Identify yourself as who you want to be

March 3, 2024

If you’ve been dismissive of people who preach “fake it till you make it”, it’s time to sit down and re-evaluate that.

I’ve been listening to Atomic Habits by James Clear and one of the core ideas that struck me was how we can categorize habits as follows:

  1. Outcome based Eg. You want to be able to do a handstand. Here you’re focused on one goal- it can be vague or specific, but it’s always about an end state.

  2. Process based Eg. You want to go to the gym everyday. This one is more about setting up a system or a path that will lead to your long term success.

  3. Identity based Eg. You want to be an athlete. This is when you deeply change beliefs about yourself. You shift from the person you are to the person who you want to be.

Now you probably recognize these- some of your new year resolutions might also fit snugly into the first two categories. These are arguably the easier of the lot.

But what about identity based habits?

They require you to work every instance of your day.

Taking the above example, you start thinking “As an athlete, for lunch need not have a full biriyani- as I don’t need that many carbs. I will choose a lighter meal with more protien instead.”

In the evening you think: “As an athlete, sitting and watching sitcom reruns with ice cream isn’t really good for me. I will go on a walk instead.”

Now if someone were to come and judge you by your looks- they’ll declare you’re not an athlete yet. And that’s perfectly fine- because you’ve started your transformation from the inside out, and not outside in.

You don’t become an athlete by being able to perform a handstand. You become an athlete first and then you’re able to do a handstand.

This is why “fake it till you make it” advice works. Because in reality, you’re walking the talk every second of your day.

So why am I writing this?

Because believe I am consistent, well-articulate writer (who just happened to start today!)