Do you think that being an adult you can’t change your personality, hence can’t get rid of your bad habits and become a better person? The article will help you let go of this thinking and explain the ways you can start your journey of becoming a better version of yourself.
You may have heard that “old habits die hard”. That may be true in some cases but it does not explain that people can’t really alter their personality to inculcate good habits and let go of those that render them trouble in their circle of people. It is a natural call that we all aspire to be a good person because we know that a person with moral well-being is always loved and welcomed everywhere. After all, we do the same with a person of good character in our lives.
It is not hard to bring change in life unless we are afraid of it. And there are many ways we can work on bringing a positive change in our lives. For being a better person, you need to learn what type of person you really are and are you willing to adopt new changes in life that can contribute to your journey to become a better person.
There are hundreds of ways that can tell you how to become a better person that can help you to opt for the one that you can easily follow. Consistency, perseverance, and commitment are the cornerstones of your journey. You should commit to the cause and remain consistent in it as you get positive results.
What is personality?
The word personality is derived from the Latin word “persona” which refers to theatrical masks worn by performers to play a specific role or disguise their identities. At the core of the meaning of the personality then refers to the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior that make a person unique from others.
While there are different definitions of personality, most focus on the pattern of behaviors and characteristics that can help predict and explain a person’s behavior. It is believed that the personality is developed within an individual, and remains fairly consistent throughout life.
Explanations for personality also focus on a variety of influences ranging from genetic explanations of personality traits to the role of environment and experience in shaping an individual’s personality. The scientific definition for personality however is that “it is a stable, organized collection of psychological traits and mechanisms in the human being that influences his or her interactions with and modifications to the physical, social, and psychological surroundings”.
Characteristics of personality
So, what makes up a personality? Generally, traits, emotions, and patterns of thoughts play an important role in the development of a personality but there are other characteristics that add up to personality in building it up. These are the following:
There is generally a recognizable order and regularity of behavior in a personality where people act in the same ways or similar fashion in a variety of situations. Or it is also referred to as similar behavior in a similar situation (cross-situational consistency) and similar behavior over time (temporal consistency). Continuity may be thought of as the combination of these types of consistency.
Psychological or physiological
A personality is a psychological construct, but researchers suggest that it is also influenced by biological needs and processes. Psychological characteristic is a term to describe the social factors that influence the individual’s mental health and behavior while physical characteristics are referred to the bodily functions of a human being that affect his/her behavior.
Actions and behavior
Personality not only enables us to move and respond in an environment but it also causes us to act in a certain way. A study on human behavior has stated that 90% of the population can be classified into four basic personality types; optimistic, pessimistic, envious, and trusting.
Personality is not just displayed by a person’s behavior but it is more than that. It can also be seen in our thoughts, close relationships, feelings, and other social interactions. A personality embraces moods, opinions, and attitudes that are clearly expressed in interaction among people.
What are different personality traits?
A personality trait is defined as “a stable, consistent, and enduring internal characteristic that is inferred from a pattern of behaviors, attitudes, feelings, and habits in an individual”. Each person has some idea about their personality type; if they are friendly or reserved, sensitive or thick-skinned. Psychologists define personality as individual differences in the way people tend to think, feel and behave.
Contemporary psychologists believe that there are big five personality traits. Each of the five personality traits represents a range between the two extremes. For instance, extraversion represents a continuum between extreme introversion and extreme extroversion. The research also suggests that in the real world, people tend to lie somewhere in between the two polar ends of each dimension. These “big five” are:
The openness trait of a personality features characteristics such as insight and imagination. People who acquire this trait tend to have a broad range of interests. They are curious about the world, people and eager to learn new things and acquire new experiences. They are not afraid of new realities.
Having this trait makes them more creative and adventurous in contrast to the people who are much more traditional and may struggle with abstract thinking. Here is a difference of behavior in people having low and high openness trait:
|Very creative||Dislike change|
|Open to trying new things||Do not enjoy new things|
|Focus on tackling new challenges||Resists new ideas|
|Happy to think about abstract concepts||Not very imaginative, dislike theoretical or abstract concepts|
People with high conscientiousness have a strong sense of duty and are organized. They tend to be dependable, disciplined, and achievement-focused. They possess a high level of thoughtfulness, good impulse control, and goal-directed behavior. They plan ahead of time so you won’t find highly conscientious people jetting off on round-the-world journeys without an itinerary.
