Habits and identity

The first three chapters of Atomic Habits discusses achieving goals and thinking about results, processes, and identities. That is, many people start with outcomes in mind when setting up for achieving goals. I want to run a marathon. Or, I want to make more money. The way to actually achieve these sorts of outcomes is to think about the identity of an individual who has more money or who runs marathons.

If I want to stop eating garbage food so frequently I need to think about the identity of an individual who does not eat garbage food. That is, the identity of a health-minded individual.

An identity is thus comprised of multiple decisions throughout your day. At each decision an opportunity presents itself for you to think about what the identity of an individual with your chosen goal would do. A sort of secular WWJD...

So I want to be healthier. So I need to take micro-actions throughout the day that personify the identity of a healthy person. It seems obvious but focusing on results constantly rather than the process stemming from an identity will lead to impatience and burnout. So I will try to WWJD myself into making better decisions for health.


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