“True behavior change is identity change. You might start a habit because of motivation, but the only reason you’ll stick with one is that it becomes part of your identity.” - James ClearTweet It!
How do we take all the motivation that is universally felt each January and make it stick for the long haul?
In his new book Atomic Habits, habits expert James Clear offers a compelling answer:
“Improvements are only temporary until they become part of who you are.”
He explains with some examples:
“The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader. The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner. The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician.”
This really connected with me because it shows how a small shift in language can move us from a one-off goal (what we want to do) to a real, lasting intention (who we want to be).
More than wordplay, this practice is backed by science. James references a study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which found that a person who self-describes as a ‘voter’ is far more likely to vote than a person who just said ‘voting’ is something they want to do.
As a team, we were so impressed with the wisdom in this book that we reached out to ask James a few more questions and dedicated one of the sections in this month’s Intention Guide to sharing more of it with our members.
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