People with conscientiousness, on the other hand, are freewheeling and more spontaneous, at the extreme, they tend to be careless. This trait helps people to be organized with study and job, so people lowering it often struggle at work.
|Finishes tasks right away||Make masses and don’t take care of things|
|Spends time preparing||Dislikes structure and schedule|
|Pays attention to details||Fails to return things and put things where they belong|
|Enjoys having a set schedule||Procrastinate important tasks, fails to complete necessary or assigned tasks|
Extraversion versus introversion is possibly the most known personality trait out there. The more extraversion a person is, the more social butterfly he is. They are chatty, sociable, and draw energy from crowds. They are cheerful and tend to be assertive in social gatherings, being around other people helps them feel energized and excited.
Introverts, on the other hand, struggle with the crowd and need a lot of time alone. Introversion is often confused with shyness but both are very different traits. Shyness implies fear of being around people, or the inability to function socially. Introverts, however, can be perfectly charming at parties, they just prefer solo or small groups of people to hang out.
|Like to start conversation||Feel exhausted when have to socialize a lot|
|Enjoy being the center of attention||Dislike being the center of attention|
|Enjoy meeting new people||Find it difficult to start a conversation|
|Have a wide social circle of friends and acquaintances||Dislike making small talk|
|Find it easy to make friends||Prefer solitude|
|Say things before thinking||Carefully think things before speaking|
Agreeableness includes attributes such as altruism, trust, kindness, compassion, and affection. The more a person is agreeable, the more they are to be trusted. Compared to the people who are low in agreeable personality traits, tend to be cold and suspicious of others, and are less likely to cooperate. They are more competitive and even sometimes manipulative.
|Have a great deal of interest in other people||Take little interest in other people|
|Feel empathy and concern for other people||Have little interest in other people’s problems|
|Care about others||Do not care about how other people feel|
|Assist others when they are in need||Manipulate others to get what they want to|
|Enjoy helping and contributing to others’ happiness||Insult and belittle others|
Neuroticism is a personality trait characterized by moodiness, sadness, and emotional instability. People who possess high neurotic traits tend to experience mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and sadness. If all is going well, neurotic people will find ways or things to worry about. On the contrary, people having low neurotic traits tend to be more stable and emotionally resilient.
|Worry about many different things||Deals well with stress|
|Experience a lot of stress||Emotionally stable|
|Experience dramatic shift in the mood||Do not worry much|
|Struggle to bounce back after stressful events||Is very relaxed|
|Get upset easily||Rarely feel depressed or sad|
Can personality change?
Earlier studies suggested that it is very hard to alter a personality but recent research is accumulating results that prove that its personality changes in adulthood. A recent study in 2017 published in Journal Psychological Bulletin synthesized 207 papers and concluded that personality can be changed through therapy.
Live Science reported previously that “for the people who want to change their spouse tomorrow, which a lot of people want to do, I don’t hold out much hope for them, ” said study researcher Brent Roberts. However, if you are willing to focus on one aspect of yourself, and you’re willing to go at it systematically, there is an increased possibility that you affect change in that domain”.
Psychologists suggest that “personality is a developmental phenomenon. It’s not just a static thing that you’re stuck with and can’t get over”. That doesn’t mean you’re a different person every day you wake up but change occurs in a very subtle way that is imperceptible in a short time. In fact, the researchers’ survey of personalities over many years suggests that our personality is actually stable on a short time scale.
Another study published in Journal Psychological Bulletin stated that “individuals’ levels of each personality trait, relative to other participants, tended to stay consistent within each decade of life. But the researcher states that “throughout all those years, our personality is still changing, but slowly, and it’s something that’s subtle”.
Over the continuous research on a fixed number of participants, the results showed that the participants in their 60s scored much higher than they had as teenagers on questions measuring calmness, leadership, self-confidence, and social sensitivity. Personality traits get “better” over time which psychologists call “the maturity principle”.
People become emotionally stable, more extroverted, agreeable, and conscientious as they grow older. These changes may not be very visible in personality over the short span of time, but they are pronounced over the long haul.
So, given the psychological data backing, it is evident that people develop good traits over the period of time in their life. And these traits are rewarded in their work and social life. People having emotional intelligence, stable relationships, and trustworthiness are more welcomed in social settings and known to be better people as compared to the other way around where people are being detected because of their personality.
So it is a continuous struggle to look into one’s own personality and strive to become a better version of themselves each day so that they are more welcomed and accepted. It is really important to know your personality first and understand what your current personality traits are and how you can become a better person over time. Here are the ways to start your journey to become a better person.
How to become a better person?
It is a human urge to become a better version of ourselves each day, but it brings this uncertainty that whether it is possible to change our personality and become a better person once we are adults. The answer to this question is a resounding yes. But there can be multiple questions on how to become one. Whether it requires psychological/clinical therapies or just monitoring our behavior and trying to adopt new habits will bring a change.
