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Change Your Life by ''Acting As If''
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

''Be the kind of person you would want to surround yourself with.'' Susan Jeffers

Happy New Year! Each new year give us another chance to live the lives of our dreams. We are likely already busy deciding what changes we want to make in 2018 and probably writing a lengthy list of goals and resolutions, but is that the best approach?

A quirky saying that has made its way around the internet says, ''I want to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.'' Whether or not you have a pet, there isn't one of us who has reached perfection. (And who would want to anyway!) That's why New Year's resolutions are so popular.

Instead of resolutions this year, why not try another technique, one that can help create lasting change in your life. Try ''being'' the difference in your life. Instead of making resolutions - stop being a workaholic, be more patient, get in shape, etc. - try to embody the change that we want to make in our life.

Mahatma Gandhi famously said, ''Be the change that you wish to see in the world.'' This prescription is true in all aspects of our lives - from the macro level to the micro level. From which organizations you donate your time to letting a car cut in front of you in traffic. Everything we do can spark a change, so let's try to live it.

The Game of ''Act-As-If''

Susan referred to the technique of ''act as if'' in many of her books, including Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. This is how it works: You know you want to make a change in your life, so act as if you already have. Begin by asking yourself, ''If I were ______, what would I be doing.'' Then do it. Embody that change and ''act as if'' you already have changed.

You will be amazed at how much distance
your loving light can cover in this process.

Meditate on how that change - big or small - would affect your daily life. Let it really sink in. What would it feel like? What would that look like? How would your behavior be different? How would you interact differently with those around you? Really feel what that change would be.

Then do it.

The magazine Scientific American reported a few years ago that studies show that smiling, even when you are not happy, can influence your mood. You know how if one person is enjoying a belly laugh, that it's hard not to join in? All of us have experienced being depressed by a sad movie or a horrible news segment. ''Acting as if'' is the same idea, but with more permanence in mind.

It's not easy. Nothing ever is. When you start ''acting as if'' you are doing a bit of play acting and it will feel very strange, like a new pair of shoes that need to be worn in a bit before they are comfortable. But that's just what will happen when you keep ''acting as if.'' It will become comfortable. One day, not too long after you begin, you will find that the person you are working to be is not so different from whom you are right now.

2018 has the potential to be a wonderful year of self-love and self-improvement. Be the change you want to see in yourself and the rest will follow. Susan said it best when she wrote:

''It is amazing what happens when we stand tall, take charge of our lives, and act only with integrity toward ourselves.''

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