Change is not a four-letter word
Thursday, January 13, 2022
A lot of people cringe when they hear the word change, but it often leads to better things.
With effort and time, ordinary things can become beautiful and great. Leaves change colors. Caterpillars turn into butterflies. And you can change the parts of your personality that you wish were different.
It is commonly accepted to be better at basketball, the piano or hopscotch; you need to practice. So, it makes sense that you need to practice if you want to change your personality.
“It is a common misconception that we cannot change our personality traits. Some people have a natural tendency to be more outgoing or nicer, but with effort, anyone can change. It’s also important to embrace who we are and not be too critical because our personality is unique.”
A 2019 study by Nathan Hudson at Southern Methodist University explored this idea. Students were able to pick a personality trait they wanted to improve. They were then given tasks to practice their desired skill set. Although the research is limited, it has a logical approach.
If you are ready to change, try following these simple steps from the Hudson study:
Pick a personality trait you want to change. For example, maybe you want to be more kind.
Think about instances when you tend to be rude and what causes it. For example, when your food order is wrong.
Plan and practice ways to deal with the triggers that tend to upset you. Try asking politely to exchange the food for the correct order. Keep in mind you make mistakes too and how it feels when somebody is unkind to you because of a mistake.
At the end of the day, think about how you reacted when faced with a situation that normally caused you to be unkind.
Set a goal. Develop a system to track when you act like you want versus how you used to. When you reach your goal, celebrate.
“It is a common misconception that we cannot change our personality traits. Some people have a natural tendency to be more outgoing or nicer, but with effort, anyone can change. It’s also important to embrace who we are and not be too critical because our personality is unique,” said Denise Williams, Licensed Independent Social Worker in Behavioral Health Therapeutic Services, Genesis HealthCare System.