For the past ten years, I’ve studied how to create change in human behavior.
Mostly, I’ve been marinating in my own petri dish (and it ain’t always been pretty.)
And, I’ve had the honor of supporting thousands of other beautiful souls in discovering a life of greater meaning, joy, ease, creativity, abundance, fulfillment…and whatever the heck else they want.
The tools to create change are often the same, regardless of your desired outcome.
Over the next few weeks, I’d like to simplify the process of behavior change for you.
Most people try to create change from the outside in:
We have a core identity that was formed at a young age. This set of beliefs about who we think we are creates a series of habitual thoughts, which produce certain feelings and motivate us to take specific actions.
Most people attempt to create change at the results/action level:
We try to change our results and actions, thinking it will change us.
This is only surface level change.
And, it can be hard to sustain if you haven’t also changed your thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
However, this is only surface level change. And it can be hard to sustain changes in your actions if you haven’t also changed your thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
The most effective way to create true change is to change at the identity level.
Start inside and move out:
Identity -> thoughts -> feelings -> actions -> results
Here’s a fun example; George Clooney could not get an acting gig to save his cute little dimpled face. He kept going to auditions (action) and getting crickets in response (results.)
Then one day, he had a radical mindset shift that changed his core beliefs about himself (identity level change). He realized – wait a minute! I’ve been desperately trying to get these casting directors to hire me. (He was in a needy, desperate energy…which other people can feel and get repelled by).
But…they’re looking for someone to fill this role. They need me. Not the other way around.
This radical shift in his beliefs + identity as someone who could fulfill the casting directors needs changed everything.
One simple mindset shift to believe; “They need me.”
Ol’ George’s acting career took off. Now he’s married to a brilliant lawyer + activist and gets to play pranks on Brad Pitt. So yeah, I’d say things worked out pretty well for George.
Whether you feel dissatisfied with your career, money, romance, relationships or health, I bet you have some core identity beliefs that have been keeping you stuck in certain thought patterns and feeling states.
To get out of this loop, you can change your beliefs about who you BE.
For example, let’s say you want to lose weight (result). The old way to change would be to focus on this end result of losing ten pounds (outside edge of the dartboard). You attempt to force yourself to take certain actions to get the result (actions: eat healthier, exercise more). But you can’t seem to stick with it.
If instead, you were to start changing your beliefs about who you be, and then focus on thoughts and feelings aligned with this new identity, your actions and results will follow.
In the example of wanting to lose ten pounds, the identity you desire is to “be a healthy person.” To strengthen this new identity, you might continually ask yourself throughout the day; “What would a healthy person do?” and act accordingly.
Lately, I’ve been sitting with the identity of being a “Spiritual Entrepreneur.” So I will continually ask myself throughout the day, “What would a spiritual entrepreneur do right now? Would she push herself to keep working at her computer when she’s tired?” Heck no! She’d go lay down, or walk in nature.”
When you connect with your bigger WHY and the identity of who you want to be in the world, you access deeper level change.
I’ll be sharing more posts on these topics in the coming weeks – so if this sparked any questions for you, hit “reply” and let me know or leave a comment below.
For now, your heartwork, should you choose to accept it, is to sit with the question; Who do you want to BE at this stage in your life?
And if you were that type of person (identity), how would you act moment to moment throughout the day? What kinds of thoughts and beliefs would that person hold about themselves or the world? Write down thoughts that someone with that identity might have. Take actions someone with that identity might take. Notice what happens. Be your own petri dish.
I really would love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments below, who do you want to be?!
Who you want to be when you grow up is a question you never fully answer. Because you’re always evolving. You never grow up.
The point isn’t to grow up. The point is to continually upgrade who you want to be.
May you live into who you want to be more fully today, and every day,
*This post and that dartboard graphic were inspired by the book Atomic Habits