Module 2.

Identity Change – Who Do You Want to Be?

Welcome to this section in which we will learn a few fundamentals about habit change. In the previous section we learned all the many reasons for wanting to adopt a healthy plant-based diet. We learned about all the health benefits, the contribution we will be making to reducing animal suffering and helping to protect the environment that we all share.

If you’re reading this you’re also motivated to make the change, because otherwise you wouldn’t be here. I’m really pleased for you that you’ve made it this far. Most people don’t.

But it’s one thing to be motivated to making change, but it’s a completely different thing to make any changes lasting. That’s why this module is so important. It will help you to understand how easy it can be provided we go about it in the right way.

Behavior Change Has Three Layers

Until quite recently, I never realized that changing habits and behaviors was not as straightforward as a thought. I always thought that you simply made up your mind to do something, then started doing it and then, if you were lucky, it would become a part of your life and become a new habit.

I’ve found out, however, there are a lot of things that we can do to help ourselves achieve our goals. Goals, as it turns out, are the first layer of habit change. Most of us believe that we are just trying to achieve a goal, and while that’s true, it’s only a part of the story. In our case, we have set the goal of moving from our current diet to a healthy plant-based diet. So our goal is set.

If, however, we are like most people having an objective is insufficient for creating lasting change. We’ve all been there before. We decide to get fit and set ourselves the goal of going to the gym three times a week. We rush out to join the gym but within a few weeks, we’re only going twice a week and eventually, we stop going altogether. Our motivation diminishes and we return to our old ways. Or we decide to give up smoking.

We throw away our last packet of cigarettes and somehow manage to go two weeks without smoking. Then we’re out with friends, we’re offered a fag, we lapse and by Monday we are smoking again.
Goals on their own are not enough.

Systems and Processes Form the Second Layer

The processes and systems that we use to facilitate the change that we want to see form the second layer of habit change. So as in the example above, we want to get fit so we join the gym and swear to ourselves that we will go at least three times a week. The goal is to get fit, the system and process is to go the gym three times a week. So we have a goal and a system, but strangely more often than not, we fail and eventually lapse back into our old ways.

The reason for this is that although a goal and a system are needed for us to change our behaviors, these two alone are usually not enough to create lasting change. And lasting change is what we are striving for. We want to become healthy, stronger, compassionate and better people, not just for the short term, but forever.

The Third Layer Is the Most Important

The most effective way to change our habits is to focus not on what we want to achieve, but on who we want to become.

Think of it like this. As we’ve already discussed, we want to get fit and healthy, that’s our goal. We join the gym and decide to go three times a week, that’s our process and method. But to give ourselves the best possible chance of becoming fit and healthy for the rest of our lives, which is what we really want, we have to change the way we think about ourselves.

Instead of seeing ourselves as someone who is unfit that wants to become fit, it would be far more effective to regard ourselves as someone for whom health and fitness are important. When someone asks, “why are you going to the gym?”, instead of replying, “to get fit”, you would reply, “because being fit and healthy is who I am now”.

In fact, this principle is so critical, it would be far better to invest your time in changing the way you see yourself than actually going to the gym at all.

Our goal, then, is not to stop eating meat and dairy and eat a plant-based diet instead, but rather to become a healthy, compassionate and informed person.

It’s also true, however, that our identity emerges from our habits. The process does not have to be fast. In fact, it can be slow. As long as we are moving in the right direction and providing ourselves with evidence that confirms who we are becoming we will arrive at our destination.

Every time we choose a plant-based option over our normal habitual choice, we are casting a vote for the identity that we have taken on. The person that we have decided to be.

How We Change Our Identities

So how do we change our identity. We have to ask ourselves what kind of people we want to become. Who do you wish to become? We need to ask ourselves: “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?”
For example, the type of person who could drop meat and dairy and start eating plant-based, is probably health aware and compassionate.

Once you’ve decided on the type of person you want to be, you can begin taking small steps to reinforce your desired identity.

Before just eating something, ask yourself “What would a healthy person do?” Use this question as a guide all day long. If you act like a healthy and compassionate person long enough, you will become that person.

The real reason habits matter is not because they can get you better results (although they can do that), but because they can change your beliefs about yourself.

Quite literally, you become your habits.

1. Introduction  |  2. Identity Change  |  3. Make it Rewarding  |  4. How to Build Habits  6. The Best Way to Start  |  7. Environment  |  8. More on Environment  |  9. Make it Attractive10. Make it Unattractive  |  11. Role of Friends and Family  |  12. Momentum | 13. Make it Easy  |  14. Procrastination  |  15. Commitment Devices

About Module 2:

Before we find out more about switching to a healthy diet, it will help us a lot to learn about how habits are formed and, perhaps most importantly, kept.

I’m really excited about this module because it provides us with a tool for making changes in all areas of our life, not just diet and health. I promise that you’ll discover a lot of new ways of implementing changes in your life. This module will also help you to kick bad habits and create new ones.

