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How To Create An Identity That Drives Your Motivation

Your identity creates the story for how you go about your day.

Written By

Courtney Cornwall, Outrun Gravity


Our perceived identities can play a significant role in the way we navigate our daily lives. Many times, the main obstacle holding us back from achieving our goals is the mindset that we are unlike the person who deserves to play the role.

No matter how grand your goals are, you can utilize identity to motivate you to make your dreams come true.

Here is how to get started:

1. Identify your goals.

The simplest first step to using your identity to create motivation is to clearly identify your goals. Do you wish to be fit and healthy? Clever and knowledgeable? Hard-working and disciplined? Or do you have a more finite goal, like running a marathon, writing a novel, or starting a business? Whatever you wish to achieve, your journey is already underway once you have highlighted your desired path.

2. Determine which identity you wish to be.

The next step to utilizing your identity to create motivation is to determine which identity you aspire to be based on the goal you wish to achieve. You want more than run a marathon: you want to be a runner. You want more than to finish a book: you wish to be a writer. You don’t want to launch your business: you want to be a hard-working entrepreneur. Don’t worry about how far away you feel you are from this identity – you are always closer than you think.

3. Imagine how someone with this identity would think, feel, and behave.

Now that you have determined your ideal identity, it is time to imagine how it would feel to walk in these shoes. What would a runner do? Put on their sneakers and go for a run. What would a writer do? Put their fingers on the keyboard every day, no matter how blank their mind seemed. What would an entrepreneur do? Take actionable steps toward the overall goal.

4. Create an environment to support your identity.

The environment around you significantly impacts your decisions and behavior, so by optimizing your surroundings to support your identity, you will be more likely to make choices you are proud of. This step can be as simple as only grocery shopping for nutritious foods or as drastic as designing an office dedicated to your craft. Regardless, the mental stability you can gain from a supportive environment is invaluable to remain motivated.

5. Let your new identity dictate your behavior.

The final step in encompassing a new identity is to fake it until you make it. Rather than focusing on instant gratification, make the difficult choice that someone your identity would make. Even seasoned runners don’t feel like running every morning, and writers struggle to get words on the page. The sooner you start taking action to create an environment your identity will thrive, the sooner you will feel the part.

Your identity creates the story for how you go about your day. Whether you wish to achieve something simple or grand, reshaping your mindset can be significant in motivating you to pursue your dreams. Next time you feel unmotivated, remember your ideal identity and ask yourself the question: what would a ____ do?

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