It was once thought that your personality became set in stone by the time you were an adult. Research shows that this is simply not the case. For example, a two thousand twelve study published in the journal Social Indicators Research tracked personality changes in over eight thousand five hundred people over a four-year period. They found that there were measurable changes in people’s personality traits over this time and that changes in personality were much more strongly correlated with people’s overall life satisfaction than changes in their economic circumstances. So when you develop qualities like emotional stability, openness, curiosity, and self-discipline, your overall enjoyment of life increases much more than if you’d simply received a financial windfall.
What’s more, there is good evidence that positive personality traits can be actively cultivated, meaning that with persistence and effort you can deliberately change your personality. For example, a two thousand fifteen study at the University of Illinois found that when people created a practical, step-by-step plan to develop a particular personality trait in themselves, that aspect of their personality had significantly changed after sixteen weeks of consistent practice.
The participants in this study got the best results when they created specific, contextualized plans for their future behavior. Instead of just focusing on the relatively vague goal of becoming more extroverted, they created a series of specific “if-then” plans for themselves. For example, they wrote down statements such as “If I’m meeting up with friends for coffee, then I will ask more questions about how people are doing” or “Whenever I arrive at work, I will smile and say hello to my colleagues”. By committing to specific behaviors that aligned with their desired personality trait, the participants naturally began to make different choices in how they behaved in day-to-day life.
I also know from treating thousands of clients that hypnosis is a highly effective approach for creating positive changes in your personality. Hypnosis helps you deeply connect with your strengths and shape your self-image, which can help you radically change your life for the better.