Raise Your Standard With Identity Setting

by @deanyeong | Sign up to weekly newsletter here

Let me guess: You want to lose 20 pounds this year, or simply eat healthier and get into better shape. Perhaps you want to spend less money and spend more time with your family.

Most people do. But according to the statistic, only 8% of people successfully achieve their New Year resolution in the past year.

Obviously, the problem is not about we don’t know how to achieve our goals. There are tons of information online nowadays to do almost anything. The problem usually lies in the lack of execution.

But what cause that? Not having big and clear enough goals? Rather than setting a bigger goal and visualize it daily, I found that there is a better way to work towards our goals.


When most people set a new goal to lose weight, what’s in their mind?

  • I’m overweight.
  • I have poor health.
  • I have to get rid of my laziness to start working out.
  • I will do anything to resist junk foods.

Most of us focus on the negative part of ourselves when we set goals. To make more money, we imagine that we’re poor. To get into a good relationship, we perceive ourselves as unattractive. To read more books, we remind ourselves that we’re lazy.

We just taught our brain to resist the goals instead of pursuing it because there is too much pain. And further strengthen our identity of someone we don’t want to be.

This mental barrier is blocking us to take action because the new behavior is not aligned with who we think we are. I’m not saying that we need to pretend as someone we’re not – by throwing our self-awareness out from the window, or visualize your goals without execution. What I propose here is simply change our identity in order to expand.

Identity Setting

If weight loss is your goal, instead of focusing on the unhealthy part of yourself – overweight/obese or poor health – builds a new identity for yourself. Forget about your body fat percentage for the moment, DECIDE that you’re a person with a healthy lifestyle (not pretending).

With that new identity, start making tiny changes in your life. What a person with a healthy lifestyle does?

  • Never shop for junk foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • More vegetables and fruits in the diet
  • Less/no soda

We’re who we think we’re and do what align with that identity. So, if you think you’re a lazy overweight man with no hope to get in shape, then you will do what that person do.

For my case, I used to be someone who overthinks about a situation and gets upset about it. But then I DECIDED to be a person with high emotional intelligence. This not just helped me to get out from the negative emotional state quicker, it also helped me to stay calm and rational most of the time (with less incident of bust out from anger).


The human brain is programmed to crave for short-term gratification. With that said, as we set a goal, our brain automatically expect it to happen immediately. But we all knew most of our goals are not going to fulfill in a day or two, and that’s why most people give up on what they planned out to do.

After you have created a new identity for yourself, you won’t achieve your goal immediately. Decide to be a person with a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean to have six-pack abs immediately – instead, you should raise your standard.

The truth is that we don’t get what we want, we get what we tolerate. Raising your standard means you no longer tolerate to anything that doesn’t meet your new identity. You’re at the state to become who you think you really are.

Start with something ridiculously small and easy that you have no excuse to ignore. Don’t set out to workout for 6 days in a week when you just started, go for 3 days instead. Never set a sales target at 2 million dollars during the first month of your new business, do what you should do and raise the standard slowly.

With the right identity and progress line up, your subconscious mind will not resist what you planned to do. Instead, your brain will automatically accept it when you strengthen your identity with the results and progress you gain after time.


To take things up a notch, we need to learn how to stay in that new identity by strengthening our beliefs. One best way to do so is by working towards your goal with a progress record. When you see results, you’ll start to believe it further more.

But you can do so too before you see results, in order to help yourself to stick with the new behavior and routine, by gaining references from another person with similar experience or inspiring story. Get to know more like-minded people who are working towards the same goal or who already achieve what you want to achieve.


  1. I got the New Years resolution statistic from an awesome site – Statistic Brain, feel free to check it out for more stats about New Years resolution or any other topics.
  2. I used to set goals very frequent. It’s true that people who set goals are more likely to achieve success when compared to those who don’t, but most of the time, I didn’t achieve my goals at all or within the desired time period. The feeling of failure (from within) is self-destructive, then I got to learn about the idea of raising your standard from Tony Robbins in this YouTube video.
  3. I almost not going to publish this article because of my inner voice of perfectionism, but then the routine and current standard I set up for myself is to publish one article per week, instead of writing the world’s best article. Besides, I should never compare my own work with articles by professional writers – it’s just unfair to compare your worst scenario with other’s best. You never beat yourself up because you can’t run faster than Usain Bolt.

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