When we decide to make a change in our life, we typically think about setting tangible goals. They could look like…
I want to lose 10 lbs.
I want to find a partner who is like x, y, z.
I want to increase my earnings by 10%.
Goals can be useful but if we start the journey of change with goals, we may be losing out on the bigger picture.
In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about the importance of building “identity-based” habits over “outcome-based” habits. Building “identity-based” habits is about thinking first about what kind of person do you want to be. Instead of thinking about losing 10 lbs, you can aspire to become a health-conscious person.
For example, over the summer I had the privilege of running a Spartan Race. In the months leading up to my race, my mantra became “is this something a Spartan would do?” for all my decisions. It impacted what I ate, how early I went to bed, and how often I trained. It was a very powerful motivator when I had an identity that I wanted to embody.
For the change you’re looking to make in your life, see if you can start by building an “identity-based” habit. Think about the people you admire in your life – what are they like? Becoming the best version of yourself starts by redefining who you want to be.
h/t Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year via James Clear