Behaviour change is more likely to be rooted when the new behaviour matches the SELF-schema. Self identity, as well as the beliefs and values built upon the SELF-schema, cannot be changed without tremendous effort. It is important to understand the mechanisms of such a change.
For instance, somebody that plays tennis every day may consider themselves a ‘tennis player’ or somebody who doesn’t drink anymore may develop the identity of a ‘nondrinker’. These kinds of changes to one’s identity can have an impact on long-term behaviour because we want to be consistent.
We are biased towards regulating their behaviour in a way that matches their SELF-schema. These beliefs guide day-to-day actions, and form an additional filter on the Sense Lens. Being congruent with one’s identity is key to behaviour rooting.
In the thoughtful system, actions are based on reasoning and decisions are made by considering the feasibility and desirability of different options. Mindfulness is adaptive. If one decides on a particular course of action that is congruent with the metal map, the instinctive system works to achieve the goal, this is motivational harmony.
However, if the desired goal conflicts with one’s current mental map, the instinctive system will resist forcefully, this is motivational dissonance. Ego depletion is the result of ongoing conflict between the thoughtful and instinctive systems. The energy spent trying to resolve motivational dissonance is what makes it so difficult to change behaviour.