Mindset is the most important thing you can possibly focus on when it comes to creating the life you want for yourself. As Victor Pride of Bold and Determined says, “The how is nothing. Mindset is everything.”
One aspect of mindset that too many people ignore is self-image, and how a simple mindset shift in your self-image can make all the difference when in comes to accomplishing your goals. Too often people choose a specific measurable benchmark in some area and let that benchmark become the goal itself, and because of that it becomes inseparably linked to their self-image, which actually makes it much more difficult to reach that benchmark.
As an example, imagine something like a fitness goal, such as losing 50lbs. If that benchmark is the only facet to that goal, your mind will start to make “being 50lbs lighter” an aspect of how you see your ideal self. Your self image will be of somebody who should weigh 50lbs less. And each time you do anything to try to lose weight, you will be slapped in the face with the fact that you are not yet 50lbs lighter. So instead of making you feel better about yourself, all the work you do to lose weight will make you feel WORSE – and every day you don’t weigh what you want is a failure, even if you are doing exactly what you should be doing. This is one reason why so many people struggle so badly with things like losing weight, and why it can be so emotionally exhausting to even try. Because all the effort they are putting toward that goal is actually just going toward tearing down their own self-image, and they are calling themselves a failure every day. They literally fighting against who they (think they) are.
Now if instead, you make the conscious mindset shift to create your self-image as somebody who eats healthily, then every good meal you eat bolsters that identity. Every day can be a series of small victories that give you strength and pride and resolve, instead of constant failures.
I’ve used this mindset shift myself with working out, and noticed massive improvements in my ability to maintain the consistency needed to reach my fitness benchmarks. When I make the decision to take pride in being the type of person who works out 4 or 5 times a week no matter what, every day that I make it into the gym is a victory, and bolsters that image I have created of myself – and its a win. Even if the workout is shitty and I feel weaker than normal, I have won. And if I work out consistently over a period of years I know I WILL eventually reach the specific strength and size benchmarks I desire.
If instead, I have a goal or benching 275 lbs, and create an image of myself in my mind as somebody who can bench press 275 lbs, then every single workout where I CAN’T do that actually tears that self-image down, and brings negative emotions. Each minor setback or hiccup doesn’t just affect my goal it affects WHO I AM – Which makes it EXTREMELY difficult to maintain the kind of drive and consistency needed to get to that benchmark. Especially after rough days. Every single workout then becomes a failure.
Who do you think is more likely to keep going and reach their goals: somebody who is getting victory after victory every day, or somebody who is faced with a string of failures that tears down the very idea of who he is?
Every single time I let my mindset lapse and allow my brain to form a self-image of myself as somebody who can squat 350, or dead lift 400, or whatever, my consistency with working out becomes horrible. Because every workout is a defeat. And obviously my results suffer because of that.
You can use this mindset shift in all areas of your life too, not just fitness. If you have a self-image of yourself as a guy who is successful because he makes good money, or has some title, it will be almost impossible to have the mindset necessary to take the risks to do something like start your own business. If instead you choose (and it is a choice) to think of yourself as successful because you hustle and do whatever it takes to make your plans work, you will be SO much more likely to get what you want out of a business venture.
So the TL;DR version is this: Create a self-image / ego that is supported and strengthened by the BEHAVIORS that are important, not a self-image that is based on the results themselves. You will notice a huge difference, I promise you.