Identity, Habits, Environment: building success strategies

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life is what it is, not what it should be; it’s the way you approach your life that makes all the difference
[Virginia Satir]

Starting from this sentence, I had the intuition I need: to have a goal is useful to give a direction, and becomes much less useful when “life” stay in the between.

I think it is very powerful to say that, in comparison to the usual methods to stay focused, it is better to be focused not on the goal to be achieved, but on the process that guides your choices. This is precisely why, if you can probably foreseen what will happen tomorrow, you can’t be reliable on foreseeing what would happen within 3 months (for example). Almost zero reliability.

Let’s go together to understand why.

Focus and concentration

When a process is consistent and you carefully follow it, you will find the way to overcome any obstacles by changing (when needed) the process: I call it “no-panic mode” because I have no due time to feel morally right with any goal. And everything flows.

When the focus is on the goal, the feeling that something can slip between you and the goal, by expanding dates or making goal less exciting or out-of-time, can make you anxious, stressed and worried, making you not satisfied at all. Indeed in my experience with different people, companies, teams and associations this is what just happens:

approaching the date you set for the goal, increase performance anxiety, worsening things remarkably.

It does not depend on the re-planning of the goal, which can be shifted. It comes from how you live in harmony with your being to achieve the goal.

So I feel more effective – and my experience confirms – that the goal becomes external to the process so consolidating your (personal! Unique!) good habits and being focused on the process the goal is achieved quickly and before it could be expected.

Meaning: goals, to define the directions; focus on the processes, to achieve results.

Motivation to improve: an effective approach

A lot of offers found on different channels, read or coming from known trainers (famous or not), work on emotions and emotional aspects in their customers frequently “pushing” on topics or on how to make good predictive habits for the results. That’s absolutely necessary!

But there is something else.

Confirming your identity is much more important than achieving ambitious results. If you want motivation, then read some sentences from famous characters, featured in some YT videos, read a book about motivation, or be sticky to them like a mussel on whoever shows you how good they are without telling you how. Dependent. All of this will exalt you, gasp, and after a while you will use more time following these uselessness than reaching what you feel about yourself. You’ve already had similar experiences, right?

Virtually anyone in his life aims to lose extra pounds and become stronger, healthier, or improve his sports performance, business, family or work harmony.

But even if we are inspired in “doing it better than ever” and being moved by the right suggestions, it is not really easy to start new behaviors, take decisions, and make useful actions for what we want, over time.

The lurking risk, even when starting, is to get back to bad habits. And that’s often the case.

What do you think?

Habits and behaviors for a harmonious life

However, by chance, we are all born “without knowing” those habits that we would like to change today, or those behaviors to change soon because we think they will solve many situations. We were born “ourselves” and something has triggered bad habits we then want to change now.

Well, what a few do, to get tangible and profound results, is to work at an identity level.

It is very easy to set a well-formed target

I want to lose 5Kg by mid-August, doing gym 3 times a week, from 20 to 21:30, and eating only vegetables for at least 7 meals a week

Then, you write meal tables, arrange time, prepare predictably trip to the supermarkets for cost-effective spending.

But who do we do it for? And what do we do, what performance and appearance do we want to achieve?

How many times do you get back to old habits destroying the work you have done?

All of this is important, but it is different from the answer to the question:

Who do I feel myself and believe I am?

You can get the result of running the VENICE MARATHON and complete in a suited time for you, but until you won’t feel RUNNER inside, the Venice Marathon will never be your goal. Because running is not your goal. It will be the goal of someone else, who will be able to make you believe it is yours as well.

Make goals, yours. Intimately.

Work on identity to change your habits

As long as you do not understand and change this detail of yourself, those bad outside influences make you behave for the pleasure of others and not because you are, so the chance to get back to the “old” and useless mode is very high. And then the goal was never yours, but, precisely, for an instant of APPEAREANCE and PERFORMANCE.

Work on your identity.

This is the best wish and the best tool I can give to you, to get lasting results and let you acquire habits with long lasting results.

Territory and habits

Motivation at an identity level is certainly very important, but probably ineffective without another element that I’m going to reveal now.

I read a book that talks about how different continents have different forms; the Americas are mostly stretched vertically, as does Africa, while Europe and Asia, which are linked together, extend horizontally.

So what, could you think?

The point is that territory plays a huge impact in guiding people behaviors, in past, present and future centuries. Because different climates, lands, seas, affect these behaviors, attitudes, abilities and habits, as well as beliefs and values.

If you want to optimize your success, you have to consider where you operate, the context, the environment.

Territory analysis

So, taking agricolture as an example, a tomato farmer in Canada could have much more motivation, willingness, soul and energy than any other farmer in middle Europe, but will hardly produce a good tomato quality.

There can’t be any evidence the Canadian farmer being much talented, motivated, focused-oriented, and with a precise, well-defined goal.

Then? Therefore, despite the fact that motivation affects the choices you take, how you move, what limits or enpower your beliefs, the environment is a key element to be settled before, during and after any useful habits that guide you to reach your purpose.

Adapt the habits to territory, or territory to habits

To excel in what you want, you can become the person who can do it, and to do so you have to constantly match your identity. That’s it, very simple.

To do this, there are two simple steps to follow:

  1. decide who you want to be
  2. give yourself meaningful and continuous gratification with your identity

The goal is not to achieve results as soon as possible, but to become the person who can reach them one step at a time.

If you train continuously you are the kind of person who gets stronger and gets used to it. So first develops the identity of those who steadily train, attend the right places, and then point to the process that will guarantee great performance.

A practical example: put all together

I want to train to lose weight, to feel better, to have more energy.

At the level of identity: think about how much you are a sporty person, healthy, with good eating habits. Take your own decisions as to train 3 times a week. So, you come home from the office tonight, the bag to be prepared, what a boredom it is raining and I don’t want to go to the gym (as an example).

At this point, create habits accordingly to your flow: choose the gym along the way to get back from work or on a path you know you’ll do at least 3 times at week. What we want to do, if we can see it, will have a positive influence. For example, you are getting home and see the gym so the desire to sit in the couch doesn’t turn on, even if it rains: you are in front of the gym entrance, park the car and start to train.

Finally the context: it is scientifically proven that the same amount of food on a small or a large dish generates two different feelings: satisfaction (full plate) VS frustration (half, empty dish). So, it is better to eat less on a small dish (which will give pleasure) rather than eating the same on a large dish (which will give frustration).

Another case on the context, very important if not fundamental: where to put things in the fridge? Choose for the healthiest foods the shelf at eye level. It is proven by various researches that we eat more of what we see. Supermarkets use this trick to sell, and unconsciously you use it to house the fridge. Want to eat carrots? F*ck the drawers, put the carrots in the shelf at eye level; indeed, for the same principle, lay down things that you can potentially eat less in the drawers: away from the sight, far from the mouth.

And statistically, it’s just the things in the drawers at the bottom of the fridge that go to waste at first because we leave it there for too long: now you know why.


Be focused and focus on identity. Choose the person you want to be, tell it, give demonstrations, find all the ways you can to confirm yourself.

Then behave like this person: in your choices, strategies, context, environment in who you are.

Finally, create the context in line with the process: promotes your behaviors, habits, and supports your identity.

As you have been guessing, and as mentioned in the opening, it is the process that guides your choices towards your success.



If you want to know more about how to reach that small difference that makes the difference in Life, Sport and Business, follow me here, on LinkedIn and Facebook and let me know your opinion: any feedback on these topic is very important for improving the community and myself. And if you like this post, remember to leave me a like 😉

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