How to Change Your Personality: A Guide to Growth and Self-Discovery


Our personalities are a complex mix of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that shape who we are and how we interact with the world. While some core aspects of personality tend to be stable over time, research shows that personality is not set in stone. There is a lot of potential for growth and change throughout life.


This article explores how you can develop your personality in a way that fosters self-fulfillment and positive relationships.


Understanding Your Personality Traits


Before diving into how to change your personality, it's important to understand what it's made of. Personality is often described using a five-factor model (FFM) which identifies five core traits:


Openness to Experience (O): This trait reflects your interest in novelty and your willingness to try new things. People high in openness are often curious, imaginative, and intellectual.


Conscientiousness (C): This trait reflects your degree of organization, discipline, and goal-directed behavior. People high in conscientiousness are often reliable, dependable, and efficient.


Extraversion (E): This trait reflects your level of outward sociability and your tendency to seek stimulation from others. People high in extraversion are often talkative, energetic, and assertive.


Agreeableness (A): This trait reflects your level of cooperation, empathy, and concern for others. People high in agreeableness are often trusting, kind-hearted, and helpful.


Neuroticism (N): This trait reflects your vulnerability to negative emotions like anxiety, fear, and sadness. People high in neuroticism are often easily stressed, worry a lot, and tend to see the world in a negative light.


It's important to remember that these are just broad categories, and everyone possesses a unique blend of these traits. However, by reflecting on your FFM scores (you can find many free personality tests online), you can gain valuable insight into your strengths and areas for growth.


Strategies for Personality Change


While completely revamping your personality overnight might not be realistic, there are effective strategies you can implement to cultivate desired traits:


Cognitive Reframing: This technique involves challenging and changing negative thought patterns that might be holding you back. For example, if you tend to believe "I'm not good at public speaking," you can reframe that thought into "Public speaking is a skill I can develop with practice." Over time, reframing your thoughts can lead to more positive emotions and behaviors.


Behavioral Activation: This strategy involves increasing engagement in activities that bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment. Let's say you want to become more outgoing. You could try joining a club, volunteering in your community, or simply striking up conversations with people you meet at the coffee shop. By taking action and building positive experiences, you can strengthen desired personality traits.


Self-Compassion: Change can be challenging, and setbacks are inevitable. Practicing self-compassion, or treating yourself with kindness and understanding, can help you bounce back from setbacks and stay motivated on your journey.


Seeking Professional Help


While self-directed strategies can be very effective, there are times when seeking professional help is advisable. Consider reaching out to a therapist if you find that your personality traits are causing significant distress in your life, interfering with your relationships, or hindering your ability to function at work or school. A therapist can provide personalized guidance and support for developing healthy coping mechanisms and fostering positive change.




Personality change is a journey, not a destination. By understanding your personality traits, setting realistic goals, and utilizing effective strategies, you can cultivate a sense of self that allows you to thrive in all areas of life.