Successfully losing weight ultimately comes down to make better decisions day in-day out. It’s not about some one-time heroic action but a sustained effort over time.
When it comes to those daily choices there are many things that can influence us and a big part of it is our identity.
Our identity or self-image is who we think we are. i.e. When you’re thinking about going to the gym you ask yourself “Am I the kind of person that skips a workout or cheats on a diet plan?”.
The good choices we make are often grounded in identity, vice-versa the choice we based on our emotional state are typically those that don’t lead to success.
The basis of good decisions follows as:
Identity/State – Action – Emotion; instead of
Emotion – Action – Identity/State
Instead of asking yourself “How do I feel right now?” before doing something – and then taking action based on that (which is probably no action at all). This will lead to a very poor self-image.
Instead start off with the identity and ask yourself “What would the best version of myself do right now?” and that will result in taking right action which in the end will give the right emotion as well.
However our identity, self-image or mental state can also shift. As with everything in life the state of our mind is in constant flux.
Below are the 5 most common types of “Identity” states we find ourselves in and how does that relate to losing weight.
#1 – Rational Identity State
This should be your default state. When this identity is dominant you are objective. You can weigh the pros and cons of your choices and make the right now that will keep you on track.
People who get great results make most of their decisions in this state. You basically do the things you know are good for you.
#2 – Motivated Identity State
This identity is something we experience on those days, week and months when we want to go “all-out” in one area of life at any particular given time.
This is a great starting point and can catapult you in the right direction with all the built up motivation and emotional leverage (example: NYE resolutions). Needless to say, this identity is that it’s not sustainable long-term because your other areas of life will start suffer because your micro-focused on one objective.
Neither will your mental state and motivation stay the same. Not planning for this can derail you and leave you disappointed.
#3 – Satisfied Identity State
This identity is taken on when we have already achieved some solid results and now all of a sudden it’s ‘okay to back-off’.
This identity is formed on the basis of external motivation – which once tasted can diminish rather than spur further action toward goals.
A typical scenario of this is where people undo a 5 day caloric deficit over the weekend. Or those who just can’t stick to a program even though it’s getting results and they can see changes.
#4 – Frustrated Identity State
This is the identity prevalent when immediate results are not visible or tangible. You are not aware of the results or you’re not making any progress.
At this point people try to rationalize poor choices with “Why even bother?” or “It’s not worth it for me.” This leads to binge eating and drinking often resulting in quitting the whole journey.
#5 – Passive Identity State
You already have the motivation to make good decisions but you don’t take consistent action. You’re also waiting to “feel like it“. With this identity you never really make much progress because you lack consistency.
Step 1 – Observe which identity/state is dominant. This isn’t easy, and requires a lot of self-awareness.
Step 2 – Think about what your rational identity would do in this situation. That’s your grounded self, the mental state where you can make the right choice every time.
Step 3 – If you catch yourself in any other state/identity other than the ‘Rational Identity’ – don’t make any important decisions from that basis.
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