Motivation is a tricky beast. But to find what truly motivates us day-in, day-out, James says we need to look at our drive as the layers of an onion.

First, there’s the outermost layer: The results we want. This could be losing ten pounds or making 6 figures.

Then, there’s the middle layer: The specific actions we’re going to take to get those results. So, to lose ten pounds we decide to go to the gym 5 days a week, or to make more money we pitch 5 new clients a day.

The problem is, most people stop here.

“I think there’s actually one layer deeper—the core of behavior change. And that’s your identity,” explains James.

“Who is the type of person you want to become? Who is the person that’s already achieving the results you want for yourself?”

For example, the type of person who loses ten pounds is probably someone who doesn’t miss workouts. That’s just part of their identity. They see themselves as someone who exercises consistently. And going to the gym is just part of their being.

Thinking about your identity doesn’t just give you a mental image of the person you want to become. It changes the entire conversation around your habits and actions.