“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 Clear

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.

To who we are and what we are becoming,

Mike Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

Begin your day feeling grounded and inspired.

A free 30-day email series where we share the most impactful stories and ideas that have helped us on our journey to live a more meaningful life.

✌️ Free. Unsubscribe anytime.

Welcome to Holstee

Living with intention is an ongoing practice, not a destination. Inspired by this, we’ve created a range of products to help you on your journey to live both fully and mindfully, including the Holstee Membership, Reflection Cards, and our recently-launched Reflection.app.



This article is part of our series on the theme of Intention.

EXPLORE Intention →

Shop Holstee

product-image product-image product-image

Inspiration and tools to help you live a more meaningful life.