Jan 06, 2015

Your Identity and and How it Affects Reaching Your Goals

Change ManagementIf you’re like a lot of people, you sat down and created either goals or resolutions for 2015. Here we are a few days into the new year and, again, like many other people, you may have already given up on those goals or resolutions. The person that resolved to stop smoking is already back at it. The person that was determined to lose 40 pounds has already given in. The person desiring to start their own business is struggling to even do the basics to get underway. Wherein lies the problem?

The answer is in the word “wherein”. The goals and resolutions most people set are things they want to become, not who they are inside their mind. Those things haven’t become part of their Identity. The person that wants to lose 40 pounds and has already lost the fight only sees themselves as “heavy”, “fat”, “fluffy”, “pudgy”, “big-boned”, and an assortment of other euphemisms society has come up with. Until a person changes and takes on the identity of a person that is thin, or at least thinner, then they will always give in and continue to be overweight. When they change their identity, then they take on the behaviors of a thinner person. They eat like a thinner person. They exercise like a thinner person. And, most importantly, they think like a thinner person, because that is who they are. This takes away the struggles and fighting with eating too much, eating foods that are bad for them, choosing to sit and watch TV instead of exercising, etc. When they change their identity, they change their beliefs and behaviors. For some people, changing their identity comes in an instant, like a lightning bolt. They may have gone to the doctor and they are told that they are suffering damage to their body because of excessive weight. Their heart is weakening, their blood pressure is out of control, their blood sugar levels are edging on becoming diabetic, and more. The news that the doctor just delivered can be life-changing for some people. Like a lightning bolt, the news hits their neural pathways with so much impact that their identity is instantly changed. The thing that they used to enjoy so much that they couldn’t stop has become repulsive because they don’t want to have the ill-effects and die.

The same things happen to a person that smokes. As long as they see themselves as a smoker, they will joyfully continue the habits of being a smoker. For some, a visit to the doctor like the one described above will cause them to change. Others choose to hang on to the habit and allow it to kill them. Many years ago, I had a friend that drank alcohol excessively, at least a fifth of hard liquor every day. He needed surgery and went to the hospital where they got him complete sober and clean. Immediately after leaving the hospital, he stopped at the liquor store and bought several bottles of liquor. He died a few months later from cirrhosis of the liver. His identity was that of an alcoholic and he had no desire to change it.

What about goals and resolutions that aren’t life-threatening? The same principles apply. For instance, have you ever observed a salesperson that has a tremendous month in sales…and the next few months are miserable? For a person whose identity is that they are a top-performing salesperson, they will continue and build on that success. For a person whose identity is that they are mediocre, at best, they will unconsciously find ways to bring their success down to the level their identity feels comfortable with.
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What goals or resolutions have you set for 2015 that you’re already struggling with? Although, some people respond and change their identity when they have a life-threatening event, not all people will respond positively and many people won’t even go to the doctor. People can gradually change their identity through creating new daily habits and, over a long period of months or years, become different. But, I wonder, wouldn’t life be more fulfilling if you could have lightning bolt-like experiences easily facilitated on an as-needed basis? Something you may want to consider, because, if you’d like to be like my clients that know they can experience instant change in their identity so they can have everything they want in life, then a call or email to me is the next step you should take.

Creating life in forward motion,
Dr. Edward Lewellen