Why Identity is Key to Achieving Your Goals
Everyone has goals. Few achieve them.
What's the main difference between the two groups?
Identity Based Habits
James Clear, the best-selling author of Atomic Habits, makes this point crystal clear in his latest book.
Anyone who wants to build lasting results in any area of life must first change their identity to align with the desired outcomes.
Your behaviors and habits are ultimately a function of your identity.
If you identify as a vegan, it's unlikely that you'll be talked into eat a steak. If you identify as a conservative, it's unlikely you'd vote for a liberal candidate.
Your identity, that is, the way you know yourself to be, is what you turn to any time there is a decision to make.
When a friend asks, "Hey, want to go sky diving this weekend?"
You don't just answer. You turn inward and ask yourself, "Am I the type of person who likes trying new things?" "Am I the type of person who takes risks?" "Am I the type of person who looks for adrenaline rushes?"
You're not answering the question directly. You're putting the question up against your identity and looking to see if you can find a close enough match to give you an answer.
Our identity is supremely powerful in how we decide to act throughout any given day and ultimately, our habits are created based off of recurring behavior patterns.
So who you perceive yourself to be and how the world sees you is a direct function of the virtuous cycle of identity.
Fun fact: this is actually why affirmations work. You can change your identity by telling yourself something over and over again.
Ex: "I like giving public speeches." "I get excited to present to large crowds." "I'm a confident public speaker." etc.
Achieving Your Goals
Achieving your goals is not hard. At the core, it requires taking consistent action that is moves you closer toward your desired outcome until you achieve it.
Key words there being: taking action.
Again, your actions are a function of your identity.
With that foundation, you can start to see how whether or not you achieve your goals (i.e. take consistent action in a meaningful direction) is ultimately a product of your identity.
Scott the Real Estate Investor
Take one of the members in our Mastermind community for example, Scott the Real Estate Investor.
Scott is new to the Real Estate game, but was very excited and adamant about making a big splash on the scene. He had the desire to achieve his goals, like most people do, but it's not like those goals are going to go achieve themselves.
Scott teamed up with a local Real Estate firm who couldn't handle their high influx of leads, and started to shape his identity as someone who loves getting better at sales and his system to reinforce that identity was to make at least 10 sales calls every single day.
As you might imagine, Scott got a lot of "No, thank you's" and immediate hang ups.
But you know what else he got? A few interested buyers.
It was not long after Scott started identifying himself as someone who loves making sales calls that he started closing some big deals and solidified himself as an up and coming agent in the territory making most people's annual salary goal in just a few months.
We all have goals. If you want to achieve yours, your identity needs to align with your desired outcomes. Once it does, your actions will align with your identity and your results will start to align with your goals.
Ex: If you want to become a better writer, identify yourself as a person who writes every single day.
Ex: If you want to grow your business, identify yourself as the type of person who loves networking and taking sales calls.
Ex: If you want to be a better partner in your relationship, identify yourself as the type of person who thinks of ways to make your significant other feel special every day.
Why Identity Based Habits Create Sustainable Results
Creating an identity based habit flips the script upside down on how we normally set goals.
Consider the typical goal setting process;
"I want to lose 20 pounds."
"I want to close $100k in new sales this year."
"I want to find a new boyfriend/girlfriend."
When we set goals this way, we basically set ourselves up for failure.
No amount of visualizations or affirmations are going to make your goals come true when you sit and wish for something.
Even more jarring is that even having the best plan in the world won't help you create consistent reliable results.
For example, if you don't identify as someone who loves running, but plan to go for a morning jog every day next week, there's a 99% chance you won't be putting on those running shoes 7 out of 7 days.
However, when we change our identity to match our goals, all of a sudden, we're not pursuing some lofty goal anymore as much as we are simply acting in alignment with our beliefs about ourself.
"I want to lose 20 pounds." becomes "I'm a healthy person."
"I want to close $100k in new sales this year." becomes "I love making sales calls"
"I want to find a new boyfriend/girlfriend." becomes "I enjoy talking to attractive people any chance I get."
All of a sudden, ordering a grilled chicken salad versus a double bacon cheeseburger is just part of who you are.
Sitting down at your desk and picking up the phone to ring the new leads is just part of who you are.
Talking to people you find interesting and attractive is just part of who you are.
In fact, it would feel uncomfortable if you went against these actions because of a phenomenon called Cognitive Dissonance, which essentially makes it difficult to act discordantly with a self-belief because of a type of mental tension that's created in the process.
So I ask you;
What is your biggest goal right now?
How can you create an Identity to support sustainable progress towards that goal?
Here's to you Actualizing Your Potential!
Founder and Performance Coach @ STRIVENT
"Actualize your Potential!"
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