There are always ways to improve yourself but you may wonder what is the best way to become a better person? What is the easiest way to bring improvement to your personality? And what are the most important aspects of the personality that should be worked on more? Taking into account your own wellbeing and the best interests of others, here are some of the ways you can work to become a better person.
Let go of anger
There are always certain things that make us angry at many points in our life. But the extreme level of our anger may cause serious problems in our relationships with people and even to our health. All of it can create more stress and additional problems, keeping us away from being the best version of ourselves and keeping our lives complicated. That is why it is really important to learn if we have anger issues that disrupt our life.
Learning to manage and eventually letting go of anger is important but it is not always an easy job to do so. The first step in managing anger is to learn more about recognizing anger and knowing what makes us angry and which things render it to go uncontrolled. In this regard, you have to be honest with yourself as to make an effort to notice which things make you upset and decide to manage this feeling rather than just lashing it out at others as a way of coping.
Focus on when and why you become angry and realize the difference between being angry and acting upon it then figure out the options that you can work on to control your behavior when you are angry. You can change your beliefs about knowing things that make you angry. This can be put into practice by knowing more about the situations that made you angry as there can be things that you don’t know yet.
Remind yourself that the person that cut you off in traffic may be distracted by something challenging happening in his life. Or if a friend seems to be rude to you, you may get angry about it, but inquiring about what is going on in his life may reveal things that you don’t know and he needs your sympathies rather than your anger.
You can also focus on what are your “anger triggers”, and try to eliminate them as possible. For example, being in a rush may make you angry, then work on making more space in your schedule and even say no to some tasks as you feel you can’t handle it with others, and try to eliminate that trigger as much as you can.
It is also important to learn to let go of grudges and residual anger from each day. Don’t wake up each day holding a grudge from the last night if you can help it. Focus on forgiveness even if it means that the person is still going to play an important role in your life. Try to live in the present moment, rather than stressing about the past and remaining sad about it.
Practicing stress relievers can also play a great role in reducing anger in you and calming you down, such as meditation or yoga. It will relieve you from any stress in your past and enable you to live and enjoy the present moment.
In our mind, the best person is the one who is willing to sacrifice their well-being for making others’ lives better. That seems the ultimate route to becoming a better person. However, good deeds can also make us better people because of the connection between altruism and emotional well-being.
The researchers also suggest that it may be true that giving is better than receiving. So while you feel too stressed and busy to extend help to others, supporting others at that very moment may relieve you from stress. Studies also show that altruism is good for your emotional well-being and can measurably enhance your peace of mind.
For instance, one study showed that transplant patients, dialysis patients, and family members who became volunteers to help other patients felt increased personal growth and emotional well-being.
Another study showed that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who offered other MS patients peer support felt greater benefits than their supported peers, including more pronounced improvement of confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness, depression, and daily activities. Those who offered support felt their lives were dramatically being changed in a positive way.
It feels natural that an effort to exercise altruism can not only make the world a better place, but it can make you a happier, and more compassionate person. There are so many ways to exercise altruism in our daily lives, and it is indeed a simpler way to become a better person.
Use the “stages of change” model
Oftentimes we are stuck in our current problems to the point where we can’t even imagine that there is a tomorrow waiting where things can totally change. Putting the “stages of change” model into real life, do this activity.
Take a paper and write a list of things you want in your life in the future. Don’t care if it is really possible to get all of the things and how you would be able to get all of the things. Just make a list of things that you think will make your life perfect. Be specific about the goals and things that you want even if you see you don’t have control over it. That can be a five-year or ten-years plan.
This activity will help you jolt down future goals which will keep you feeling less stuck in the stressful parts of your present life, and help you see more options for change as they appear in your mind. There are many ways to focus on change but the “stages of change” model can lead you to your best self perhaps in the easiest way than many other paths.
The stages of change model:
- Precontemplation: Ignoring the problem
- Contemplation: Aware of the problem
- Preparation: Getting ready to change
- Action: Taking direct action toward goal
- Maintenance: Maintaining new behavior
One of the most important parts of this model is that it does not push you to change unless you are ready and convinced to bring changes in your life, and you don’t give up if you find yourself backsliding. It is forgivable and even an accepted part of the model and understanding the model and implementing it will help you towards your journey to becoming a better person.
Think before you speak
Know that your words can have a great impact not on the people around you but on yourself. Words carry a lot of weight whether you listen to them or say to others. Being an individual, you are also a partner, father, or friend. In every role, people around you expect you to be nice to them and empathetic when they are in need.
