Goals are important, because goals help us aim. Without a goal, without a target, something we are aiming at, or moving toward, we don’t know where we are going or what we are working toward so our efforts are random. Goals certainly keep us focused, maybe motivated, and driven.
While goals are important, they move us along, they don’t necessarily help us to create lasting change. Once that goal is here, do we set new goals, or do we just stop doing what we did to get there? Once we get to that destination, what happens then?
If you are looking to create lasting change, that is going to come from changing your habits. Our habits are what often dictates what we do. Our habits are ingrained in us. Often, we have had a habit for so long that it is automatic, unconscious.
Goals aren’t the best way to create lasting change. Focusing on our habits isn’t the best way either. As I mentioned they motivate us, however, if we want changes to last for the rest of our lives, we need to change at a deeper level than just outcomes and even habits.
So if you want to create lasting change in your health, fitness, and nutrition, or any area of your life, I want to teach you a new method. This is called forming identity-based habits.
Our brain likes to create habits because it makes life easier. When we don’t have to consciously think about something, we can use that brain space and energy on other things. Our body and brain take the path of least resistance.
Not only that, we may not even be aware of some of our habits because they are so automatic for us. Think about driving home, checking your phone, sometimes you arrive home or as you're scrolling you realize oh oh my gosh, I don't even remember driving home, and I’m just mindlessly scrolling thinking about something else.
Something I have been working on and trying lately in building identity-based habits. Changing our identity, what we identify ourselves as, what we believe about ourselves, is a deeper, stronger, way to change our habits.
Here is a difference “I’m going to quit eating ice cream” or “I’m trying to eat less sweets”
Whereas identity-based habits say “I’m the type of person that eats to fuel my body”
So here are two steps to help you build identity-based habits
- Decide the type of person you want to become.
- Perhaps you want to be a tidy, organized person. Perhaps you want to be a grateful person, or a “healthy” person. Identify the type of person that you want to become. Maybe think about your mentors or the people you look up to and what is it about that person that you admire and aspire to emulate
- Ask yourself, what would a tidy, organized person do? What would a grateful person do? What small actions would a “healthy” person do in their daily life? How does this type of person act or behave? What are the things they invest their time and energy in?
For example, an identity I am currently working on is being a tidy, organized person. I admit, I was one of those people whose room would get messy, and then I would spend a big chunk of time cleaning it up. I decided I wanted to be the type of person that is tidy and organized. So what would this type of person do? They would put their gym clothes in the laundry basket right after the shower. They would make their bed first thing in the morning. They would take small little actions daily to keep their room tidy and organized. They would put their gym bag away as soon as they got home from the gym. I decided the type of person I wanted to be, and then every day I am taking small actions to be that type of person. The same can apply to being a fit person, or a healthy person. What small actions would reinforce this identity? They would wake up early to get some type of workout in. They would pack a healthy meal or snack for work. They would mindfully and wisely choose healthier options. They would eat slowly and calmly. They would schedule time into their schedule to take care of themselves. They would prioritize health over other things.
I have also been applying this same method or concept to my walk with the Lord. I can create identity-based habits in the faith. Personally, it is helpful for me to use this concept because it helps me to claim my identity in Christ, to claim my identity as a beloved daughter. If I want to have a strong faith, I need to have a strong foundation and identity in God. When I am strong in God’s truth, in my identity in Christ, it is easier to walk out that faith. When I grasp and hold firm onto the truth that I am forgiven, my spirit is made alive through Christ, I am made right with God through Christ, I am free. When I know who I am, and I walk closely with God, I have peace, joy.
- What type of person do I want to be? What type of character do I want to have? What type of person do I want to become?
- Do you want to be faithful? Have integrity? A pure heart and motives? To be humble? To fear God? To have patience, to be compassionate? To be gentle? To be grateful? Submissive? Surrendered?
- What are the small actions you can take to reinforce this identity?
- Time reading and studying the bible. Community and fellowship with other believers who can help you in your spiritual growth and maturity.
Take these two steps to make lasting change.
This is a concept that I learned from James Clear, over at his blog from this article.
What is the type of person you want to become?
Charissa is a Performance Coach, Certified Nutrition Coach, Certified Fitness Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology. She also holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration. She is a follower of Jesus, passionate about faith, fitness, nutrition, a lifestyle of total health, meditating, learning and growing!