Identity Change

Benefit: Upgrade habits


"Imagine two people resisting a cigarette. When offered a smoke, the first person says, "No thanks. I'm trying to quit." It sounds like a reasonable response, but this person still believes they are a smoker who is trying to be something else. They are hoping their behavior will change while carrying around the same beliefs.

The second person declines by saying, "No thanks. I'm not a smoker." It's a small difference, but this statement signals a shift in identity. Smoking was part of their former life, not their current one. They no longer identify as someone who smokes.

Most people don't even consider identity change when they set out to improve. They just think, "I want to be skinny (outcome) and if l stick to this diet, then I'll be skinny (process)." They set goals and determine the actions they should take to achieve those goals without considering the beliefs that drive their actions. They never shift the way they look at themselves, and they don't realize that their old identity can sabotage their new plans for change." - Atomic Habits

Ofcourse this skill is not straightforward as it seems. You will see that it doesn't always work. The reason is the same as everything else, you have to ease into it. If you're 100kg and you start saying "I am a healthy person" you may have congnitive dissonance. So it might make more sense to tell yourself, "I am someone who acts like a 90kg person" once you hit that mark you can go down to 80 and so on.


  1. Write down something you want to change.
  2. Write down all the personal traits of such a person.
  3. Repeat the most convincing ones daily.


  1. I want to have abs.
    • I love working out.
    • I love crunches.
    • I feel bad if I don't exercise daily.
    • I like people with fit bodies (will increase chance of becoming friends with them and hanging out with them).
    • I don't like carbs.
    • I like meat.


  1. I want to be a get a promotion.
    • I love my job.
    • I love my collegagues.
    • I love doing <>. (I love figuring out how the bugs happen) (I love solving complicated coding problems) (I love strategizing with my colleagues)
    • I enjoy reporting daily updates/achievements to my boss.
    • I enjoy thinking about what the business needs and pushing it forward.