Is there a scientific term or psychological phonomenon for meeting your goals by imagining you have already met them? For example, if I wanted to be a corporate executive, then I might decide to act and work like I was already a corporate executive, in the hopes that one day hiring representatives might notice that I already have the persona and work ethic required for the job, and therefore promote me to such a role?

I guess I'm looking for something like "acting the part"... but in more of a behavioural science kind of way.

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure if there's a special scientific term, but in general you would call that aspirational thinking or action.

(from fuzzyanalysis: Self-Determination was my favourite answer, based on a Google search with 'aspirational' in it)

  • Brilliant - I used 'aspiration' and 'psychology' in Google search and found 'self-determination', which I like the best. So I'll credit you with the answer based on that. Cheers. Dec 7, 2013 at 23:39

Fake it 'til you make it.

"Fake it 'til you make it" (also called "act as if") is a common catchphrase that means to imitate confidence so that as the confidence produces success, it will generate real confidence. [Wiki]

You might also choose to rephrase it to something like "be as you'd like to become."

  • These are great suggestions. I prefer "be as you'd like to become" over "fake it 'til you make it," seeing as how the latter suggests you don't have what it takes in the interim (not really into the word 'fake' per se), when in fact you may. Cheers Dec 7, 2013 at 23:45

This is an example of a process called visualization:

The use of mental images to influence bodily processes, control pain, or prepare for athletic or other kinds of performance.

[emphasis added]

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