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What are my “I am” statements?

As we start the New Year, I’m sure many of us have entered it with spirits high at the opportunity that our most recent annual ending brought along with it. The same opportunity it brings every year: a hope of being able to close one chapter,  and start one slightly better. 

What is my I Am statements

There is a natural tendency in us to see the beginning of a new year as a chance to start again, to re-align. For whatever reason, we want something slightly different for 2020 than what 2019 were about. And this is a good thing; in order to grow we must continually seek improvement.

All too often our experiences quickly bring a feeling of uselessness towards these goals as we tend to slip out of the efforts towards this goal and closer towards an old routine. This often makes one cynical of trying again, because we feel that ultimately the old way has already become de-ja-vu. 

But, why?

Let’s be totally honest and transparent: change isn’t easy. It requires sustained focus, discipline and resolve. Progress requires the art-form of unlearning of what we have already known. To learn something in 2020, it probably requires the unlearning of something we “knew” in 2019 – this could even stretch back many, many years.

If change requires such a recipe of great tools an attributes and so many of us fail at it so often, what can help us? What could truly help us to reach a place of sustained focus, discipline and resolve?

To create sustainable and lasting change, we need to reconnect with the deeper reason that we want the change.

2 Reasons for change:

  • OUTCOME FOCUSED CHANGE: 
    understand the desire/motivation behind the change. When we focus on the desire behind the change to motivate us to achieve a goal, it’s called an “Outcomes Focused Change”

    EXAMPLES:
     

  • Losing a certain number of KG’s– the specific weight is the outcome.

  • To make 5 new friends this year

  •  To increase sales by 20 %

    If you think of organisations , most new year resolutions will be around profit, margin and new customers. People going back to work this year were probably quickly reconnect to outcomes that their work wants to achieve because it is such a primary focus.

  • IDENTITY FOCUSED CHANGE:
    Here, the reason we are changing is because it is aligned to who we aspire to be. We are not so focused on a specific goal as we are on the ongoing lifestyle change.

    EXAMPLES:

  •  I need to write every day, because I am a writer.

  • I must 20 mins a day on my talk, because Im a motivational speaker.

  • I need to listen to others, because I am a leader.

    The reason here is because “this is who I am”
    The outcome is not the motivator. The motivation comes from a sense of identity being held within that desire. 

Which motivation would you say is most powerful, the outcomes focused or identity focused?

identity focused is more sustainable

Shifting your focus from one of an outcomes based mindset to that of identity means you will become that which you desire. In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits, he speaks about how the systems behind the goals are far more important than goals themselves. Without systems, the goals cannot be achieved. But without goals, a well formed system can still achieve good things. So, for an example, instead of focusing on losing 20 KGs, focus on becoming a healthy, active and fit person. Embody the characteristics that a healthy, fit and active person would have. Choose to be that which you so desire. 

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

Where do we start?

Create Identity statements.

These identity statements may look like this:

I am a musician.

I am a great parent.

I am a great entrepreneur.

Imagine creating 5 identity statements and then linking a habit to that statement. Then only after , lining  an outcome.

James Clear suggests: ” Firstly, decide the type of person you are or want to be. Secondly, now prove it to yourself by casting votes for the person you are or want to be”.

Imagine starting the year with someone asking, “What is the type of person you are in 2020?” to that we link the behaviors and to that, the outcome.

Making a connection to a belief can be just as much time and effort as trying to connect to an outcome. But once we’ve connected with this belief, it is not hard for that to be us, because it becomes us.

let’s link our change to the person we are becoming. Maybe you haven’t started yet; or maybe you’ve already failed. That is ok. Start by connecting with your Identity statements, and if it feels uncomfortable just remember that the more votes you cast towards it, the easier it becomes. Let’s make 2020 the year of identity.

The development of a good life long habit could be the most meaningful present you could ever give yourself.

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