Identity-based habits are one of the most effective techniques to build lasting habits.
This concept became famous when it was introduced in James Clear’s best-selling book, Atomic Habits, and it quickly became one of the most searched terms by people who struggle to stick to their habits.
The idea behind identity-based habits is so simple and anyone can easily apply it to his life. So what are identity-based habits? Why is it a big deal? And what are some examples of these habits?
What Are Identity-Based Habits?
Identity-based habits are the habits that you do because of who you are. For instance, you may be the type of person who always smiles when saying “Good morning” to someone or you may be the person who always keeps the door open for the person behind him in the supermarket. You don’t need any effort to do these habits, you’re doing them because that’s who you are. You are that kind person who always smiles, you’re that generous person who wants to do good things for people.
That’s what identity-based habits are.
Identity-based habits don’t require effort or motivation to be done. You’re doing them automatically because they’re part of your identity. These habits are part of your personality.
So can you add new habits to your identity? And more importantly, can you change your identity?
The answer is yes and yes.
In the example above, we took one example of 2 good identity-based habits. However, you may have some bad habits that are part of your personality. Like mocking people or buying things you don’t need.
So it’s definitely possible to change your identity for the best by replacing your bad habits with new ones. You can improve your identity by adding new habits like training, eating healthy or reading books.
So you may want to be the type of person who eats healthy food. Not because you watched a motivational video on YouTube but because of who you are now. Your new identity is to become the type of person who eats healthy.
And this takes us to the next question.
How Your Habits Shape Your Identity?
That’s a great question.
Have you ever asked yourself why people are so different?
- Some people always smile in the morning while others don’t even greet each other.
- You see people who loves eating healthy food while others feel obliged to do it but they give up after a week.
- Some people love going to the gym every single day and they’re happy to do it, while others only go once and then give up.
Both groups have the same habits. They have the same goals. And they have the same 24 hours a day.
However, they have different identities.
Do you see the idea now?
People with identity-based habits don’t need the motivation to eat healthily or read books. They’re doing it without thinking because that’s who they are.
On the other hand, people with outcome-based habits only do it because they want to get something. They want to lose weight, get 6-pack abs, or be liked by someone.
And when they don’t get what they want or they feel it’s not worth it, they give up.
The second group also has an identity, but they didn’t try to change it.
You may be the type of person who loves eating junk food, so when you try to build a habit of eating healthy food, your identity will be like: “Wait, that’s illegal!”.
Because you changed your habits without changing your identity. And you forgot that your habits shape your identity.
Identity-Based Habits Examples
Here are 5 identity-based habits examples:
Become a reader
Your goal is not to read 30 books in 1 year, your goal is to become a reader.
Identity: Become the type of person who loves reading books
System: Read 10 pages every day
Become a writer
Your goal is not to write a book, your goal is to become a writer.
Identity: Become the type of person who writes 1000 words every day.
System: Write 1000 words every day.
Your goal is not to lose weight, your goal is to become healthy.
Identity: Become the type of person who eats healthy food.
System: Eat healthy food, walk for 10 minutes every day.
Become a straight “A” student
Your goal is not to get an “A”, your goal is to become a straight “A” student.
Identity: Become the type of student who studies every day.
System: Study for 30 minutes every night.
Become a good partner
Your goal is not to XX, your goal is to become a good partner.
Identity: Become the type of person who always makes his partner happy.
System: Do something good to your partner every day.
If you want to build lasting habits, you need to make these habits part of your identity. You can use the examples above to create new identity-based habits. You can also use a system-based habit tracker like Systemize to easily build and track these habits.