Fake It ‘Til You Make It

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Clients seeking therapeutic treatment often work hard to understand where they currently are when they begin therapy and gain an overview of where they want to be in the future. A lot of work may go into determining steps to take to formulate a defining path from Point A to Point B. These clients sometimes come up short in finding the right mindset to propel them forward toward their goals. 

“Fake It ‘Til You Make It” is a commonly used phrase that means acting and reacting in a certain way even if it doesn’t yet feel comfortable. The idea is to practice doing so to give your mind time to adjust to a new way of thinking and doing things. Professionals can help their clients develop the art of faking it until they make it. This strategy includes having patience and giving new habits enough time to become comfortable and occur more naturally. Tell them that they may not be able to think their way into action, but they can act their way into thinking differently. 

Draw Inspiration From Role Models

Choosing a person whose approach to life feels worth emulating can inspire a client to stay on the path to positive change. Begin a discussion with them about who they admire and why. It can be a family member, a friend, someone in their local community, a historical figure, or even a celebrity. Ask what traits and habits this person has that they admire and how adopting them will help them reach their goals. 

If your client has chosen a role model they know, they might want to set aside some time to talk to this person about how they got where they are. They can ask questions about why the person made certain decisions. Was it challenging to change how they see themselves? How long did it take them to feel like they had made real progress? Having a mentor can also serve as an inspiration and provide a reality check on how one progresses to their goals in a timely manner.

Remember That Patience Is an Art Form

Adolescents are often tempted to give up on an approach if there aren’t speedy results. Their lack of life experience and accountability creates an attitude that it must not be working if something doesn’t feel comfortable immediately. Wanting instant results is one of the hallmarks of youth, making it essential to help your young client learn the art of patience while allowing time for their mindset to change.

Remind your client that even as they make progress changing how they act and think, moments and situations that test them are inevitable. The road to developing a healthy frame of mind that becomes second nature is not linear. Even a person they have chosen as a role model did not walk an effortless, problem-free path to their new attitude. Bumps and detours appear along the way for everyone. It’s crucial to understand that even those who have forged a path before them did not do so without experiencing setbacks. Every goal worth reaching will include experiencing doubt, fear, and other difficult emotions along the way. Part of maturing into adulthood includes learning this lesson. 

Take Notice of Your Success Along the Path

When a make-it victory follows a client’s fake-it moment, remind them to take a moment to acknowledge it and be proud of themselves. Write down what happened as a reminder, so they can look back on it with pride and use it as inspiration in the future. Having concrete examples to reference can be a real inspiration when a person reaches another moment in which they feel unsure of what to do or like they just want to give up. It’s vital to incorporate self-talk that includes remembering how they powered through a difficult challenge. The more success a person banks, the more confident they are, and the less they feel like they are faking things. 

Remember That Anxiety Is Normal

It can be tempting to walk away from any experience the moment it makes a person feel anxious. Part of faking it until you make it is identifying that difficult emotions like anxiety, stress, or dread may be present. Nonetheless, it is up to the person to decide whether they get to call the shots. Often when a scary task is completed, your client may reflect on how the anxiety leading up to it was worse than the actual act itself. Even professional athletes, famous people in the acting community, and public speakers sometimes report feeling anxious before going on the field or stage. They have had to learn to push past those emotions by faking confidence, which ultimately resulted in them achieving their goals with a new mindset.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Fake It ‘Til You Make It” but do you know what it involves? Sometimes when a person is having trouble shifting their way of thinking to something positive, they need to force themselves to act or react a certain way multiple times to allow their mindset to shift and allow new, healthy ways of thinking to become second nature. Sustain Recovery understands what a challenge it can be for adolescents and young adults to change how they view managing their mental illness and become comfortable with healthier habits and ways of thinking. Our professional staff in our beautiful Southern California treatment center understands how to help your loved ones turn their lives around and return home with a new way of seeing life and ready to utilize their newfound strengths. Call us now and let us help you plan out a bright future with genuine hope! (949) 407-9052


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Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
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