Updating Identity to Build Habits

Lately I had been trying to build some habits and failing, which made me wonder if I can use ideas from one of the books I have read. Also, more than one people have told me that they’ve read Atomic Habits book recently.

Only thing I could remember from the book is this image:

Image from https://jamesclear.com/identity-votes

The idea it explains is:

Applying to the getting good grades example, I was told by my teachers and parents that maybe I wasn’t as smart as they thought. This was something completely unacceptable to me and I decided to reinforce my identity as someone who is gifted when it comes to studies. Everything else fell into place after it and I don’t think it was challenging to get good grades for next 8 years after that.

Your identity is the stories you tell yourself. And it is easier to update habits if you know who you are, and not just what you want and what you should do.

Tell these stories to yourself during small seconds of making the choice and acting on it. Tell these stories to yourself after you’ve made the expected choice and if you need motivation or need to remind yourself why.

Once you are clear on who you are, all you need to do is keep voting in favor of it starting from small decisions. To prove it to yourself.

No matter how far you are from the goal, keep going in the direction of who you are and the wolf you feed will keep getting stronger.

Lastly, this reminds me lines from Ali Abdaal that roughly went like “Learning something (or achieving a goal) for the sake of it is painful. Learning should be the side effect of something you want to do. Goal should be the side effect of something you want to do.”

You should learn to code in order to build the app you want. You should read the book to find answers to questions you have.

I think we can extend the idea to: habits should be side effect of who you want to become. Or habits should be the side effect of proving who you already are.

Lastly, the image of my whiteboard while working on these ideas.



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