Using Visualization for Personal Growth

I started using the Fabulous app about one month ago today. If you’re unfamiliar, it basically uses behavioural science principles to help the user build healthy habits.

This isn’t actually the first time I’ve downloaded it. I tried the app nearly 4 years ago, and back then I was intrigued. Maybe especially so because I majored in Psychology and had an interest in the mechanisms of behavioural change already. I knew this was something that had potential. However, after a few weeks of using the app, I was pretty overwhelmed. Each little healthy habit stacked onto the other until I very soon had a hard time working them all into my life. So I gave up altogether and deleted the app.

Anyways, I noticed it again in my app store recently and thought I would give it a try. So far so good! I can’t remember exactly what changes there have been since 2105, but I’m enjoying this version and would recommend it. This time, I’m trying to be more forgiving of myself when I miss a habit now and then. I hope that will encourage me to stick with it (and, more importantly, stick with my new healthy habits), even when I’m not doing my best, instead of giving up.

All this to say, one of the suggestions the Fabulous app makes is to create four personalized “performance statements” for different areas of your life. These statements are a “method of over-coming self-doubt and negative thoughts… by keeping your mind busy with something positive and constructive”.

The app has suggestions for how to come up with a performance statement, but basically it’s “your unique formula for success in any given task”. Once you’ve distilled your formula, the next thing is to practice using it by visualizing yourself using it. It sounds kind of weird, maybe, but the idea is to familiarize yourself with using your performance statement so that when you actually need it, you’ve already built up that “muscle memory”; you know what to do automatically because you’ve practiced it already.

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

I wanted to share the performance statements I came up with here. I found it a little tricky to determine what my formula for success is for different things (I feel like I need someone else to tell me!), but this is what I’ve got for now:

  1. (When I’m facing temptation to over-eat sweets) “Take three slow breaths and remember your motivation for eating in mindful moderation.”
  2. (When I’m feeling anxious or getting overwhelmed) “Release the tension in your body – back, shoulders, jaw and forehead – and coach yourself through the situation, kindly and patiently.”
  3. (When my short-term-minded self doesn’t feel like doing something that my wiser self wants to do) “Just focus on the first small step to prepare for the action, and take that one step.”
    • Here’s one example the app gives for when you don’t feel like exercising: “Just start playing my power song, and put my gym clothes on”
  4. (When I’m working on a creative project) [This one is pending my completion of a book called The INFJ Writer, by Lauren Sapala. More on this below.]

I heard about this book on the Tools & Resources page over at Well-Storied (which I love). I’ve only just scratched the surface of this book but I’ve already gleaned some major take-away points. I get the sense already that this is going to be a ground-breaking book for me. Reading some parts right now I told my husband, “How does this woman know me?!” And for those INFPs, ENFJs, and ENFPs out there, there are sections near the end of the book for you, too!

OK. Back to the performance statements.

I intend to set aside time during my morning routine to go through them in turn and visualize myself using each one. I tried it this morning and it felt like I was charging myself up with strength and energy to face the challenges of the day. It feels like a manageable, stress-free way to strengthen my resolve in the areas of my life that matter to me. I’m gonna work on those muscles and see what I can accomplish!

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