Your 2023 Personal Growth Goals, According To Your Myers-Briggs Type
Winter can be a quiet time, especially those weeks around the turn of the year, just after the holidays. Without so much going on, this can be the ideal time to consider what personal growth goals and new skills we might need to develop to cope with the coming year.
Some of these may be relevant for everyone, but some may relate to our specific psychological type. Depending on our personality preferences, each of us has our unique gifts, but each of us also has potential areas for growth.
The Myers-Briggs (MBTI) framework looks at four aspects of personality.
Do we tend to be energized and focus our attention on the external world (Extraversion, E) or our internal world (Introversion, I)? Do we prefer and trust information that is based on the evidence of our senses (Sensing, S) or information on how things connect, on possibilities and the big picture (Intuition, N)? Do we prefer to make decisions on the basis of objective logic (Thinking, T) or on the basis of our values and how we feel people will be affected (Feeling, F)? And do we want to live in an organized, structured, planned way (Judging, J) or in a more open, spontaneous, emergent way (Perceiving, P)?
So, each of us will have a preference for E or I, S or N, T or F, and J or P, meaning that there are 16 possible combinations, 16 personality types. For example, my own type preferences are INTP – Introversion, Intuition, Thinking and Perceiving.
Each of the 16 types has its likely strengths, but also some possible areas for development or personal growth goals. Often, the holiday celebrations will bring these to the fore, allowing us to reflect on how we might develop over the coming year. Here are some suggestions for new skills each Myers-Briggs type could think about over the holiday period.
Meeting family and old friends over the holidays can be exhausting but is also an opportunity to build your people skills. Don’t always just pay attention to the logical content of what others say; look deeper, they may be looking for an emotional connection with you. Go with this and you might be surprised by how warm you can be.
You may tend to put others’ needs ahead of yours, and this is especially likely to happen over the holidays, when everyone else has a view on what they want to do. Think of just one thing that you want to do and insist on this. Use this as a starting point for putting your needs first in the future.
People with your personality preferences often have new, creative insights, but sometimes find it difficult to put these into words. Take time over the holidays to write your ideas down and refine them into words that will make sense to others. Start to make this a regular habit.
When someone does something nice over the holidays, let them know. And remember to offer praise for the little things, not just big ideas. Maybe carry this habit on into the new year.
It’s easy to act the Grinch at Christmas but remember that other people have emotional needs – and actually you do, too. Develop and exercise your emotional radar and this will stand you in good stead after the holiday season is over.
Sometimes it’s important to step away from the immediate situation and take a logical, big picture view. If things get stressful over the holidays, don’t shoot people down if they offer suggestions.
Over the holidays, it’s likely that you’ll meet, and talk with, people with very different values to yours. Use this as a low stakes opportunity to practice dealing with all the other similar people you’ll need to connect with over the coming year.
Use the downtime during the holidays to sort out all the practical tasks that you’ve put off – paying those bills, cancelling that subscription. Reflect on how satisfied you feel afterwards and set a reminder to do the same every month.
The holidays are a time to enjoy yourself – but also a time to remember that it’s not all about you. If someone is annoyed with you, find out why, don’t just dismiss or forget about it. And maybe use any downtime to make a note of all those important dates (birthdays, anniversaries) that you forgot last year.
Go out and have fun – but first, remind yourself of any other commitments or obligations that you have. Maybe use this approach as a template for the coming year.
The holidays can be full of possibilities, with new and interesting people to meet, but you might find you overextend yourself and end up either missing events and disappointing people, or, alternatively, wearing yourself out. If either happens, reflect on how often it also works out this way in your working life. Make a commitment to stop it happening so much next year.
Did you annoy or upset anyone over the holidays, when you just thought you were being witty, challenging, or stimulating? Reflect that you may also do this outside of the holiday season, possibly in a work context where some may be less willing or feel less able to challenge you back. What do you need to change?
It’s good to have things organized, and it may well be that you are the person who plans and organizes the holiday celebrations, assigning family members their tasks. But remember that others have their views too, and that they have feelings – and that you are not always right! This may also be something to think about after the holidays are over.
There are two lessons that you may be able to take from your experiences of the holiday. First, no matter how carefully you plan, things can’t always be perfect, and not everyone will be happy all the time, no matter how hard you try. And that’s OK, and it’s not your fault! Second, you may value and honor traditions, but sometimes it’s good to try something new.
For ENFJs, it’s often important that things just feel right – and that can especially apply to big family celebrations. But sometimes it’s important to take care of the details and look at things logically as well. And if that works for your holiday celebration, then maybe it will work for other aspects of your life as well.
A perfectly organized holiday celebration? Check. Taking care of all the details and making sure that everyone is on board with what you have decided? Maybe not so much, and perhaps that is something to think about outside the holiday season too.
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John Hackston is a chartered psychologist and Head of Thought Leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company where he leads the company’s Oxford-based research team. He is a frequent commentator on the effects of personality type on work and life, and has authored numerous studies, published papers in peer-reviewed journals, presented at conferences for organizations such as The British Association for Psychological Type, and has written on various type-related subjects in top outlets such as Harvard Business Review.