New Year, New You?
The start of the New Year brings with it many things, from countless advertisements for the latest diet and fitness products to sales on home organizational systems. This barrage of information aims to convince anyone who is willing to listen that there are a multitude of things that they can, and should, change about themselves. They should be leaner, better looking, more organized, and be able to make more money.
For some, these changes are tempting. There is a constant desire to improve, to become a better version of themselves. For others, change is a necessary evil that they will do if necessary but prefer to avoid if at all possible. How does personality type influence this behavior? Strategy – how we prefer to do things and achieve goals – appears to be one of the biggest factors in how people approach the idea of change in their lives.
Our personality framework describes four Strategies that are a combination of the Mind (Introversion or Extraversion) and Identity (Assertive or Turbulent) traits. Each Strategy has a different set of strengths and weaknesses when it comes to setting goals and making changes in their lives. These Strategies include:
In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the potential issues that these four personality Strategies may experience when approaching self-improvement specifically and change in general.
Confident Individualism (Introverted and Assertive Types)
Confident Individualists are the ultimate do-it-yourself personality types. They are proud of their abilities and very capable; however, they can also be stubborn and resistant to change. Specifically, these types can struggle with:
- Lack of motivation. Individuals with this type are less likely to want to change things about themselves – even if it would be beneficial.
- Being inconsiderate. Confident Individualists can be so set in their own ways they fail to take others’ views, opinions, or ideas into consideration.
- Stubbornness. These individuals can be stubborn to the point of stagnation.
Put simply, Confident Individualists are very, well, confident – and are some of the least likely personalities to pursue change. This resistance to transformation isn’t always a negative thing, though. For example, these types are:
- Stable. Confident Individualists’ steadfastness makes them both stable and consistent.
- Determined. When they do set goals, there is little chance that individuals with this personality type will not achieve them.
- Self-assured. Most Confident Individualists are very likely to have good self-esteem.
These personality types will find it easier to overcome their resistance to change for the sake of self-improvement if they make a point to be open-minded. Listening to constructive feedback and taking others’ opinions into consideration can help Confident Individualists become much more well-rounded people.
People Mastery (Extraverted and Assertive Types)
Outgoing and energetic, People Masters thrive on personal interaction with others, especially if they are in leadership positions. These personalities are often very competent but can lack the motivation to improve themselves if they are not performing as well as they could be. Some of the reasons that People Masters may struggle with self-improvement are:
- Complacency. As long as they are enjoying life, People Masters are unlikely to set ambitious goals or engage in deliberate self-improvement.
- Hubris. Individuals with this personality Strategy can become overly-confident in their abilities to the point of arrogance.
- Self-importance. People Masters can be very critical of others, especially those who point out their weaknesses, preventing them from considering potentially constructive criticism.
While they may struggle with an excess of positive self-regard, People Masters do not completely eschew self-improvement or avoid change. In fact, personalities with this Strategy are the most likely to make quick and decisive changes in their lives when they decide to do so. Their Extraversion, specifically, assists them in making positive changes by encouraging them to:
- Be receptive. As especially social individuals, these types must have exceptional social skills – which includes skills such as listening and accepting feedback from others.
- Seek support. They may not need approval from others, but People Masters genuinely desire to be well-liked and have their accomplishments noticed.
- Stress less. Making changes is less overwhelming for these personality types as they are among the least likely to succumb to stress.
It takes work to achieve true People Mastery. Those individuals who seek to improve themselves by pursuing positive change in their lives are much more likely to be successful leaders and happy individuals in general. Using feedback, even the unpleasant kind, to find areas that they can develop will make People Masters more successful and socially skillful individuals.
Constant Improvement (Introverted and Turbulent Types)
Few personality types are more interested in self-improvement than Constant Improvers. As their name implies, these personalities are always seeking out ways to change and develop themselves. They may view this as a noble cause. However, their constant search for things to improve upon can have some unappealing effects. Specifically, Constant Improvers can struggle with:
- Poor self-esteem. These individuals are the most likely to want to change many things about themselves, including their appearance, which undoubtedly has a negative effect on their self-esteem.
- Indecisiveness. With so many things that they want to change about themselves, Constant Improvers may become overwhelmed and fail to take action at all.
- Obsession. Constant Improvers are perfectionists and can easily become obsessed with the desire to change and improve themselves.
Constant Improvers set the bar very high for themselves. While these personalities may not have realistic expectations of what they can (or should) achieve, this drive for perfection can lead to some impressive character traits. Specifically, Constant Improvers tend to be:
- Extremely motivated. Once they have set a goal, Constant Improvers will pursue it with both passion and intensity.
- High achievers. Setting the bar high can result in extraordinary achievements in personal and professional realms for these personality types.
- Inspiring and creative. When they allow themselves to be seen, these individuals often surprise those around them with their skills and creativity.
The biggest struggles that Constant Improvers face are both a lack of self-confidence that results in poor self-image and an obsession with personal improvement. While this drive to improve can produce great results, it can just as easily result in poor self-worth and destructive behaviors. Finding a balance between wanting to be better and appreciating who they already are will bring Constant Improvers the sense of peace and acceptance that they most desperately desire.
Social Engagement (Extraverted and Turbulent Types)
There is one Strategy that absolutely thrives on change, and that is Social Engagement. The combination of their desire to improve (Turbulent personality trait) and their outwardly directed energy (Extraversion) ensures that individuals with this Strategy will never become stagnant. This constant need to expel energy can have some frustrating side-effects, however, such as:
- Attention seeking. Their constant need for attention and social approval can prevent Social Engagers from effectively developing and pursuing their own personal goals.
- Competitiveness. A strong desire to be well-liked combined with perfectionistic tendencies results in personalities with this Strategy being especially competitive.
- Impulsivity. Not only do their goals change frequently, but Social Engagers are the most likely personality types to make changes quickly, leading to impulsive and potentially risky behaviors.
Despite these challenges, Social Engagers are often very successful in achieving the self-improvement that they so deeply desire. This is a result of the many strengths that their personality traits provide, such as:
- Enthusiasm and energy. Social Engagers are some of the most energetic individuals and their enthusiasm and passion provide the drive they need to face change and pursue improvement.
- Resilience. Even if they fail, individuals with this Strategy are persistent enough to get back up and try again (and again and again).
- Determination. Hard work doesn’t scare Social Engagers who tend to thrive when faced with challenges.
Becoming better is a mission that Social Engagers approach with passion and zeal. In order to succeed in achieving their self-improvement goals, however, these personalities must learn to balance their passion with patience. Spontaneity can be charming but should be avoided when creating and pursuing important life goals.
New Year’s resolutions spark joy for some while others go out of their way to avoid them. Neither of these approaches is better than the other – but they do provide some insight into how people approach goals and changes in their lives in general. The level of self-confidence that one has is directly tied to their desire for self-improvement and their attitudes toward change. Knowing your personality Strategy can help you determine what role self-confidence plays in your proclivity toward, or aversion to, changing things about yourself.
Regardless of whether you prefer to focus on your current strengths or you desire to pursue a whole new you, you should make sure to do it on your own terms. Allowing other people, or holiday advertisements, to dictate your feelings of self-worth will never result in personal fulfillment. And you, dear reader, deserve nothing less than unbridled, authentic happiness in the coming year.