Module 2.

Identity Change – Who Do You Want to Be?

Welcome to this section in which we will learn a few fundamentals about habit change. In the previous section we learned all the many reasons for wanting to adopt a healthy plant-based diet. We learned about all the health benefits, the contribution we will be making to reducing animal suffering and helping to protect the environment that we all share.

If you’re reading this you’re also motivated to make the change, because otherwise you wouldn’t be here. I’m really pleased for you that you’ve made it this far. Most people don’t.

But it’s one thing to be motivated to making change, but it’s a completely different thing to make any changes lasting. That’s why this module is so important. It will help you to understand how easy it can be provided we go about it in the right way.

Behavior Change Has Three Layers

Until quite recently, I never realized that changing habits and behaviors was not as straightforward as a thought. I always thought that you simply made up your mind to do something, then started doing it and then, if you were lucky, it would become a part of your life and become a new habit.

I’ve found out, however, there are a lot of things that we can do to help ourselves achieve our goals. Goals, as it turns out, are the first layer of habit change. Most of us believe that we are just trying to achieve a goal, and while that’s true, it’s only a part of the story. In our case, we have set the goal of moving from our current diet to a healthy plant-based diet. So our goal is set.

If, however, we are like most people having an objective is insufficient for creating lasting change. We’ve all been there before. We decide to get fit and set ourselves the goal of going to the gym three times a week. We rush out to join the gym but within a few weeks, we’re only going twice a week and eventually, we stop going altogether. Our motivation diminishes and we return to our old ways. Or we decide to give up smoking.

We throw away our last packet of cigarettes and somehow manage to go two weeks without smoking. Then we’re out with friends, we’re offered a fag, we lapse and by Monday we are smoking again.
Goals on their own are not enough.

Systems and Processes Form the Second Layer

The processes and systems that we use to facilitate the change that we want to see form the second layer of habit change. So as in the example above, we want to get fit so we join the gym and swear to ourselves that we will go at least three times a week. The goal is to get fit, the system and process is to go the gym three times a week. So we have a goal and a system, but strangely more often than not, we fail and eventually lapse back into our old ways.

The reason for this is that although a goal and a system are needed for us to change our behaviors, these two alone are usually not enough to create lasting change. And lasting change is what we are striving for. We want to become healthy, stronger, compassionate and better people, not just for the short term, but forever.

The Third Layer Is the Most Important

The most effective way to change our habits is to focus not on what we want to achieve, but on who we want to become.

Think of it like this. As we’ve already discussed, we want to get fit and healthy, that’s our goal. We join the gym and decide to go three times a week, that’s our process and method. But to give ourselves the best possible chance of becoming fit and healthy for the rest of our lives, which is what we really want, we have to change the way we think about ourselves.

Instead of seeing ourselves as someone who is unfit that wants to become fit, it would be far more effective to regard ourselves as someone for whom health and fitness are important. When someone asks, “why are you going to the gym?”, instead of replying, “to get fit”, you would reply, “because being fit and healthy is who I am now”.

In fact, this principle is so critical, it would be far better to invest your time in changing the way you see yourself than actually going to the gym at all.

Our goal, then, is not to stop eating meat and dairy and eat a plant-based diet instead, but rather to become a healthy, compassionate and informed person.

It’s also true, however, that our identity emerges from our habits. The process does not have to be fast. In fact, it can be slow. As long as we are moving in the right direction and providing ourselves with evidence that confirms who we are becoming we will arrive at our destination.

Every time we choose a plant-based option over our normal habitual choice, we are casting a vote for the identity that we have taken on. The person that we have decided to be.

How We Change Our Identities

So how do we change our identity. We have to ask ourselves what kind of people we want to become. Who do you wish to become? We need to ask ourselves: “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?”
For example, the type of person who could drop meat and dairy and start eating plant-based, is probably health aware and compassionate.

Once you’ve decided on the type of person you want to be, you can begin taking small steps to reinforce your desired identity.

Before just eating something, ask yourself “What would a healthy person do?” Use this question as a guide all day long. If you act like a healthy and compassionate person long enough, you will become that person.

The real reason habits matter is not because they can get you better results (although they can do that), but because they can change your beliefs about yourself.

Quite literally, you become your habits.

1. Introduction  |  2. Identity Change  |  3. Make it Rewarding  |  4. How to Build Habits  6. The Best Way to Start  |  7. Environment  |  8. More on Environment  |  9. Make it Attractive10. Make it Unattractive  |  11. Role of Friends and Family  |  12. Momentum | 13. Make it Easy  |  14. Procrastination  |  15. Commitment Devices

About Module 2:

Before we find out more about switching to a healthy diet, it will help us a lot to learn about how habits are formed and, perhaps most importantly, kept.

I’m really excited about this module because it provides us with a tool for making changes in all areas of our life, not just diet and health. I promise that you’ll discover a lot of new ways of implementing changes in your life. This module will also help you to kick bad habits and create new ones.