New Year, New You

Posted on Jan 12, 2013 in Blog |

New Year, New You

Would you like to change you? Many people think that they are stuck with their personality type, but research at the University of Manchester has shown that personalities can and do change.

Your personality is a combination of your attitudes, behaviour, and emotional patterns. We used to think that your personality was a combination of your genes and your life experiences. You couldn’t change your genes, and so the emphasis has always been on changing external factors to help you feel better, and happier. This included finding the right job, marrying the right person, earning more money, etc. The idea was that when you had these things that you would be happy. Many people do change their house, where they live, their partner, or their job in an attempt to feel better. Sometimes this works. But what happens when you, or you make changes, but can’t find happiness, or you can’t identify anything ‘outside’ that is wrong?

Now that we know that we can also change who we are, many people are looking on the inside. This usually involves finding out more about who you are and what makes you tick. You can then make the changes you want to. You can’t suddenly become someone you’re not, but you can become the best version of you.

When the University of Manchester did their research on personality they used what is called the Big Five of personality. These are: how careful you are; how emotional you are; how agreeable you are; how open you are to new experiences; and how outgoing and energetic you are. What they found was that personality changed. Some of these changes occurred naturally over time as you grow and mature, and some changes were in response to events and experiences in life. Some of the changes were felt to be positive, and others not so welcome.

If you think back to when you were a child, a teenager, and a young adult you can often identify how you have changed. Sometimes you can feel like you have lost parts of you that you liked, and you would like to find them again, but don’t know how. One way is to think back to what you used to enjoy when you were younger. Often you can have interests or things that you used to do, that you have just stopped doing. As you get older it is easy to forget that it is important to have pleasurable experiences and interests. Even as adults it’s important to play.

Sometimes you can feel you have become someone you don’t like very much and would like to change, but don’t know how. Think back to see if you can identify when the change happened. We are all influenced by events and situations that are sometimes out of our control. However you always have the choice about how you respond, whether it was recently, or a long time ago. You can change your response, and change the person you are now.

If you want to change elements of your personality you can make a start in the self-help section of the book store. There are many books that can help you to make the changes you want. Alternatively you can use the resources of a coach or counsellor who will work with you one to one.
In this New Year, will you decide to find a New You?

References: Dr Chris Boyce, University of Manchester’s School of Psychological Sciences, Social Indicators Research 2012