What are identity goals?

It is easy to say: “in 6 months I want to have 6 pack.” and then facing the harsh truth 6 months later that you are still chubby and even if you made some progress and good efforts, the results are not there: no 6 pack.

This example above is a “result goal”.

A result goal is a goal that might have some kind of meaning when you set it, but that is not intentional. If reached, then great, but to keep the momentum you need a new goal. It’s endless… after the 6 pack, now you need the V shape and the legs and then what? It becomes tiring.

So here comes the identity goals:

At the very beginning, what you wanted was just be be in good shape, be healthy, be fit. And these are goals that are called: “identity goals”. They tell you what you want to become. And so 6 months later, when you check-in with these goals: if you have made efforts or some progress, then you can only congratulate yourself and motivate yourself to keep going.

You see the nuance? You aim at changing your identity by asking yourself: what do you want to become? Who do you want to be. And not how much you want to loose or what car you will buy.

That has been a true learning for me this first half-year really. I finally understood that all my goals like earning 100,000 USD per year or becoming number one hostel in Saigon were empty of intentions.

I learned about this in this interview with James Clear (so grateful, thank you sir!):

He is the one explaining very well what are identity goals and how to use them to not waste anymore minutes of your days.


I learned so much in this interview that I wrote a summary of all my learnings

James Clear is the author of a book called “Atomic Habits”. It’s a book I read in 2019 and that helped me to quit smoking. It made me realize that beyond the addiction, there was also all my bad habits that would support this addiction. And that I could re-design my days, my surroundings and my entire life just by adopting new and positive (simple) habits. So powerful. I share more in details about this life transformation here: the importance of small step.

And I want to give a special “thank you” to Tue-si for the constant reminders these past 3 years, especially with what we did with Creators in Vietnam Podcast. I finally understood and put into practice what you have always tried to tell me. And this video above that you shared with me has helped me to finally get the message. And I can confidently say that today, I have the strict intention to be more mindful and intentional in the way I set goals for myself: for the rest of my life.

If you are trying to make your dreams come true, think of what you want to be and that identity that you want to represent. And set goals in that direction. Avoid falling into the trap of setting “result goals”. Concentrate on identity goals!

What do you want to become?