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Did you know that changing your identity could be the missing piece to reaching your goals this year?
Change is hard. And sticking to goals is often a big source of frustration for a lot of people.
This can make the New Year a time that makes us feel like we’re not good enough. Especially if you’ve been one to let your resolutions slide come February.
Most of us want to improve ourselves by pursuing goals. But when our best efforts aren’t enough to make those changes stick, it can be pretty discouraging.
We’ve all attempted to make goals and change habits at some point, whether it coincides with the New Year or not. Goals, like exercising more, eating healthy, or spending more time with friends, can be very positive changes to work towards.
But for many of us, our motivation quickly runs out and we turn back to our old ways of doing things.
If this sounds like you, trust me, you’re not alone. Over 80 percent of us fail to achieve the goals that we’ve set for ourselves. So if you’ve tried to change your habits, routine, mindset, or lifestyle and couldn’t, you’re in the majority.
But that statistic begs the question… why are so many of us struggling to achieve changes that we truly desire to make?
The reason we struggle so much in changing our habits is that we haven’t first changed our identity.
How we think and what we believe about ourselves has more power to shift our habits than anything else.
And if you’ve struggled to reach your goals in the past, there is hope. Learning to change your identity could be the first step to a new, transformed you!
Why We Don’t Stick to Our Goals
Setting goals is one thing. But actually sticking to them is a different story.
Goals are one of the best ways to change and grow from where you are now into the person you desire to be.
We usually set goals because the end result is something that we want to achieve for ourselves.
If this is true, then why is it so difficult to actually achieve them?
The following are some of the most common reasons we can’t seem to stick to the goals that we set.
And don’t worry I won’t leave you stuck here! Keep reading to learn how you can actually reach your goals by changing your identity.
Mistake #1: Your Goals Aren’t Clear Enough
Wanting to achieve things like getting stronger, reading your Bible more often, or eating less processed foods are all great goals. But that’s often as far as we get with our goal setting.
Your goals might not be clear enough for them to actually be achievable.
Goals that are too abstract often leave too much room for interpretation and for life to get in the way.
Say your goal is to lose weight. If you’ve lost two pounds does that mean you’ve achieved it?
Or if you want to eat healthier, did you ‘fail” on your goal if you go out for ice cream with friends on a Friday night?
When your goal is up for interpretation, it can make it difficult to stick to during the ebbs and flows of life.
Make sure whatever goals you are setting are very specific, with clear outcomes that you desire to acheive, or clear habits you want to implement.
Instead of “read the Bible more”, you can say “Read the bible 4 times per week.” Instead of “eat healthier”, you can say “include a serving of vegetables at 2 meals every day.” Instead of “get stronger”, you can say “back squat and deadlift my body weight.”
By setting clearly defined goals, there’s less room for interpretation and more clarity around what you’re trying to accomplish.
Mistake #2: You don’t know why you want to achieve the goal
Any goal can be positive or negative in your life depending on the deeper reason behind desiring to achieve the goal.
For example, weight loss could be to relieve joint pain and be able to be more active with your kids. Or it could be because you have an arbitrary number in your head that you set a goal for every year, despite not really knowing what the magic is around that number.
You must have a clear reason why the goal is important to you and aligned with your core values.
This will help make it clearer and more achievable in the long run. And it’ll also make sure you’re not chasing goals that aren’t valuable to you.
Do you know where your goals come from? Why are they important to you? And how would achieving these goals influence and improve your life?
Answering these questions can help reshape your goals to be more specific so that they address the reason you want to change in the first place.
Achieving this goal is likely important to you. Taking the time to dig into your “why” is a worthwhile step to help you get there.
Mistake #3: You’re Forcing Yourself to Change
The words “goal” and “resolution” place specific demands on us mentally. These words seem final. They make you believe that you must achieve whatever you set out to or else you have “failed”.
Most people don’t respond well to this type of pressure. Especially when the goal itself is difficult to reach, you need to be ready to make that change, not feeling forced into it.
Setting goals stretch us and move us from where we currently are to where we want to be.
But if we haven’t done the internal work to get us ready to actually stick to our new habits, our goal will likely fall flat.
It’s kind of like trying to fit a shoe on a foot that is too big. You can try to force it, but no matter how many different angles you attempt to reach your goal from, it won’t work.
But unlike a foot that is too big for a shoe, YOU can change. You can do the mindset work that turns a lofty goal into one made from small steps that become habit.
And once you’re in the right mindset to make a change, sticking to your goals can be a lot easier.
Mistake #4: You Don’t Believe You Can achieve it
Believing you’re capable of being this improved version of you is critical to achieving your goals.
When we’ve been living in our old habits and routines for so long, attempting to change them isn’t easy. Especially when you don’t actually believe that you can do it.
Lack of belief in yourself as capable and/or worthy of making this change is only going to leave you stuck in your old ways.
If you believe that you’re always going to be unhealthy or out of shape, then that’s what’s going to be true about yourself.
Believing is a large part of achieving. And taking steps to change your identity is the best way to reach those goals and make them stick!
Can You Relate?
If you fall into one (or more) of these categories, you’re not alone. Even the most well-intentioned people have trouble sticking to their goals.
But when you learn to change your identity, reaching your goals can become so much easier!
Here’s why identity matters so much when it comes to reaching goals.
Why Identity Matters
Your current behaviors are a direct reflection of your current identity.
The actions you take and the way you think are driven by who you believe you are.
