In the midst of the new year, I find myself facing a familiar challenge: booking a spot for my weekly gym classes. The frenzy begins as soon as the booking slots become available, and within half an hour, they are all snapped up. Getting a slot has become a sporting challenge of its own! However, I can rest assured that come mid February, the demand will drop off, new faces will be gone and normal service will resume.
Successfully managing change in private or professional life requires good healthy habits. But as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of professional aspirations, we often find ourselves grappling with the question: why are good habits so difficult to maintain?
By understanding the underlying dynamics at play, we can unlock the secrets to lasting change and create a roadmap for success.
The problem lies in the fact that many of us focus solely on the process and outcome when pursuing change, often overlooking a crucial first step: shifting our identity. If this sounds drastic, bear with me.
Imagine you're seeking a new job, which becomes the desired outcome. Naturally, your attention shifts to the necessary steps, such as networking and searching for vacancies online, forming the process. However, if you truly want lasting change, you must address who you want to be – your identity.
Your identity encompasses the habitual behaviors and actions that define you as an individual. While motivation may drive you to make changes, true transformation can only be sustained if these behaviors align with your identity. When you find yourself saying, "That's just not me" or "I'm not the type of person who...", it's because those actions don't align with the person you believe yourself to be. Once you align your beliefs with your desired identity, you'll find it easier to embrace and maintain positive habits.
So I have two questions for you: Who do you want to be, and why?
The strength of your "why" will greatly influence your ability to maintain new habits. Take a moment to think about someone who excels in managing their career or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. What are their core values and beliefs? Learn from these individuals and start emulating their behaviour. Identify the habits that shape their identity and begin incorporating them into your own life, starting small. Celebrate your mini victories and let them serve as a foundation for further growth. As you consistently practice these habits, they will eventually become an integral part of your identity.
So, if you're genuinely committed to making a significant change in 2024, whether it's related to your career or any other aspect of your life, it's crucial to embrace and shape your identity. By aligning your behaviors with who you aspire to be, you pave the way for lasting and meaningful transformation.
Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits. Penguin Random House