Over the years, I’ve had more lasting success designing my identity and creating systems to become it, then I have in making goals to get to the same destination.

For example, this year, I wanted to be a person who was genuinely fit, so I went from working out twice a week to practically every day. My system was to workout everyday instead of counting workouts to reach a goal.

I love to learn, most specifically via reading books, so I set a goal of reading 26 books this year. To be honest, I didn’t start reading books this year until April, but earlier this week, I reached the 26 mark ahead of schedule.

So how did I get there?

I thought about the person I would be with all this extra knowledge (identity) and developed a simple system: any time I have a window of couple hours of “me” time (usually on a plane, at night after an early dinner, or on a weekend day), instead of scrolling on social media or watching TV, I read. For me, reading is always more enjoyable so I plan for it when I see a window available and it works.

Our culture is driven by goal setting… But visualizing your identity, owning it, and having a system in place is probably a more effective way to build habits.

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