How do you come to believe the things you believe about yourself? You popped into this world with no preconceived notions, so where did the idea of You come from? We can argue the concepts behind Nurture versus Nature, but both are instrumental in constructing the identity you have about yourself.
So how does our identity get shaped? Mostly, through repetition of whatever story you’ve constructed over the years and repeatedly told yourself. Your story is your identity. The habits you formed shaped that narrative, and reinforced your particular identity. Sometimes it can be positive; “I’m a caring and loving person.” Other times it can be negative; “I’m fat and everyone hates me.” But these are just the stories you tell yourself. The unfortunate thing is, whether good or bad, if you’re looking for something to validate your feelings, you’re going to find it. So, if you go into situations with a certain framework, you’ll come away with experiences that match the story you’re telling yourself and solidify it within your mind.
Every thought and action you take is a vote for the person you want to become. If you can master the right mindset, that allows you to establish the right habits, you will continuously cast a vote for the person you wish to become. Those small efforts, day-after-day serve to create major changes over time. You’re not going to transform your body by doing one push-up a day, just as you’re not going to become a published author by writing once a day, but each time you do, you cast a vote for the type of person that doesn’t miss workouts, or the daily practice of writing. And over time, you’ll become the person who is healthy and can write well enough to tell you about it.
It’s important to understand that the goal isn’t to lose weight, or to publish a book because once you do, you’re not pursuing behavior change anymore, you’re acting in alignment as to the type of person you already see yourself to be. True behavior change is really identity change. Once you change the internal story, it’s easier to show up as the person you want to be. And, at that point it’s no longer motivation that drives you; it’s actualization of “this is who I am now.”