Improve Your Results by Changing Your Identity

Updated on August 2, 2018
Darleen Barnard profile image

Darleen Barnard is Certified Health Coach and Certified Personal Trainer who specializes in weight loss and habit change.

Identity

What is your identity?

Are you a parent? A teacher? A student? An accountant? A runner? A dog lover?

Although these examples don’t really say who we “are” as an individual, they do provide some definition that describes what we do on a regular basis. What visual image do you get in your head when I say that I am a parent? Now what visual image do you get in your head when I say that I am a runner? How about a dog lover?

These terms are ways for us to better understand ourselves and share some of our basic values and ideas with others. These terms help us to form our identity.

Identity Determines Our Daily Actions

Teachers teach, writers write, and runners run. You get the idea.

Who we are = what we do

Our identity determines our daily actions. In fact, our identity and our actions are intertwined – like strands of DNA.

If we identify as an athlete, we have regular habits to exercise.

If we identify as a business person, we have regular habits to build our business.

If we identify as a student, we have regular habits to go to class and do our homework.

If we identify as a smoker, we have regular habits to smoke.

How Is Our Identity Formed?

True identity is something people must create for themselves by making choices that are significant and that require a courageous commitment in the face of challenges. Identity means having ideas and values that one lives by.”—Thomas Merton

True identity is something people must create… Many would argue that we don’t have control over our identity. When we are children, we pick up a lot of the ideas and values of our parents. Our young identities are shaped by our parents influence. When we become teenagers, we begin to question those values and beliefs. We may continue to hold those same values and beliefs or we may change them. If we change our values and beliefs, our identities will change.

In fact, our identities change several times throughout our lives. When a person goes to medical school, they gradually begin to change their identity. After days, weeks, months, or years of seeing patients, they form an identity as a doctor.

When we are blessed with a child, we begin to identify as parents.

When we enroll in school, we begin to identify as a student.

We create our identity by making choices.

How Does Our Identity Change Our Results?

So how does this relate to getting results and helping us achieve our goals? Our identity determines our actions which determine our results. This is then reinforced over and over again through repetition.

If we identify as a runner, then we will run on a regular basis, and we will be physically fit. Our physical fitness level reinforces the fact that we are a runner, and we continue to run. Our identity as a runner makes us lace up our shoes and run - not our willpower. Willpower is a limited resource and it only lasts for a limited time. We must change our identity for continued, lasting results.

If you want to stop smoking, change your identity and you will change your results. Willpower may get you started, but when that runs out, your identity is what will keep you going.

How Do We Change Our Identity?

So how do we jump into this cycle and begin to change our identity?

It is actually quite easy – with small baby steps.

Just like our new med students above. New med students don’t wake up one day and decide they are a doctor. It is something that happens gradually, over time, with continued reinforcement. They see patients every day. At first it feels strange. They may be nervous and unsure of themselves at first. But gradually, their confidence increases and they are more confident in their decisions. At some point, they will begin to identify as a doctor.

We all start somewhere.

If we want to lose weight, we need to identify as a person who eats better and moves more. To begin to change that identity, we need to start small and we need to show up every day. Set small goals that are easy and that you are guaranteed to achieve. Perhaps you set a small goal to eat an apple every day. Or maybe you set a small goal to walk 5 minutes after dinner. Start small with something you know you can do and build from there. Get a planner or use some way to track your progress.

If you want to stop smoking, smoke one less cigarette today.

If you want to write a book, set a small goal to write for 5 minutes per day.

If you want to be a runner, set a small goal to run down the street for 1 minute.

Just like our new doctor, this is going to take time, but it is the best way to get long-lasting results. You will change your identity with each baby step, every single day. As your identity strengthens, you won’t need as much willpower to take those daily actions to achieve your desired results.

© 2018 Darleen Barnard

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)