When I think about myself, there’s a particular identity I’m imagining. I am “this”. If my behavior falls outside of this preconceived identity then I’d be severely disappointed in myself, it’d be a violation of who I am. For instance, I see myself as a thin person. Anytime I notice my weight getting past a certain point, I automatically eat less and consume nothing but wholesome food, there’s no stopping it. I can’t violate who I am and betray my identity.
My identity defines the life I live. But sometimes the identity we imagine includes unhelpful traits. For instance, we might think of ourselves as timid or worthless or a failure. Our imagined identity serves as the map we follow on our path through life, we’ll pick routes that conform to the characteristics we define.
The good news in all of this is that we can define any identity we want. To realign our identity with our goals, we need to determine the qualities we prefer and write them down. From there we can practice visualizing scenes in which we act according to those preferred qualities. We don’t have to force change, but simply visualize again and again until this new picture overwrites the old. In time this mental practice will influence our daily life, we’ll become exactly who we prefer to be.