There are many strategies discussed when it comes to accomplishing goals. Some people claim there is a simple five-step process to reach goals. Others say goals are achieved through visualization techniques. Or, you might have heard that setting attainable goals is the key.
While all these techniques are a bit different, they all share an underlying foundational concept. To accomplish goals, you have to change some aspect of your behavior.
For example, to lose weight, you'll have to go the gym more and eat healthier. Or, to become a writer, you'll have set aside time and produce work on a regular basis. If you want to change your perspective, you'll have to actively change your thoughts and re-align them to the newly desired outcome.
If our existing behaviors met the requirements to fulfill all our current goals, then those goals would already be achieved. Sounds simple, right? Good. It is.
But this brings us to the next, and more interesting question. Why is changing our behavior so hard?
By this, Clear means that we must build habits that are lasting, as opposed to only temporary.
And to create sustainable habits, he says it all comes down to one thing - changing our identities.
To explore this process more deeply, Clear breaks the "Layers Of Behavior Change" into three distinct categories.
Here are the three categories below:
- Your Identity - the most important element, which is at the very core, your identity is who you believe you are.
- Your Performance - these are the action taken, the new behaviors you implement to work towards a goal.
- Your Appearance - this is how you are perceived by the outside world.
Clear's assertion is that we are going about goal achievement backward. Most people begin with trying to change our appearance or performance, without actually believing, on the level of our core identity, that we are the new person. This conflict can lead to internal incongruence, stalls behavior change, and delays our achievement loop.
So, we must reverse this process, and focus on changing our identities. How do we do this?
First, you decide the new kind of identity you want to have. Second, reaffirm that identity with a series of small wins.
With your new identity realized, your behavior becomes lasting, and you will achieve your goals.
For more information, check out James Clear's full article, "Identity-Based Habits."