Practicing something new may be simple—but often not easy. The reason is that any change feels different and, therefore, a little uncomfortable. We usually do those things which feel comfortable, rather than uncomfortable.

We know that practice makes perfect—assuming the practice is practiced correctly, and we know that visualizations assist in increasing effectiveness. However, a third approach complements both practice and visualization for even greater effectiveness. I am referring to incantations that engage not only your physiology and neurology but also engage your feelings.

For example, assume you are in the habit of TELLING your child (student, spouse, employee) what to do. You would like to start posing reflective questions so that ownership will belong to the other person you want to influence. To assist you in forming and using the new habit of ASKING, you will find yourself more effective and comfortable in achieving your objective if you first articulate it out loud to yourself and rehearse it by moving your arms in an outstretched, open gesture—smiling as you ask and hearing yourself asking instead of telling. Engaging your mind, mouth, tongue, vocal chords, body, and emotions more effectively activates new neural connections.

Remember that consistency empowers. Use the incantation regularly for self-discipline until it becomes your default approach, which automatically becomes more comfortable.