Achieve Your Goals by Transforming Your Habits


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

How many times have you really tried hard to start something new? It could be starting a new exercise program, learning a new language, writing a book or studying. At first, you’re fired up raring to go, but after some time that initial motivation wore out and you ditch your valiant efforts to change. 

Is something wrong with you? No there’s nothing wrong with you, the only problem is that you haven’t learn to sustain those new habits. Learning a new language, getting in shape, losing weight, and writing consistently – it’s impossible to achieve all these without creating new habits. To stick to your goals, you’ve to develop habits that will become an integral part of your daily life. It has to be a way of life, exercise can’t be painful forever, find a way to make it enjoyable if you want to do it every day. So how can you make a new habit stick?

The concept of identity based habits
The best way to stick to a new habit is by becoming the kind of person who habitually performs that action. You form an identity based habit by acting like the person you want to be until you actually become them. For instance, if you want to lose weight and get into the habit of jogging three times per week. You will start by thinking of yourself as ‘a fit person’ or an “athlete”. Progressively, you will start incorporating the habits of ‘a fit person’ into your lifestyle.  You will start doing things a fit person would normally do, read about nutrition and exercise, and (most importantly in this case) start working out regularly. Before long, this identity that you’ve been faking will become a new part of your real identity. Basically, by identifying yourself as ‘a fit person’ it get to a stage where it feels strange not do the very thing a fit person would do.

Establishing identity based habits
Now that you understand the concept, the next question will be - How then do I just change my identity? Changing your identity involves the following steps:

  • Identify the type of person you want to be.
  • Isolate the source of your current limiting belief.
  • Find a counter instance.
  • Reframe it
  • Form a new belief with small wins

The truth is that, it’s not going to be easy. But the best way to make the transition process easier is by faking it till you make it, as the saying goes. Whether you believe it or not does not really matter, the most important thing is that you pretend well enough to perform the actions the person you want to be would do, then in due course you’ll have done so much that you will actually be the kind of person who does those things. Another way to make this effective is by using small winnable goals to show yourself that you are really the kind of person who you want to become. Small goals in this sense refer to significant things that you can easily achieve. For instance, if you want to lose weight, try moving more and eating right. Identify the person you want to become, see what you can do daily to become more like that person. Then let time take its course.

Main point

  • Tackle the identity of the person you want to be. Become that person and your goals will take care of themselves.
  • The way you see yourself matters a lot when creating a new habit 

Keep in mind that Identifying the person you want to become is only half the battle. The most important step is taking action to become more like that person every single day. In this way you will become the best version of yourself.