The Secret to Achieving Your Goals: What Would a Healthy Person Do?
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Have you ever tried a new diet or workout regimen, only to find yourself giving up soon after? I think so many of us get caught up in what feels like a hopeless cycle when it comes to living healthier. There seems to be a lot of guilt, but not a lot of progress.
This seemingly hopeless cycle might look something like this, which only focuses on the desired outcome:
The Solution? Ditching Outcome-Based Habits.
I recently read a fantastic book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. He proposed a new method of forming habits, and it focuses on identity and processes rather than just outcomes. Clear says:
"Outcomes are about what you get. Processes are about what you do. Identity is about what you believe...many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads us to outcome-based habits. The alternative is to build identity-based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become."
Here is the same scenario as above (losing 10 pounds) with my interpretation of Clear's identity-based habits:
SO GOOD, right? What a paradigm shift!
Clear suggests claiming an identity to cling to instead of focusing on solely your desired outcome. If you're trying to lose weight, then each time you reach a fork-in-the-road, instead of thinking "Ugh, I really shouldn't eat this or that because I need to lose 10 pounds" remind yourself of your identity, "I am a healthy person. What would a healthy person do right now?"
Small Choices, Big Changes
The way I see it, each day you have hundreds of small decisions that define your future. Consider this: every fork in the road, every choice you make, leads you down either a healthy or an unhealthy path. When you get up in the morning and have the option of eating avocado toast or poptarts, when you have to decide in a split second between stairs or the escalator, when you're choosing between a Coke and water at dinner...all of these seemingly small choices are leading you down a path.
The question is: which path are you on?
When you're navigating the hundreds of choices each day, remember the identity you are creating for yourself and in those moments ask yourself "what would a healthy person do?"
-The Virtual PT
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