As a young child my mother told me I could be anyone I wanted to be. Turns out that is called identity theft.
All joking aside, you have to know who you are, to become who you want.
And you also have to know who you want to be, which can sometimes be harder than knowing who you are.
Once you have answers to these two questions you can shift your identity and start writing your own life story.
When I did the exercise below I found that the ideal version of me wants to be optimistic, a good cook, and a great friend.
The problem is that I have sabotaging beliefs about myself that ruin my hopes for positive change.
“I always burn meals”.
“I’ve been pessimistic my whole life”.
“I’m not a social butterfly”.
Do you see how these beliefs about my identity are catastrophic? What damaging beliefs are floating around in your head?
Fortunately, now I know who I am and who I want to be.
This has inspired me to reevaluate, change interpretations, and make new decisions about myself.
Thanks to this exercise, the last two weeks have been some of the most enjoyable of my life! I’ve finally been able to embrace optimism by seeking new strategies to transform my emotional state. That is because I have started living as the person I want to be and that person’s glass in half full!
This new perspective, has made my life invaluable. I promise you that when you change your identity, you will change your life.
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
How to create and embrace your ideal identity.
1. Be Bold
In bold font or a black sharpie if writing, add the traits that you want to see in the greatest version of yourself. You can add these right onto the description where you discovered yourself.
From now on, when you need help making decisions, do whatever this superior version of yourself would do!
It’s like the “What Would Jesus Do” bracelets of the 90’s but instead you’ll ask, “What Would I Do?”
Also go through and strikeout the aspects of your identity that don’t help you accomplish your dreams.
Once you’ve described the ideal version of yourself, read it and consider again how this new identity makes you feel. Is anything missing? Keep going until you have a description that gives you the strongest sense of conviction.
Congratulations, now you know who you are and who you want to be.
You have the tools to drastically change your life today and a flood of empowering thoughts, emotions, and behavior will follow.
This is a game changing moment.
2. Scrutinize Your Disempowering Beliefs
Create doubt about those aspects of your identity that don’t help.
Consider the people, events, and factors that have led you to having those beliefs. Are they really valid? Are those people’s opinions more valuable than your own? Was what happened to you, really under your control?
3. Find and Create Beliefs That Support What You Want
You consistently act in accordance to the beliefs you have about yourself, whether true or not.
But you can only tap into the capabilities you believe are true. Some beliefs are empowering and others are disempowering. If you believe you’re a runner, you’ll go out for a jog. If you believe you suck at dieting, good luck losing weight!
Find Supporting Beliefs: One trick is to think of a past memory when you did something that supports the new belief system you are trying to adopt.
My ultimate self is a great cook. So to help me see myself as that person today, I reflect back on the time I made yummy chicken quesadillas.
Create Supporting Beliefs: If you don’t have many memories that support who you want to be, start creating memories. Start small and build your way up.
Start doing little things that can serve as a testament that you are your new identity. If being a caring spouse is a part of who you want to be, go out and buy your loved one flowers.
And just like that, you’ve made a new memory that you can reflect on to support and enhance your identity.
These tactics help because we look at what we do, to create beliefs about ourselves. And what we believe, we back up.
4. See Yourself As You Wish to Be
If you have a negative present or past identity, then stop continuing to think of yourself that way. What good will it do?
Instead believe in your future and think of yourself as the person you plan to become. Make the decision right now that you are who you want to be, and you will live accordingly. That is nothing more than a decision, you get to make.
Why wait to be that outstanding person, when you don’t have too?
Your identity is at the top of your mental emotional system. Changing it, changes everything!
Your thoughts and emotions will instantly begin to be shaped by this new identity which results in powerful new actions and behavior. When you change who you are, it’ll change what you do, and that creates the destiny of your life.
Watch your thoughts,
They become words.
Watch your words,
They become actions.
What your actions,
They become habits.
Watch your habits,
They become character.
Watch your character,
It becomes your destiny.
– Lao Tzu
5. Change Your Interpretation
Start telling yourself a better story about your life. There are an infinite number of ways to see a situation, much less a lifetime.
If the way you currently interpret your life isn’t helpful then change it.
For example consider a person who thinks they are a drug addict vs. thinking that they have a drug addiction. Which interpretation do you think has a greater chance of recovery?
The identity of one changes, with how one percieves reality. -Vithu Jeyaloganathan
It’s a lot harder for people to change characteristics of their identity than to change their actions.
What if this person decided that they are a living example that anyone can overcome addiction? How powerful would that new interpretation be?
Figure out which of your interpretations are dangerous and change them!
6. Display A Short Description
Now that you have all kinds of information about your identity, try to summarize it into a half sheet of paper.
This was really hard for me, as a matter of fact I was shooting for a paragraph and gave up on that idea!
Display your identity somewhere that you can read it every day, to help it stick.
That way when someone asks, “Who are you?” you won’t stare back blankly into their eyes.
Instead you’ll answer with pride and confidence.
7. What Are Your Strategies?
On the bottom half of the paper with your shortened identity, jot down specific strategies you can use each day to unleash your best self.
For example I wrote down:
- Memories that supported my belief in my new identity.
- Actions to take that will create new supporting memories.
- My new better story.
- Habits that my new identity will do everyday.
- New empowering rules about when I’m allowed to feel pleasure and pain.
- Emotional mastery techniques: Stop, look, go, daily gratitude, mindfulness, name it to tame it, transformation vocabulary, compassion meditation.
Some of these strategies come from this post and others you’ll learn later in the series. For now just write down strategies that you already know and understand.
Now every morning I read my new identity and feel what it’s like to be who I am. I also read my strategies to help me remember to use them as situations arise throughout the day.
8. Have Fun Getting to Know Your New Identity
Read it every day. Visualize yourself as this new person.
Use your strategies often!
Know what it’s like to be the new you, what emotions do you feel? Make decisions based on what this ideal version of yourself would do!
I encourage you to take action and share your new identity with us in the comments. Social groups of like-minded people are one of the best resources toward change. Remember you’ll live up to what you write down and believe what you say.
This has been a lot of hard work, congrats on discovering and becoming your best!