Why Long Term Behavioural Change is HARD (Part 2)

Last week I wrote about behavioural change and some of the reasons it’s so hard to consistently do the things we KNOW are good for us.

And having spent more time thinking about it, I think Reason #4 is really the crux of the matter. Recall Reason #4 was:

There is a disconnect between who you want to be and who currently believe yourself to be.

So today we are going to spend some more time thinking about how to bridge the gap between what we want and what we believe….

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can”

Nikos Kazantzakis

(Honestly, I have no idea who he is but it’s a good quote!)

I was reading about Behavioural Change and came across James Clear and this image. Which to me spells out exactly why we find it so hard to uphold long term change…

Layers of Behavioural Change
Layers of Behavioural Change

Most of the time we want to change the External Appearance (I want to lose weight, I want to get fit) but don’t really do much work on changing our deeply embedded beliefs, stories and Internal Identity.

So we join a gym but moan that we hate it, it’s a chore, cardio is boring, I’m too self-conscious for free weights…

Or we decide to go on a diet but tell ourselves we don’t like salad, we can’t live without chocolate/biscuits/wine and that eating healthy is oh so hard…

And inevitably, the behaviour change loses momentum, our motivation wanes  and we revert back to the old behaviours…

The answer, according to James Clear is to start from the Inner Identity. Start by deciding the type of person you want to be and affirming it to yourself. And in order to properly affirm it to yourself, you need to prove it to yourself with a series of small wins…

For example:

You want to become more healthy…
NEW IDENTITY: Tell yourself you’re the type of person who loves to eat lots of veg.
SMALL WINS: Aim to eat a portion of veg every day.

You want to become more active…
NEW IDENTITY: Tell yourself you’re the type of person who walks everywhere
SMALL WINS: Aim to increase your daily steps by x

You want to become stronger…
NEW IDENTITY: Tell yourself you’re the type of person who prioritises their workouts
SMALL WINS: Workout with us 3 times a week!

You get the idea… Set yourself small, achievable goals that will help you to get close to the identity of the person that you want to be.