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Best Practices

The Power of Identity

February 25, 2021
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Team Opal
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It is a lot easier to change who you are, by acting as if you are already that version of yourself. In other words, by adopting an identity that which you hope to achieve, you are more likely to achieve it.

One of the best ways to become better at something, is to adopt the identity of intended version of yourself. Even if it is not yet 100% true, looking at yourself in a different light can be instrumental in helping you develop and stick to the new routine, habit, or lifestyle. For example, if you want to start working out more religiously, adopt the identity of such a person. Even if there isn't a word to describe it, a "fit person" or "someone who works out" does the job. And reciting "I am a fit person" daily, can help cement this identity. Or if you want to get into the habit of reading a few minutes each night, identify as "a reader". You don't need to check off 20 books before you can consider yourself that, and no ones going to press you on it.

James Clear calls these Identity-Based habits in his 2020 Bestseller, Atomic Habits. And Nir Eyal refers to this concept as Identity Pacts in his digital wellness bible, Indistractable.

Both of these authors encourage their readers to verbalize their new identity out loud for themselves to hear and accept it as fact. Whereas Clear tends to phrase the mantra in a way that resembles, "I am the type of person that works out often", Eyal keeps it concise by saying "I am active". But they both would agree that the semantics are not the important part, it's the acceptance that matters. If you don't verbalize, and more importantly believe, then the identity based solution won't be worthwhile.

It should come as no surprise that utilizing identities can work great for improving your digital health as well! Here are some examples:

"I am Indistractable" - Nir Eyal's go-to mantra that is the near namesake of his book.

"I am the type of person that uses my iPhone towards meaningful things"  -  A James Clear esque mantra for digital well-being

"I am a digital minimalist" - If you like nouns.

Again, the specific words aren't the important part. Just find one that you can adopt, and recite it a few times a day, and even better, bring it up to others when a conversation you're in is relevant to digital well-being. So go enjoy this improved version of yourself!

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