that makes the real difference in any personal change. It makes the effort happen or not happen.
How can we develop this sense ourselves, to help us overcome the challenges of starting any new task or habit? Cain has an answer:
With some basic creative visualization, you can consciously envision living life as the person who has already achieved those goals, and experience the reinforcing effect immediately. If you spend ten or twenty minutes envisioning what your present moment would be like if you already were in the habit of running at dawn every morning — including the consequences to your physique, sense of self-worth and confidence — you’ll find getting the shoes on and getting out the door dramatically easier.
When you first begin any endeavor, if you believe yourself to be behaving like someone who has already accomplished the task would behave, you set the challenge up as a simpler task. As Cain describes it: the task won’t be like running uphill, it will still involve running (in a sense) but it will feel like a downhill jaunt. To reach that point you simply need to visualize yourself behaving in the way that your ideal self would behave.
Cain emphasizes the importance of keeping this process simple too. It’s easy to overcomplicate it when all you need to do is close your eyes for 10 minutes to imagine yourself in a place of success. Head over to Raptitude to get the full details on visualization and why it’s well-worth considering.