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Stop Trying to Change Yourself

https://markmanson.net/stop-trying-to-change-yourself

markmanson.net

Stop Trying to Change Yourself
Trying to change yourself-that is, who you are-will inevitably lead you to fail and feel hopeless. But if you instead focus on changing your actions without worrying about how it changes you as a person, real change becomes much simpler.

Ideas contributed by:

Noah Burke

@noahb

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There is no such a thing as a "gym person"

There are just people who go to the gym.

Similarly, there’s no such thing as a “productive person.” There are just people who do productive things fairly often.

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Keep your “self” out of your decisions

Think of your life as a long sequence of actions and decisions.

Just ask yourself, “Is this a good thing to do?” If the answer is Yes, go do it.

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“Change” means changing your identity

“Change” means changing your identity

It’s one thing to say, “I want to start going to the gym weekly.” It’s another to say, “It’s time to change and become the type of person who goes to the gym weekly.”

The...

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.

Motivated By Positive Emotions

Negative emotions may trigger us to think about everything we’re not doing, or feel like we’re doing wrong, but they're ineffective for making changes that stick. Real change needs a positive pl...

Trapped By Thinking Fallacies

Feeling overwhelmed by trying to change a behavior often makes us charge into change, and see failure as a sign of incapacity. But this straps us into a no-win situation because you are unlikely to sustain the initial momentum to change for long.

If we really want to change, one of the first things we have to do is take all-or-nothing off the table, and purge a few other thinking errors while we’re at it.

More Than We Can Handle

It’s almost never possible to tackle all of a change at once. We have to start with particular, very specific and measurable actions.

Each specific action is one forkful of behavior change and a set of those actions engaged over time results in a cumulative change. And accompanying those cumulative actions, we need realistic and specific goals as they provide targets to measure ourselves against.