How to Improve Your Personality

Your personality changes many times during your life.[1] Although you may not notice it happening, as you grow older behaviors become ingrained. The key to improving your personality is changing behaviors to reinforce good personality traits and limit negative personality traits. Grab your pen and paper and get ready to be introspective.

Steps
Identifying Traits
Sit down and list your positive personality traits. Try to number them in order of how confident you are that you possess these traits. For example, traits include good listener, outgoing, expressive, introspective, thoughtful or intelligent.

List your negative personality traits. These are the things that people tend to respond to, or things you think stand in your way. For example, shy, angry, talkative, judgmental or nervous.
Keep in mind that positive and negative are subjective in this scenario. Someone might think they are too outgoing or that being talkative is a positive thing. Personality changes should be based on your opinions and desires for self-improvement.

It is most likely harder to make this list than your first list. Take your time and consider how your personality when you’re with others or when you’re alone, since these may be the main things you want to change.

Put a line through anything you don’t want to change, at least not right now. You can’t instantly change everything about your personality.

Put a star by anything you want to enhance or change. Perhaps you are intelligent, but you would like to become even smarter.

Prioritize the starred items. Changing behaviors is best done slowly, changing a single personality trait at a time through practice and commitment.[2]

Changing Behaviors
Pick your personality trait that you want to change. For example, imagine you want to be less shy.

List the behaviors that show your shyness when you are with other people. You may list items like leaving parties early, not interrupting, not giving your opinion, avoiding people or refusing to volunteer.

Choose an opposite behavior to take on. For example, volunteer for a new role at work or accept more invitations to social events.

Think of someone you admire who has this personality trait and copy their behavior. This is better done with a single personality trait than an entire set of traits, since personality allows us to be unique. However, you can learn a lot from people who practice positive behavior in their everyday life.[3]

Remind yourself regularly to keep up these new behaviors. Think up a new mantra like “I will be heard.” Put reminders on your cell phone to interact more with people.

Improving Yourself
Keep a positive attitude. Negative attitudes will reduce confidence and commitment to improving yourself.

Learn something new. Join a new organization, class, club, team or group. It is easy to go back into old habits with people who know you already; however, new acquaintances won’t have expectations and you may be more successful starting new behavior.

Go easy on yourself. Personalities don’t change overnight. Give yourself plenty of time and space to turn behavior into an improved personality.

Try the “Fake it till you make it” mentality. In some cases, acting like a different person can lead to new friends, behaviors and success. Make sure this “fake” person aligns with your goals, so you don’t end up developing a negative trait.

Sit down with your list in a month and decide how successful you’ve been so far. Move on to a new trait once you are on your way to mastering the first one. For example, if you have made several new friends and started sharing opinions at work, perhaps it is time to work on a larger negative trait.

Sources and Citations
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