And it’s likely that this new goal you’re working towards is one that will change how you identify yourself. Any lasting change in behavior is a shift in who you are as a person. How you view yourself plays a big role in that.
When you view yourself as the person you were BEFORE you reached your goal, that’s likely where you’ll stay.
For example, let’s say your goal is to develop a consistent workout routine, build muscle, and lose body fat.
If your identity is that you’re someone who doesn’t have time to exercise, then that’s going to direct your behaviors.
You’ll likely make it to the gym more often for a few weeks. But over time your motivation will run out. And you’ll be living out your current identity again as someone who doesn’t have time to exercise.
You’ll find ways that your circumstances align with what you believe about yourself, and make decisions from that lower level of thinking.
Your brain is most in-tune with the actions of the person you see yourself as. If your identity is someone who doesn’t go to the gym (because that’s who you’ve always been), that’s what your actions will reflect.
But, you’re not stuck with these old identities shaping who you are and who you can become. When you’re able to change your identity, reaching your goals becomes much easier.
Reach Your Goals by Changing Your Identity
Now you can see why identity is so important when it comes to actually reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Changing how you view yourself (your identity) can make a big difference in being able to stick to your goals.
Who we believe we are is an important part of living a purpose-driven, meaningful life.
And often what we currently believe about ourselves doesn’t align with where we want to be.
But by changing our identity, we can achieve those goals that were once out of reach.
This may seem like an abstract concept. And you may be wondering how exactly you go about changing your identity.
To help you get started, here are three steps to start changing your identity and being able to reach your goals.
Step 1: Decide on Your New Identity
Setting a new goal for yourself is often not enough. To turn that goal into a lasting change, you have to first shift your identity.
Until now, you’ve always identified as someone who believed and acted on the habit now you’re trying to change.
Changing that old identity is the first and most important step to reaching your goals. Your new identity will likely come from the goal you want to achieve.
Say your goal is to develop a more consistent workout routine. You need to determine a new identity that resonates with you about that goal. You must identify as a person who takes these new actions and has this new mindset.
Maybe that means you take on the identity of the version of you who plans workouts in advance in her calendar. Maybe this new version of you gets to bed early so she can hit the gym before work. Whatever identity will get you to your desired outcome is the one you should choose.
You have to believe that you are already a person who does what you’re looking to do.
Not of someone who does those things because they’ve set a lofty goal but is still stuck in their old way of thinking.
Shift your thinking from viewing this change as a goal and instead as a new identity. You’ll have more success in making that change because you’re operating from who you already are.
Step 2: Focus on Small Wins to Help Prove Your New Identity
Now that you’ve decided on your new identity and the goal you want to reach, you have to work on that belief daily.
Just because you decided that you want to be a person who makes time to go to the gym, doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically believe it.
You have to prove to yourself that this is really who you are. And the best way to do that is to focus on small wins that coincide with this new identity.
Some small wins that could help to prove your new identity of being a woman who makes time to go to the gym are:
- Rearranging your work schedule to free up your evenings
- Getting up 30 minutes earlier so you can go to the gym
- Adding gym time to your weekly calendar
- Finding a workout buddy or a class you’re going to try out for the next 30 days
- Hiring a coach or a trainer
These small steps will go a long way in helping prove to yourself that you can achieve this goal.
Once you start including these small wins into your life, you’ll eventually become the person you desire to identify as.
Motivation and goal setting can only get you so far. If this is all you’ve been relying on, that’s likely the reason you haven’t been able to reach your goals.
But if you believe that you are already the type of person who does these new habits, they’ll be more likely to stick.
Step 3: Make Small Adjustments Along the Way to Reaching Your Goal
You might be seeing a theme here. When it comes to reaching goals by changing your identity, it’s all about focusing on the small steps.
Big goals can often be abstract. And knowing how to actually get to your desired outcome can be difficult.
This is why focusing on small wins and small steps to get there is so important.
Keeping your new identity in mind, take some time once a week (or even daily) to check in with yourself about your goal.
Are you still committed to the gym like you were last week? Or have other priorities gotten in the way?
It’s okay if your actions one week were not as focused as they were the week before. Use these small check-ins to hold yourself accountable and stay on track. One week is a pretty small amount of time in the grand scheme of things. The most important thing is that you’re able to be consistent over the long term.
And if it looks like you’re getting off track, pivoting and changing directions might be necessary.
Maybe you’re not enjoying your current gym as much as you thought you would, so you’ve been going less often. No problem! What if you tried a CrossFit gym, started working with a trainer or looked into some online kettlebell workouts you can do at home?
There isn’t one right way to reach your goal. If you realize you’ve slid off track, adjusting your methods and your mindset can keep you moving forward.
Becoming Fed and Fearless™
Changing your identity and the habits associated with that identity is not an easy mindset shift to make.
It’s a change that will need deep mental shifts of how you view yourself, your self-worth, and your value as a human.
This is one of the biggest changes that I’ve been able to help my clients and the women who have gone through my Fed and Fearless™ program with.
In this program, I help coach you and give you the tools you need to develop a mindset of worthiness. And help shift your identity to one that is health-promoting – physically, mentally, and spiritually.
You’ll learn to cultivate a new identity as a worthy child of God. An identity of someone who is valuable and worth the space that she takes up.
With this new identity, you’ll be able to achieve your goals in a way that wasn’t possible before.
Click here to get on the waitlist for this life-changing program – you’ll get an email when our doors are open for our next round! (Happening next on January 13th, 2020!)