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The Power of Identity

We can harness the power of identity-based habits to help improve our digital wellbeing.

February 25, 2021

It’s a lot easier to change who you are by acting as if you’re already that version of yourself. In other words, by adopting an identity that you hope to achieve, you’re more likely to achieve it. Awesome, right?

Even if this adopted identity is not yet 100% true, viewing yourself in a different light can be instrumental in helping you develop and stick to a new routine, habit, or lifestyle. Even if there isn’t a word to describe this identity, something like “a fit person” does the job. Even reciting “I am a fit person” daily can help cement this new identity.

James Clear calls these Identity-Based Habits in his 2020 Bestseller, Atomic Habits. Additionally, Nir Eyal refers to this concept as Identity Pacts in his digital wellness bible, Indistractable. Both authors encourage their readers to verbalize their new identity out loud for themselves to hear, accepting 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 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.

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It should come as no surprise that utilizing identities can help improve your digital health as well! Here are some examples:

  • "I am Indistractable" - Nir Eyal's go-to mantra that’s 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.”
  • And so many more…

Again, the specific words aren't the important part. Just find a phrase that you can adopt and recite a few times a day. Even better, bring it up to others when you’re having a conversation relevant to digital wellbeing. Go enjoy this improved version of yourself!

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