One of the most effective ways to change your behaviour is to change your identity: Changing the way you see yourself.
Our perception of who we are—our identity or self-image—has a dramatic effect on our future actions.
Self-image is a cognitive shortcut that helps our brains make otherwise difficult choices in advance, thereby streamlining the decision-making process.
There is psychological empowerment that comes with saying, “I don’t,” rather than, “I can’t.”
The results of a study demonstrate the influence that self-description and self-image have on our behaviour—we think; therefore, we will be.
The way we think of ourselves can have a profound impact on how we deal with distractions and unintended behaviours.
To leverage the power of identity to fight distraction, we can make an “identity pact,” which is a precommitment to a self-image that helps us pursue what we really want.
By aligning our behaviours with our identity, we make choices based on who we want to be.
To do this, start by identifying the behaviour you want to stop. For example, say you’d like to stop eating meat. For people who view themselves as meat-eaters trying to quit, the task of cutting out meat cold turkey can seem large and daunting because they feel as though they are constrained: “I can’t stop eating meat!”
Vegetarians, by contrast, have an easier time abstaining from meat. They don’t feel as though they are constrained; abstaining from meat is instead simply an expression of who they are.
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