“All big things come from small beginnings”
I wrote this article on February 1st and it is on October 1st now.
I finally got IELTS 8.0 after successfully overcoming self-doubt and anxiety. 
Looking back on the journey, I would say:
Definitely not easy, but totally worth it ✨
No matter what goal you are working, keep believing in yourself and trust the universe - With your passionate and resilient attitude, I know great things are waiting for you ahead.
The problem
Recently I felt extremely overwhelmed and constantly postponed everything.
I know what I need to do but I cannot resist the temptation of
— “Fastfood thinking” (a phrase for decisions that bring me short-term pleasure but fail to meet long-term happiness, like Fastfood)
I have read “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and I understand how habits work and how to form or break them.
However, something is still missing. I set my goal to get IELTS 8.0 but after a few months I got in there, I lowered my goal to IELTS 7.0, I compromised with myself — or frankly, to my lazy version.
I wonder where the problem lies. I understand that I can derive substantial benefits from the IELTS certificate.
In fact, I’ve been trying all these years, so why can’t I win the temptation?
The reason
But then, something just clicked, there must be something missing from the “Habit Power” equation. It’s when my search began and “Atomic Habit” by James Clear appeared like a savior.
The missing pieces are beliefs.
The reason we sometimes have difficulty changing a habit is that it is tied to our identity.
Every action we take, such as choosing fast food over homemade meals, we are creating our own identity — “I’m not a healthy eater”.
When this identity sticks with us long enough, it becomes a belief what we can and cannot do, who we are and who we are not.
If we never challenge those beliefs, they guide and define us down the road.
Behind every system of action is guided by the belief system. You can start a new habit with motivation, but the only way you can make it last is by making it part of your new identity.
THREE LAYERS OF CHANGE — “ Atomic Habit” by James Clear

There are three layers of behavior change: a change in your outcomes, a change in your processes, and a change in your beliefs.
The most common way for us to build new habits is starting from the outcomes. This leads us to outcome-based habits.
For example, when setting a goal on losing weight, we simply think “I want to be thin” (outcome) and “I will follow this diet” (process).
What is still missing in this formula is our beliefs about ourselves, our old identity — “I am a compulsive eater for my whole life” — could undermine our plans for change.
At the core of behavior, you’ll find beliefs
The solution
The alternative approach is to build identity-based habits.
The first step is to truly believe that you are the type of person you wish to become — like “I am a healthy eater” — You are now fully aware of what you eat and are not guided by your compulsive self.
Change your beliefs of yourself before changing your outcomes.
You are who you choose to become, no one could change that fact and you are the only person who can give away that power.
The more deeply a thought or action is tied to your identity, the more difficult it is to change it. The more evidence you have for a belief, the more strongly you will believe it.
The ultimate goal of every little thing you do every day like getting up early, making your bed every morning, eating healthy, or exercising regularly, is not just about staying organized or having a fit body.
The biggest meaning of these actions is that you are building up your beliefs about yourself — a neat, hardworking, and healthy person.
You are reinforcing your beliefs and the principles you set, you know that you are a good person and always feel proud of yourself.
Instead of focusing on the outcomes, just focus on the refreshing feeling now as you affirm your faith and identity as a disciplined person. 
Back to my problem, I have always considered myself as a diligent and determined person. Nevertheless, after many failures in the face of temptation, my belief is weakened if not destroyed. I feel desperate and start to unconsciously see myself as someone who lacks determination and willpower.
Every action that follows is like a domino effect, and it all stems from the negative perception about myself.
It also applied to my love life.
I used to be a person who just cannot seem to walk away from an unsuitable relationship or to let go and move on from a breakup. I defined myself as an emotional person and just accept it as a matter of fact (while it’s not).
I gave away my power to control my actions. Because deep down, I believed it is who I am without realizing that:
It is every small action itself that manifests my belief and thus defining who I am, not vice versa.
Every decision we make every day is a hidden message 
“Hey, this is who I am”.
If you finish a book, then perhaps you are the type of person who likes reading. If you go to the gym, then perhaps you are the type of person who likes exercise.
Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.
As the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.
Putting this all together, you can see that it is every small decision you make on a daily basis that defines who you are.
Each time I read a page, I am an avid reader.
Each time I choose homemade meals over fast food, I am a healthy eater.
Each time I walk away from an unsuitable relationship and still believe in the abundance of the universe, I am a self-loving person.
Adopting a new Habit formula, I changed my approach when it comes to creating new habits.
Each of my actions is not to prove to anyone or achieve any goals ( Of course I do have goals to set direction )- but to prove myself, to focus on the process, to live up to my beliefs and principles.
Confidence comes from trusting myself as a person of principles.
I have my own principles and those principles make me proud.
I need no external recognition.
All in all, the steps you should take to form a new habit are
Decide the type of person you want to be.Prove it to yourself with small wins.
The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader.
The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner.
The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician.
When you have repeated a story to yourself for years, you begin to resist certain actions because “that’s not who I am.” There is internal pressure to maintain your self-image and behave in a way that is consistent with your beliefs. You find whatever way you can to avoid contradicting yourself.