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Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals

https://jamesclear.com/identity-based-habits

jamesclear.com

Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals
Change is hard. You've probably noticed that. We all want to become better people - stronger and healthier, more creative and more skilled, a better friend or family member. But even if we get really inspired and start doing things better, it's tough to actually stick to new behaviors.

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Identity-Based Habits

Identity-Based Habits

Building these habits means focusing on the type of person you wish to become rather than the outcome you wish to achieve.

Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity. To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself. 

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Change can occur at 3 levels

  • Outcomes: changing your results - losing weight, publishing a book, etc.
  • Process: changing your habits and systems - implementing a new routine at the gym, developing a meditation practice, etc.
  • Identity: changing your beliefs - worldview, self-image, judgments.

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Changing your beliefs about yourself

Changing your beliefs about yourself
  1. Decide the type of person you want to be;
  2. Prove it to yourself with small wins;

You have to become the type of person you want to be, and that starts with proving your new identity to yourself.

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Identity-based habits

The beliefs you have about yourself can drive your long-term behavior.

You could trick yourself into going to the gym or eating healthy once or twice, but if you don't shift your under...

3 layers of behavior change

  • A change in your outcomes
  • A change in your processes
  • A change in your identity.

Most people start by focusing on outcome-based goals like “I want to lose 20 pounds”. But these are surface-level changes.

The root of behavior change

... and building better habits is your identity.

Each action you perform is driven by the belief that it is possible. So if you change your identity (the type of person that you believe that you are), then it’s easier to change your actions.

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15 minutes a day for making changes

15 minutes a day for making changes

Devote at least 15 minutes a day to your change.

Even if it’s just a walk around your neighborhood, one less cigarette, reading an inspirational article, do it. Mix it up, too. No one wants t...

Fork over the truth

Behavior modification teaches us that we repeat behaviors that make us feel good. What’s your payoff for not changing? 

Until the goal becomes larger than the payoff, you’re always going to choose feeling good over feeling uncomfortable.

Set realistic goals

Start with one behavior at a time.

Instead of concentrating on losing 20 pounds in 20 days, for example, make a goal to simply begin by eating five fruits and vegetables a day.  

If you believe things about yourself like…

  • “It's hard for me to lose weight.”
  • “I'm not good with numbers.”
  • “I'm not a natural athlete.”
  • “I'm not creative.”
  • “I'm a procrastinator.”

...it...

Actions change your beliefs

It's your daily actions that will change what you believe about yourself and the person you become. 

Focus on the process. Focus on showing up,  on sticking to the schedule, on “not quitting.

Eventually, the results and the self–confidence will come anyway.