Step into your new self.
It's tempting to think that we can get to a better life by setting some goals and trying to change our behaviors. We think if we could just lose some weight, exercise regularly, learn a new skill, or get a new job things will be better. We set goals and try to establish new habits. The problem is that we are still the same person that hasn't been successful in reaching those goals in the past.
We are trying to have a new life from the identity of our old self with all the limiting beliefs and neural pathways we've developed over our lifetime. This is why we often fail: our identity isn't in line with our goals. If we are the same person who never stuck with an exercise regime, a diet, or a schedule in the past we are unlikely to be successful from that old identity. We need to be a different person. We need to be the kind of person who exercises, eats healthy, or follows through. We need to be who we want to be, not just someone who is acting like the person we want to be.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, tells a story about his wife's facility for remembering people's names. When he asked her how she did it, she said she was just the kind of person who remembers people's names. She wasn't using any tricks she was simply the kind of person who remembers people's names.
He suggests that if we want to create a new habit we might need to create a new identity. If we want to have a different reality we literally need to adopt an identity that embodies that reality.
I have been intrigued by this idea so I decided to test it out for myself.
Even though I am very productive in the morning, I struggled to stick to a routine that served me. I flitted from thing to thing getting things done but without intentionality and I could never seem to stick to a plan. My story was that I just wasn't the kind of person who could maintain a morning routine.
I asked myself: "How would it feel to be the kind of person who got up in the morning and meditated first thing?" Who would I be if I were the kind of person who enjoyed my yoga practice? How would I behave if I were the kind of person who used my time in an intentional way?
I let that new sense of identity settle in so I could notice what it felt like. You know what? It felt good. Really good. I thought if I could feel it maybe I could be it.
I had to release my old chaotic identity for a different, more intentional one. My new identity is that I am the kind of person who meditates and exercises every day.
For the last month, I have exercised and meditated nearly every day. From my old identity, it would have been a painful daily struggle but from my new identity, it's just who I am.
What kind of person do you want to be?
What would it feel like to be that person?
How would I behave as that person?
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