• lakshay khanna

It's not what you do; it's who you are.

We've all faced it many times, where we could have "Motivation" of all kinds to start our dream project or to bring a meaningful change in our lives, yet we likely end up doing the same thing next year rather than doing something better!

Habits can seem easy to start, but we often find it difficult to keep up with them for long enough. Changes like daily meditation, journaling, exercising, cooking, studying for long hours seem to be reasonable for a day or two but become more of a hassle afterwards.

It happens because of two things; i.e.:

  • we try to change the wrong thing,

  • we change the thing in the wrong way.

Levels of a Change

A Change can usually occur on three levels, i.e.:

  1. Change in the outcomes that we want,

  2. Change in the systems that we follow, and

  3. Change in our identity.

Usually, we often focus too much on the types of outcomes that we want and expect them to change according to our will if we somehow bother to change the underlying systems. For example, we might follow a rigid diet plan to get the figure we want, we might study all day long to get the distinction we want.

This is quite a common approach but certainly not the correct one. Because here we focus on changing the systems and the outcomes alone. We don't bother bringing a change in our identity, i.e., our set of values and worldview. And soon without any notice, our older identity sabotages the very changes we try to bring up in our lives. For example, if you try to save money, but you identify as a person who consumes more than he creates, you'll have trouble doing the thing you want.

How to bring a Change

Instead of focusing on the outcomes that we want, we should be focusing on changing our identity, the perspective of how we see the world, and, most importantly, our values.

Behaviour which is not in line with our identity, will not last whatsoever.

The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation to perform a task is that when it becomes a part of our lifestyle, our identity to be precise.

  • Our goal should not be of accomplishing something, but to be the type of person, who accomplishes it every single time.

  • The goal is not to read a book, but to become a reader,

  • The goal is not to write a page, but to become a writer,

  • The goal is not to exercise but to become an athlete.

Our behaviours are a reflection of our identity and our identity is the reflection of our behaviours. Like all aspects of habits, Identity is also a double-edged sword; It can also do bad as it does good for us, once we identify ourselves as unworthy of anything, we are unworthy of that thing, for example,

  • If a person affirms that he's bad with the directions, he is bad with them,

  • If a person affirms that he's bad at maths, he is bad at it.

  • If a person affirms that he's broke, he is broke.

Hence, Improvements require "Un-learning" and we need to edit our beliefs constantly to change for good and to be the best version of ourselves.

How to bring Identity change

As we know, our behaviours reflect our identity and hence our values, we could easily bring a change to our beliefs by personifying what sort of person we want to be. The more we repeat a behaviour, the more we reinforce the identity associated with that behaviour and get better at it.

How it works

It works like a voting system, we don't need an absolute majority to win, after all, we're humans, it doesn't matter if we cast some votes to the unproductive habits along the way. We just want the majority of our actions to be in line with the results that we want.

This is the very reason why meaningful changes don't need to be radical, hence we often intimidate the importance of these small but meaningful changes.

To get the results we want, we need to think about what kind of person would get those results, for example, if we were to write a book, we need to be someone, who's consistent and punctual, now our goal of writing a book changes to become a person who could write a book.

This is the only reason why habits matter, we could always achieve the results that we want if we stick to our habits for long enough, but most importantly, they make us the person that we wish to become.

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