Be very careful when you open your mouth because words can return your love and hate from the other mate, depending on the choice of words you always select when you interact with them. Different situations demand different types of responses from you. You really can’t make jokes to the person who is already upset, thinking that they’ll feel better. Maybe your words upset them even more.
Leverage your strengths
Losing track of time when you are absorbed in fulfilling work or in another engaging activity is what psychologists call “flow” is a familiar state for all of us. Flow happens when you are deeply involved in fulfilling a task, learning a new skill or subject, or engaging in activities that supply just the right mix of challenge and ease.
When we feel too challenged, we become stressed and when we feel too at ease, we become bored. In between the two extremes, finding a sweet spot keeps us engaged in a very good way. You can find flow in writing, reading, dancing, creating, or absorbing new material that you can teach to others. Think about the things where you find yourself in this state most often and try doing more of that.
Being in the state of flow lets you leverage your strength and this turns out to be great for your emotional health and well-being. This way you can also make a greater impact in your surroundings because your strengths can be of great benefit to others in some way. When you learn enough about your strengths and put them to work for the best interest of others, you cheer on your journey of becoming a better person.
Pay attention to others
Know that you are not living alone but being a friend, partner, brother, parent, or sister, you hold a responsibility to all the people around you. It is not always that you fulfill their physical needs but you should be aware of your loved ones and remain conscious of the fact if they need your help. Always keep yourself approachable to others so that they easily share their problems and ask you for help.
As you feel good when others ask you how your day is going, you should do the same with the people around you. It will not only make their day better but you’ll feel more relieved and happy. For that even if you have to set reminders, that is also worth it.
Stop being wasteful
In today’s digital age, there are a lot of distractions that can grab your attention and render you spare a good amount of time that you can otherwise utilize on productive activities. It also implies the things that you use. For instance, it doesn’t mean that you can eat five plates at a time at a buffet, you should have them at one time. This way you’ll waste a lot of food. The same goes with water when showering or brushing your teeth.
You can always save food and water by just being conscious. Also, never forget to unplug devices when they are not in use. Remember that it is not only the people around you that need nice treatment from you, but a good person also takes care of the environment around him that makes him a conscious person for people and the community at large.
Take care of yourself
You may not be able to control everything happening in your surroundings but you can certainly control how well you take care of yourself. It can help you to decrease your stress level and enable you to grow as a person when you face life’s challenges. Self-care is crucial for building resilience when facing an unavoidable stressing situation in your life for several reasons.
When you are tired, eating poorly, or generally run down, you lose the energy and enthusiasm to face the challenges rather you will likely be more reactive to the stress you face in your life. You can even create additional problems for yourself by reacting poorly instead of responding from a place of calm inner strength.
Contrary to that, when you are healthy (both in body and mind), you can be thoroughly engaged in whatever comes your way by using the resources you have in your life and grow from the challenges you have rather than merely surviving from them. Taking care of your body, soul, and mind can help you enable handling stress. You get added resilience to face the challenges that we all face in life or to the ones that seem unique to you.
Basics of self-care
In order to formulate a self-care strategy, there are many that can help but the following aspects are crucial to be taken care of for your self-care strategy:
Sleep is not only necessary to keep your body functioning in a proper manner, but it is also important to your emotional stability. Little or poor quality sleep can leave you stressed and less able to brainstorm your solutions to the problems. Poor sleep can also take a toll on your body as well both in the short term and in the long term, also affecting your weight.
As sleep is crucial for your physical and emotional well-being, so does the nutrition effect in the same way. A poor diet can leave you tired and bloated and can add extra pounds over time. As the challenges of life are unpredictable and myriad, you need the right fuel to face those challenges.
Being a social animal, feeling connected to others helps you feel more resilient. If you are surrounded by good friends, they can help you process negative emotions, brainstorm solutions, and get your mind off of the problems when it is necessary. In today’s busy life, it may be challenging to find time to meet your friends but spending time with them is always worth your own well-being.
Giving yourself time is also the most important aspect of your self-care routine. Journaling and meditation, exercising, or watching your favorite show, can help you reduce stress and skip your daily routine. This will be particularly helpful for introverts but everyone needs it at some time.
Learn to be user-friendly
Our relationships can create a heaven for us from the stress which will make us better people. But if not handled with love and care, they can be a significant source of stress in our life. By putting effort into this process, we strive to become a better partner, friend, and family member and continue our journey to become a better person in general.
In order to improve your relations and yourself, you need to learn conflict resolution strategies which include being a good listener, understanding the other side when there are a conflict, and anger management strategies.
