We’re talking about lasting change here. Not temporary, short term quick fixes.
One of the strongest forces that subconsciously guides your decisions is the need to remain consistent with how you see yourself – your sense of identity.
For example, notice the power and permanency of statements like:
“It’s just who I am”
“I could never do that, it’s just not me.”
“I am a perfectionist” (I used to proudly see myself this way! No wonder I struggled! lol)
If you see yourself as a “stressed person”, an “addictive personality”, a “binge eater”, or a “self saboteur”, then you’ll keep doing those things because that’s who you really believe you are at your core.
It’s no longer a behaviour, it’s now your identity.
What about being overweight?
Do you see your weight in a very objective, factual way? Or even in a temporary way like being injured or having the flu?
Or do you allow it to define who you are as a person?
If you allow being overweight to define your identity and your sense of self, then you will automatically make choices that are aligned with that identity.
The thing is, your body is a DELAYED representation of your identity. It’s a representation of who you USED to be. Not necessarily who you are today.
The truth is your identity is always evolving and… is a CHOICE!
Let’s say that growing up you felt afraid or neglected, and you tried using food to distract yourself. That’s a behaviour. It’s an experiment in learning to regulate your emotions.
It’s not particularly effective but at that stage in your life you don’t know any better and it helps a little. Some change is better than no change.
If you repeat that behaviour enough times it becomes a habit.
If you repeat that habit enough times it’s very easy to allow it to become part of your identity. Now you’re just going to keep doing the same thing because “that’s just who I am”.
But your identity can change in a heartbeat! Ever heard of people giving up smoking just by deciding? They didn’t need e-cigarettes, patches, gum, hypnosis, or books.
They had a significant emotional event – which can be different from person to person. The event itself isn’t what matters. What matters is that in that moment they made a decision.
People do this with binge eating and weight loss all the time. It’s just that when somebody gives up smoking, the key result they’re looking for – giving up smoking – is immediate!
With weight loss it obviously takes more time to visually SEE the ultimate result they’re after.
But the IDENTITY CHANGE is a rapid two step process!
STEP ONE – is to have a significant emotional event. But you don’t have to wait for life to give you one! You can either have hindsight or foresight. You can either experience the deterioration in your health, happiness, and quality of life for real… or you can see it AND FEEL IT before it happens.
Don’t just intellectualise it like you’re reading off a shopping list… “yeah I suppose I’d gain even more weight, detach from life even more, and end up alone…” Actually imagine it happening for real. That’s going to be horrible to think about, which is why you don’t! But it’s one of the most important exercises you could ever do.
STEP TWO – is choose to be your future self – RIGHT NOW – TODAY!
See yourself as a slim, fit, healthy person (or insert the type of person you want to become – muscular, lean etc) with all the character traits that go along with that…
It’s just that you need time for your physiology to catch up and become an external representation of your internal reality. Remember your body is a DELAYED representation of your identity.
So that’s who you are now….
That’s how you think, feel, and act in every way….
That’s how you organise your life….
All your decisions, choices, and reactions in life are driven by that identity.
I often talk about the “high value woman”. That’s a woman who takes bold decisive action and makes shit happen in her life. This is absolutely an identity you can choose right now. You don’t have to wait to become that person, you can become her now!
It’s a choice.
Make no mistake, this cannot be a half assed choice! You can’t decide to grow into your higher self “provided it’s convenient, comfortable, and easy!”
Or what frequently happens…people read about the High Value Woman, get all “motivated”, inspired and excited and yet DO NOTHING to change their behaviour.
The smoker who makes the immediate identity change still has to go through the withdrawal symptoms. That’s uncomfortable. But the identity change means they are the TYPE OF PERSON WHO is willing to do the uncomfortable things to have the life they want.
Don’t just try to change your behaviour on it’s own. That’s why most people fail. Change your behaviour AND your identity.