How to Actually be Successful in Achieving Your 2014 Goals

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How to Actually be Successful in Achieving Your 2014 Goals How to Actually be Successful in Achieving Your 2014 Goals
Lifestyle

How to Actually be Successful in Achieving Your 2014 Goals

by James Clear

December 18, 2013

The interior of behavior change and building better habits is your identity. Each action you perform is driven by the fundamental belief that it is possible. So if you change your identity (the type of person that you believe that you are), then it’s easier to change your actions.

The reason why it’s so hard to stick to new habits is that we often try to achieve a performance or appearance-based goal without changing our identity. Most of the time we try to achieve results before proving to ourselves that we have the identity of the type of person we want to become. It should be the other way around.

The Recipe for Sustained Success

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.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to start with incredibly small steps. The goal is not to achieve results at first; the goal is to become the type of person who can achieve those things. For example, a person who works out consistently is the type of person who can become strong. Develop the identity of someone who works out first, and then move on to performance and appearance later. Start small and trust that the results will come as you develop a new identity.

Here are five examples of how you can make this work in real life.

1. Want to lose weight?
Identity: Become the type of person who moves more every day.

Small win: Buy a pedometer. Walk 50 steps when you get home from work. Tomorrow, walk 100 steps. The day after that, 150 steps. If you do this five days per week and add 50 steps each day, then by the end of the year, you’ll be walking over 10,000 steps per day.

2. Want to become a better writer?
Identity: Become the type of person who writes 1,000 words every day.

Small win: Write one paragraph each day this week.

3. Want to become strong?
Identity: Become the type of person who never misses a workout.

Small win: Do pushups every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

4. 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.

5. Want to be taken seriously at work?
Identity: Become the type of person who is always on time.

Small win: Schedule meetings with an additional 15–minute gap between them so that you can go from meeting to meeting and always show up early.

What is your identity?
In my experience, when you want to become better at something, proving your identity to yourself is far more important than getting amazing results. This is especially true at first.

If you want to get motivated and inspired, then feel free to watch a YouTube video, listen to your favorite song, and do P90X. But don’t be surprised if you burn out after a week. You can’t rely on being motivated. You have to become the type of person you want to be, and that starts with proving your new identity to yourself.

Most people (myself included) will want to become better this year. Many of us, however, will set performance and appearance-based goals in hopes that they will drive us to do things differently. If you’re looking to make a change, then I say stop worrying about results and start worrying about your identity. Become the type of person who can achieve the things you want to achieve. Build the habit now. The results can come later.

The post originally published on JamesClear.com

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