Every aspiration is about self-transformation: becoming a new person and living a new life. We need self-discipline because we want to achieve a goal, get somewhere, stop a bad habit, transform ourselves, live better. In other words, we want a new identity; we want to live a better version of ourselves.
We can call this “your best self”, “your ideal self”, or “your aspirational identity”. It is the person you want to become; the why behind your goals. It is where you will arrive, once you fulfill your aspirations to a certain degree—your designed life. In a way, then, your aspirational identity is both the result of your aspirations, as well as their driving force.
This concept of aspirational identity is key to Mindful Self-Discipline. It helps you clarify who you want to become, and then find the true aspirations that are a natural expression of that end state. The concept is simple: you decide who you want to be, then see the gaps that need to be covered to get there. The drive to fill these gaps is your aspiration(s).
- Review the insights gained from values exercise in the book.
- See what patterns emerge. Ask yourself, “What are all these things really about? If I actualize these values, fulfill the deepest why behind my goals, and come close to that which inspires me in my role models, who will I become?”
- Describe your aspirational identity to yourself:
- What do you feel?
- What does a typical day of your life look like?
- What will people admire in you and know you for?
- Now look at your current identity. Identify three areas where there is a gap between who you are now and you who want to become. For example: “In my aspirational identity I have mastered singing, I’m well known for my work, and I make a living from it.”
- In each of those gaps is one true aspiration—in this case, “to master singing”.