IDENTITY SHIFT: How to Sneak Up on Your Subconscious

Photo by Scott Carroll on Unsplash

In the first post of this series, I outlined six reasons why New Year's Health Resolutions (and most habit changes) fail.

In this post, I'll delve into further details around the SIXTH and final reason why they fail:

6 - You failed to see yourself differently

I saved the best (read: hardest) for last.

Lasting change involves a shift in identity; you need to be able to see yourself differently if you want any change to stick.

Any goal that's not in line with the way you see yourself will fail because the action will be "something I'm doing" versus "someone I am."

DOING: I eat vegetables every day.

BEING: I am a healthy eater.

How do you change the way you see yourself?

In the last post, I described how the purpose of baby steps is to watch yourself succeed so that you can feel confident in taking on new challenges.

But baby steps are also a great way to sneak up on your subconscious.

When you try to make a change that's too big - aka too far from your current identity - you'll have a relapse, a rebound, a change-back attack.

Your subconscious mind will not accept huge shifts in behaviour; it will put up a fight because whatever change you're trying to make is too far from your current identity.

It will say – "NO, THIS IS NOT WHO I AM!" – and go back to doing the same old, same old.

So you gotta sneak up on your subconscious like you would to Bambi in the woods.

"There, there little subconscious, don't worry, all is well, I'm just gonna take this little tiny baby step over here. What? No, we're not totally shifting our identity and expecting ourselves to be a different person overnight. That would be crazy... We're just going to do this one tiny 
little thing..."

Sneaking up on your subconscious. Photo by Julie Marsh on Unsplash

Your subconscious mind will accept small shifts in behaviour without putting up a fight; that's why baby steps are crucial.

In order to change what you do, you have to change who you tell yourself you are; you have to change the image you have of yourself in your mind.

Because once your identity is in line with the behaviour you're trying to implement, then no effort is required; this thing you're doing is just who you are.

If you want to change your behaviour, you have to change your identity.

In order to change your identity, you have to employ baby steps, one at a time, to cause that shift to happen.

Taking care of your health - or doing anything at all - becomes effortless when doing the things which are good for you become a part of who you are.


You can only change your behaviour by changing your identity through consistently winning at taking baby steps.


So, who do you want to be?

The last six posts 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - were a comprehensive list of the reasons that New Year's resolutions (or any drastic change) will inevitably fail, and what to do instead.

Thanks for accompanying me on the journey!

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