Can you hear it? (“Who, who? Who, who?”) It’s been years since I’ve seen a CSI episode, but I can hear the theme song in my mind right now (and will probably be humming the tune all day).
So, who are you?
We all identify with various groups. For example, I identify as a runner, a personal trainer, and a writer. I also identify as a learner, a critical thinker, and a techie. From my place in society and various personal relationships to my education and interests, the list of associations goes on.
Take a moment to think about the groups you identify with. If you are reading this, chances are good that you identify as an English-speaking, health-conscious American. What other groups do you identify with? Are there any groups you want to identify with?
Before I began running, I slept in on the weekends and couldn’t imagine spending any more time outside in the winter than was necessary.
Fast-forward to today, and I look forward to running outside in the winter and frequently wake up early on the weekends to do so.
When you consider that my behavior and attitude about winter changed over a number of years, the change is probably not all that surprising. However, if you consider how much I treasure sleeping and how much I loathe being cold, you might wonder why I run outside in cold weather when I could choose to sleep in, run a little later in the day when it is warmer, or run inside.
I identify with being an outdoor runner, and I’ve found that running first thing on a Saturday or Sunday morning allows me to be more productive on the weekends.
My identity as a runner is contingent on me taking action and running regularly.
A runner runs.
If I stopped running and still identified as a runner, I would eventually run again or stop identifying as a runner, correct?
…And if I wasn’t a runner and wanted to be one, I could begin to identify as a runner and start doing the things that I associate with runners (in this case, running).
No, correlation doesn’t always equal causation. However, building the association between who you are and who you want to be can help you to do the things you wish to do.
Understanding how your identity informs your actions and using that knowledge to help you build new habits can bridge the gap between thinking about taking action and intentionally changing your behavior.
Whether you want to take more consistent action with running, walking, strength training, or another fitness activity, knowing what type of person regularly takes this type of action and beginning to identify yourself as a member of that group can help you build and sustain the habit.
So, again, who are you?