[Frank]: You’re gonna be the person you decide to be, or you’re gonna be the person everyone else tells you you are. You get to choose.
– Uncle Frank (2020)
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a personality rut, wishing you could become a better, happier, or more successful version of yourself?
Good news – it’s not just a wishful thought; you can change and improve your personality.
In this article, I share the science of personality change and provide actionable insights on how to be who you want to be.
Your personality isn’t set in stone; it’s a complex interplay of traits, behaviors, and emotions that can be shaped and molded over time.
Psychologists have studied personality extensively and have developed various models to understand it better. The Five-Factor Model (FFM) is one of the most widely accepted theories. It identifies five core personality traits (OCEAN):
- Agreeableness, and
The Science of Personality Change
Research in psychology has shown that personality traits are relatively stable, but can evolve over time. Some key findings include:
- Age and Maturity: Personality traits tend to stabilize as we grow older, but significant changes can occur during certain life stages, such as adolescence and early adulthood.
- Life Experiences: Major life events, like marriage, parenthood, or career changes, can influence personality development. Positive experiences can foster positive changes, while adversity can trigger negative changes.
- Intentional Effort: You can actively work on changing your personality through self-awareness, goal setting, and consistent effort. This process is often referred to as personality change therapy.
- Social and Environmental Factors: The people you surround yourself with, your environment, and cultural influences can all impact your personality. Being aware of these influences is crucial for change.
“Your personality traits make you who you are and shape the life you will lead, so this idea that they are to some extent constantly evolving and readily molded by life may seem unsettling. But it’s also an empowering revelation. By familiarizing ourselves with the ways that our personalities shift and bend at different life stages and in response to different circumstances, we can anticipate and exploit our capacity for change.”
-Christian Jarrett, Be Who You Want: Unlocking the Science of Personality Change
Related content: Things You Need To Know About Change
How to Be Who You Want
Now that you know personality change is possible, let’s discuss practical steps to unlock your desired transformation:
- Self-Reflection: Start by understanding your current personality. Take a personality assessment test to identify your strengths and weaknesses. This self-awareness is the foundation for change.
- Set Clear Goals: Determine the specific traits or behaviors you want to change. Make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).
- Create a Plan: Develop a well-structured plan for achieving your goals. Break down the process into smaller, manageable steps.
- Seek Support: Surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals who encourage your growth. Consider working with a therapist or life coach who can provide guidance and expertise.
- Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques can help you become more aware of your thoughts and behaviors, making it easier to identify areas for improvement.
- Embrace Change: Be open to new experiences and challenges. Pushing your boundaries can lead to personal growth and the development of new traits.
- Monitor Progress: Regularly assess your progress and make adjustments to your plan as needed. Celebrate your achievements along the way.
- Stay Patient: Personality change is a gradual process. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep working toward your goals with perseverance.
Becoming the person you want to be is a journey that involves self-awareness, effort, and a deep understanding of the science of personality change. While change may not happen overnight, it is indeed possible.
Your personality is not fixed; it’s a dynamic aspect of your life that you can actively shape to align with your aspirations and goals. So, be who you want to be, and let the science of personality change guide you on your path to self-improvement and personal growth.