Develop Identity-Based Habits This Year

"Running Girl"

Image courtesy of aarmono on Flickr


It’s that time of year again. There’s just something about the beginning of a new year that inspires us to make big plans and set impressive goals. No matter that we didn’t quite reach last year’s goals, or that we have a history of reneging on personal resolutions within approximately a week and a half of making them—this year is going to be different.

Or so we tell ourselves.

But if we’re truly honest, we have to admit that most likely, this year won’t be all that different. We’ll have the very best of intentions, and we might start out really strong, but it won’t be long before our efforts are derailed and our intentions get lost in the busyness and reality of our lives.

But what if this year really could be different? What if we could actually be successful in reaching our 2014 goals? My daughter shared an article with me last week written by James Clear that covers that exact topic. According to Clear, the secret lies in the powerful little phenomenon known as habits.

Obviously, if we want to make lasting changes in our lives, we must develop new habits. We already knew that. But developing lasting habits is much easier said than done! So how do we develop lasting habits?

Clear explains,

“The key to building lasting habits is focusing on creating a new identity first. Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity. What you do now is a mirror image of the type of person you believe that you are (either consciously or subconsciously). To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself.”

Clear went on to say, “Changing your beliefs isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. There are two steps: Decide the type of person you want to be and prove it to yourself with small wins.”

The article includes several examples of how you can make this work in real life. As someone who strongly believes in the power and importance of relationships, I personally really like the fourth example Clear gives:

“Want to be a better friend?
Identity: Become the type of person who always stays in touch.

Small win: Call one friend every Saturday. If you repeat the same people every three months, you’ll stay close with 12 old friends throughout the year.”

Great advice, and a great example of forming an identity-based habit!

I encourage you to read the full article by James Clear by clicking here. And more importantly, I encourage you to “Decide the type of person you want to be and prove it to yourself with small wins.”

This year can be different. Make 2014 the year you actually reach your goals—through lasting identity-based habits!


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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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