Identify as a healthy person

Written by:



Reading time: 


Your identity is the foundation of your mindset, which in turn drives your actions.

It makes some actions easy and automatic, and some actions a huge effort.

I think of myself as someone who reads a lot, so it’s easy for me to pick up a book and start reading without thinking. But I’m not a rugby player, so playing rugby would take a lot of effort. I’d need to really force myself, mentally and physically.

For me, reading is in line with my identity and playing rugby is not.

The same is true for health. If someone who considers themselves healthy ends up breaking their leg, they will prioritise their recovery. They know it’s temporary, so they go to the doctor, get a cast, get friends to sign their cast, rest and recuperate. They act in a way that gets them back to their normal state of health.

If they thought their leg was permanently broken, there wouldn’t be any point in doing those things, so they’d act differently.

After having fatigue for a long time, it’s easy to start thinking that it’s a permanent part of us, not just a temporary condition.

When you don’t recover at the speed you’d expect, or feel like you’re making any progress at all, or even seem to go backwards, it’s easy to start thinking that you will never recover.

The ‘chronic’ label also contributes to this. It’s accurate, in that we are stuck in fatigue mode, but by their nature, chronic conditions just keep on going. So if it’s always going to be there then we become resigned to a seemingly permanent condition.

This directly harms our chances of recovery, because it’s our actions that will help us recover, and these same actions now go against our core identity, instead of aligning with it.

So now when we try recovery methods - maybe meditation or nutrition changes - it’s always an imposition. We have to fight ourselves to do them, using a lot of willpower and energy which is already in short supply. Much easier to stick to our old patterns, even though we know that they don’t help us recover and keep us stuck in our current state.

To give yourself a real chance of improvement, you need to go back to the foundation, which is your core identity.

Identify as a healthy person who has fatigue at the moment, not someone with a chronic condition. Then act accordingly.

The simplest way to do that is just to ask yourself, “what would a healthy person do?”. Then do that.

Every time you act this way, you demonstrate to yourself that you are in fact a healthy person. Over time, each of those small steps adds up to a big load of evidence, until eventually you really will be a healthy person because you’ve taken real steps to help yourself recover, in line with your identity.