You probably have heard everyone saying to be grateful for everything in your life. But putting in practice by keeping a gratitude journal for the things you’re truly thankful for, can create an immense impact on your mindset. Studies also show that incorporating gratitude in your life can ward off stress, cultivate more positive relationships, and improve sleep.
Anna Hennings, a mental performance coach in sports psychology recommends using the acronym GIFT to help you identify the things you should be grateful for in your life. When thinking about the things you should be grateful for, you can use the GIFT technique to get help:
Growth: Personal growth like learning a new skill or adopting a new good hobby
Inspiration: Moments or things that inspired you to become a good person
Family/friends: People who enrich your life
Tranquility: The small, in-between moments, such as enjoying a cup of coffee while reading a good book
Surprise: The unexpected or nice favor
Greet everyone you meet
Make an effort to acknowledge the people around you when you see them. You can just nod, smile, or say ‘good morning’ to every person entering the office. By doing so, you’ll feel a connection to those around you also, you’ll find yourself more present at the moment. For harnessing good relationships, this effort will pay you off someday.
Try a digital detox
The more your screen time is, the more you are consuming news (good or bad) from the outer world that builds stress inside you. Unplugging even for a small amount of time can be beneficial in this regard. Next time, you find yourself with nothing to do, you can step away from the phone for a few hours and go for a walk and connect to your thoughts about life, people, and your relationships.
Use positive self-talk
It is easier to blame yourself when you fail in your life. You become overly harsh on yourself. This unproductive and negative self-talk can perish your confidence in your abilities and self-motivation. If you constantly tell yourself that you are not a good person, you won’t be able to harness positive energy and become a better person.
A key element in your personal growth is to take personal responsibility for the things that got wrong by yourself instead of blaming others for your actions. You should be aware of your behavior, emotions, failure, and everything that you have control over. It’s easier to put blame on others and sometimes it is done so subtly that you don’t even realize that you’re doing it.
You take control of your life when you accept that you alone are responsible for the things you do. And when things go wrong on your part, you should not feel it hard to apologize because when we apologize, we show empathy to the wronged person and show humility and compassion. It not only heals the other person but you also feel healed and it becomes easier for you to move on.
Live with integrity
Integrity is the cornerstone of who we are and what we stand for. It defines our moral standing and shapes the kind of person we become over the course of time. Living with integrity implies that you remain true to your ideals and that your outward actions reflect your inward values and beliefs. You should prioritize your integrity and remain conscious that the life you are living is the one you really aspire for and your values and decisions align with your vision of life.
Recognize opportunities to grow and change
As life is full of unpredictable twists and turns. You never know what tomorrow will-being. Being a little scared about change is a natural response because the unknown is always a little frightening. But letting this fear hold you back or stagnant would stop your personal and professional growth.
Allowing yourself to grow and evolve over time is a necessary part of the journey that you are on which you do by turning down new opportunities coming in your way. Be confident of discovering new lands even if it costs you out of your comfort zone. Maybe you find what will make your life much better than today.
Being part of a community
Community can be a geographical location where people live, work, and play, but it can be a virtual space where people are connected through shared ideas, values, needs, and beliefs. Whatever you define community, being part of it is important as it will give a sense of support, a feeling of inclusion, and connect you to like-minded people where you can extend your support to solve problems of others and get your problems solved at the time of need.
Following a path of betterment is always a good decision. You can put effort to be a better person by recommended things with added following acts, such as:
- Quit a bad habit
- Find a role model
- Be a better child to your parents
- Be creative
- Be altruistic
- Be caring
- Be committed
- Be thoughtful
- Be encouraging
- Be empathetic
- Aim for excellence
- Don’t judge
- Be fair
- Be honest
- Embrace love
- Have a purpose in life
We always admire a person who is well mannered, respectful, responsible, honest, and true. A person who never tells a lie or deceives is the one who is always loved and admired by other people. This is a natural call from everybody that we appreciate people with good character. Contrary to the one who is not careful to the moral values at all. Everyone wants to become a better person for themselves or the people around them.
There is always a way to become a better version of ourselves. If you suffer from psychological issues, you can even consult a psychologist to help you out to deal with the problem. Other than that, only scheduling your daily life while incorporating good habits in it would benefit you in many ways. Quitting a bad habit and replacing it with goodwill takes you on the journey of being a better person.
By taking smaller steps like changing your schedule to make it more productive to aim for a more mature life, you can continue having a better life ahead. Be more conscious about the decisions that you make for yourself and the people around you. Ensure that those decisions are contributing to the bigger aim of your life and that is to be a better person than today.