Developing a lifelong habit goes beyond little tweaks to your daily routine. It actually becomes a part of who you are and what you want to achieve in life. So aligning your actions with your identity is a powerful way to kickstart your learning journey.
In a way, what we do is who we are. Our daily actions define who we are as people. In other words, they are the biggest part of our identity.
This is true for all kinds of habits, not just those that are good for you. That’s why some bad habits that might have stuck with us for a very long time – like eating junk food, smoking, or constantly being late – seem so difficult to overcome. And that’s one reason why setting up better new habits that will replace those negative ones is so daunting.
But we’re not telling you this to discourage you. Far from it! Identifying the relationship between your habits and your identity can be a powerful force in your habit-development toolkit that allows you to start building a bespoke approach that works for you. Let’s delve deeper!
The Three Layers of Behavior Change
If you have tried to change your habits or adopt new ones, like exercising every day or learning a new language, but haven’t succeeded no matter how hard you tried, that’s a strong indication that you are changing the wrong thing.
As James Clear states in his Atomic Habits, there are three layers of behavior change: your outcomes, your process, and finally, your identity. Each one of these layers goes deeper into the core of habit development.
Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
- Outcomes: This refers to your goals. The end-point of your journey. For example, getting a degree, losing weight, or learning English.
- Processes: This refers to the changes to your systems or routines towards your goal. For example, studying for your exams in a timely manner, adopting a healthier diet, or practicing English every day after eating breakfast.
- Identity: At the deepest level are the changes that have to do with our beliefs, our ideas, and the way we see the world and other people.
It is worth pointing out that all of these are relevant on their own ground and play a role in developing a new habit. They often interact with each other. The key is the direction of our approach when we seek to change.
Instead of starting with the outcome and working inwards to the other layers, let’s see what happens if you start at the identity level and work your way outwards. In simpler terms, try to adopt new habits not focusing on WHAT you want to achieve but on WHO you want to become. Instead of saying, “I want to learn English,” say, “I want to be an English speaker.”
That’s the mentality shift we will help you with here at LalTal. Your language coach will help you develop an identity-based approach so you can create meaningful, lifelong habits that ultimately help you become who you want to be.
Eager to get started? Take the first step and schedule your goal-setting session so we can get you connected with one of our English coaches and empower your language learning journey!