Does your Identity Match your Health Goals?
By Josh Gray
It’s the beginning of the year again, and following traditional American customs, many people are reflecting on the previous year, and setting new goals for the upcoming year. Health and fitness goals are usually part of the list as people evaluate their current physical state and where they want to be, and so the plan to work out and eat healthier is put into place. As we all know, by the end of January, the motivation has faded, and people return back to their regular habits.
So how can this be prevented? How can we make the saying “New year New Me” come true instead of just being a nice slogan?
One way to do this is to modify our identity to match our goals or the person we want to be. Our identity is defined by what we think of ourselves or what we believe to be true about our abilities, talents, appearances, weaknesses, etc.
We’ve all heard or said things like “I’m not good with numbers”, “I’m big boned”, “I’m just not good in the kitchen”, etc. These are all examples of how we identify ourselves, and after repeating these mantras hundreds or thousands of times to ourselves, they become our reality, and our habits/lifestyles tend to follow suit. Our behaviors are representative of our identity, so in order to have effective behavior change, we must also change some of our beliefs about ourselves.
Most health/fitness goals revolve around losing weight, building muscle, working out consistently, eating healthier, and improving body composition in some way. All these goals are representative of being a healthier person, so a way to identify as healthier is to ask the question “what would a healthy person do”?
When you are deciding whether or not to workout, ask yourself “what would a healthy person do”?
When you are deciding whether to cook or eat at home, ask yourself “what would a healthy person do”?
When faced with the decision of staying up late to binge watch shows or going to sleep earlier, ask yourself “what would a healthy person do”?
This question can be asked for many different scenarios, these are just some of the more common areas. The more you base your decisions off of the “healthier person”, the more you will reinforce this identity, which will increase your chances of reaching your goals.