In High School, I always viewed myself as being skinny. To give you an idea, I was 5 foot 9 and weighed 130lbs. Sure, I could run fast and was semi-athletic, but I felt weak and envied those who were muscular.
Towards the end of my senior year, I made it my goal to build muscle. I joined a gym, started eating more Calories, and even started drinking protein shakes.
At the beginning, I felt like a complete outsider. I had no idea what I was doing and everyone was out lifting me. But I luckily had an old friend as a workout buddy and we helped keep each other accountable.
It wasn’t long before two things started to happen:
- I started to enjoy going
- I started viewing myself as a weightlifter
Guess what, within 1 year, I stayed consistent and put on over 25 pounds of muscle (naturally). As a result, my self-esteem and life in general massively improved. In fact, experiencing the positive impact exercise had on my life inspired me to become a personal trainer 2 years later.
So why am I sharing this with you?
Because I’m taking a wild guess that if you’re reading this, you too have some form of health and fitness goal you want to achieve. How you see yourself (your personal identity) within the context of this process is super crucial.
If you want to succeed, you need to make sure your personal identity is in alignment with your goals. Let me explain…
When most of us try to get in shape, we typically focus first on what we want to change about our outward appearance (i.e. lose 20 pounds, tone up, build muscle, tighten our waist). Next, we go deeper think about what behaviors we need to change to reach our goals.
Unfortunately, this is usually where many get stuck. How do we eat better? How do we make exercising into a habit? We try and try but never get to where we want to be. We eventually give up and find ourselves back to our same old habits.
One of the major reasons could be that while we tried to change our behaviors, our mindset (specifically, how we view ourselves) stayed the same. If you want to act or behave differently (aka, if you want to change your habits) you first need to change the type of person you think you are.
From coaching hundreds of people over my career, I can tell you that those who successfully achieved their goals knew deep down that they could do it before they ever did. They became the time of person who could succeed before they ever did. This is what led them to success.
For example, they became the type of person who exercised almost every day. They became the type of person who ate mostly delicious and nutritious foods that fueled their body.
So now I ask you probably one of the most important questions you’ll be asked on your journey. How do you see yourself? What type of person are you?
Do you see yourself as someone who is capable of achieving your goals? Or do you view yourself as the type of person who is unmotivated or always struggling to lose weight? Because if you see yourself this way, that’s who you will be and you will always struggle.
How do you change this?
First, start by asking yourself what type of person do you want to become. Think about your fitness goals and ask yourself, what do those who have achieved a similar goal do every day? Are they a consistent exerciser? Do they meal prep ahead of time? What types of foods do they eat?
Whatever type of person you want to become, tell yourself that you ARE that type of person. As the saying goes, “Fake it til you make it.” I know it sounds strangely simple but it is very powerful. Repeat it to yourself. Put posters up…sticky notes in your car…change your screensaver on your phone. Surround yourself with this message! “I am the type of person who _______!”
Once you do this, the next step is to aim to make your actions match your ambitions. Each time you successfully complete an action or a behavior that is in line with your “new identity,” use that as proof that you really are the type of person who __________.
As you do this more and more, these small successes slowly start to add up. Eventually, in your heart, YOU WILL become the person you wished you could be. You are the type of person that can make this happen!