I don’t like my personality. Honestly, I hate it.
What I hate most are my impulsiveness and my selfishness. That’s why I got to work on ways I can change for the better.
No matter what parts of your personality you want to improve, these 12 tips will help you.
I don’t like my personality: 12 tips to change your personality for the better
1) Accept and recognize your flaws
The first and most important tip for how to change your personality for the better is to be honest and self-aware.
Do a diagnostic checklist of your personality.
Where do you fall short and where are you strong?
Admit your faults and your strengths. Then work with this information.
If you start from a place of hating your shortcomings it will only create a vicious cycle of resentment and disempowerment.
You want to improve yourself because you are in a constant process of evolution, not because you are “inadequate” or “invalid.”
“Hating yourself and your personality puts you in a horrible loop. When we spend our energy hating ourselves, we don’t have much energy to do other things, like develop our interests,” notes Viktor Sander.
“Carl Rogers (one of the founders of a client-centered approach in Psychology and psychotherapy) has said that ‘The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.’”
2) Get better at delaying instant gratification
One of the reasons I’m so impulsive is that I have a hard time delaying gratification.
I’m that guy who reaches for a snack instead of spending 15 minutes cooking a meal.
I’m the little boy who played piano and was doing really well but quit when I couldn’t immediately master Mozart within a few days.
Learning to put off instant results and work long-term is one of the best ways to improve yourself if you don’t like your personality.
Getting excited about the moment is wonderful, but those who tend to succeed and build fulfilling professional and personal relationships are people who can put off the momentary reward in return for a longer-term potential.
3) Pay attention to the needs and concerns of others
One of the best ways to become less selfish and change your personality for the better is to begin by increasing your observation skills.
Look around you at the needs and worries of people you come across in your daily life.
This can be from your closest loved ones to strangers you pass on the street.
Reorient your thinking from how others can fulfill and satisfy your needs, to how you can do the same for them.
At first, it seems kind of strange, if you’re a person who’s used to mainly caring about yourself.
But after a while, paying more attention to the needs of others becomes like your second nature.
Even those who don’t appreciate it doesn’t phase you, because you get hooked on the helping itself, not on any reward or recognition for what you do.
4) Get your friends onboard
If you want to become a better person, there needs to be some kind of metric for measuring it.
After all, what defines when you’re “better” or not in some way?
Is it when you sort of feel you are, or when you give a certain amount to charity or donate a certain amount of hours per week to volunteering?
Usually, self-improvement and developing a better personality are more general than that.
There may be more subtle shifts that show how you’re changing, or ways you’re behaving or handling things that you don’t notice about yourself.
That’s where your friends come in, personality improvement accountability partners who can check in with you on how it’s going.
Say you want to become a better listener but aren’t quite sure how to check if that’s actually happening.
Ask a friend who you talk to a lot to be your accountability partner and check in with them every week or two.
Jessica Elliott writes about this, saying that “the extra brainpower and set of eyes a little bit farther away from the painting, if you will, can help you see how you should behave and what impression you’re giving off.”
5) Go easy on social media
Another big way you can change your personality for the better if you don’t like it, is to try to go easier on social media.
Too much social media posting and attention-seeking posts can be an annoying and frustrating behavior to many others around you.
“If you’re the kind of person who shares snapshots of your honeymoon, cousin’s graduation, and dog dressed in a Halloween costume all in the same day, you might want to stop,” says Business Insider.
“A 2013 discussion paper from researchers at Birmingham Business School suggested that posting too many photos on Facebook could hurt your real-life relationships.”
Another thing about posting and scrolling a lot online is that it can massively lower your attention span and make you tune out while others are talking.
This can often be perceived as pretty disrespectful and even hurtful.
That’s why taking a break from Instagram or Facebook can be a great way to become a better person.
Take your phone and place it gently on the table. Then walk away and go do something else instead.
You’ll thank me later.
6) Learn to be a better listener
Learning to become a better listener is one of the top ways to change your personality for the better.
It can seem tough at first: after all, what are you supposed to do if someone is talking about a subject you find deathly boring?
Or what about if it’s offensive, confusing, or random chit-chat?
Are you just supposed to sit there with a big, dumb grin on your face and listen?
Well…to an extent.
Listening well is all about having that extra bit of patience to hear someone out and let them speak their piece.
At a certain point, you may have to politely excuse yourself and walk away if it’s bothering you a lot or totally irrelevant.
But that general instinct of being willing to listen instead of just shutting down will undoubtedly make you into a more likable and productive person.
7) Turn that frown upside down
None of us are happy all the time. But trying to be pleasant and kind to people around us is one of the best ways to change our personality for the better.
In many situations, the first step to turn things around is to physically smile.
This can be the hardest thing to do some days, but once you smile and just think of one thing about why life’s not so bad, you will start radiating out optimistic and constructive energy.
Get that smile on your face and try to go from there.
Think of it as putting your socks on in the morning.
Watch comedy clips if you have to: just do what it takes to get a smile up there and share it with others.
Even if your day is shit, that smile could brighten up someone else’s day or give you just a little bit more sense of inner peace.
It can also lead to more opportunities at work as well.
“When you’re at a networking event and meeting lots of new people, it can be hard to keep a smile plastered on your face. Try anyway.”
8) Get out of your head and stop overthinking
Much of our worst suffering takes place inside the confines of our mind.
There is the pain we go through from disappointment, loss, frustration and unmet needs.
But then there is the suffering we choose to go through by believing our inner stories about what happened and spinning it into a story of failure and hopelessness.
The truth is that you just never know for sure when one peak will lead to a deep valley, or when a fall to rock bottom could be the start of a new foundation to build a life on.
When we intellectualize and overanalyze problems or try to sort them into all sorts of endless puzzles, it can lead to extreme burnout and anger.
It can all seem like the worst problem in the world not to have a partner you love, for example, until you meet the love of your life a week later, or realize how much better off you are than your friend in an unhappy relationship.
The truth about life is that our constant temptation to judge and assess the negativity or positivity of what happens blocks us off to just how unknowable many parts of our lives are.
I love how computer pioneer Steve Jobs put this:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.
“So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
“You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
9) Believe in yourself even if others don’t
Life gives us all sorts of opportunities to give up on ourselves.
If you look around even a little bit, I can guarantee you’ll find excuses, problems and misunderstandings that justify you lying in bed from now on and refusing to get up.
Life has victimized and mistreated all of us in various ways. And it does fucking suck.
Sometimes even those closest to us don’t believe in us, or cut us down unintentionally or on purpose.
However, the resistance and disappointment that life throws at us can also be like weight training for our soul.
By using our doubts and frustrations as fuel, we can power through the narratives and notions that surround us and define who we want to become independently.
You do not have to become somebody else’s idea of you.
Nor do you have to trim yourself down to fit a social or life role that’s been pre-prepped for you by society, your family, or your culture.
You have the right to break free of the prison that’s making you believe you are limited, cursed or doomed to always be a certain way.
That’s because the keys to open the door and walk out are in your own hands.
“We are all our own prisoners and prison guards. You have the power to change, and you’re much stronger than you realize,” writes Diana Bruk.
“Overcoming our flaws and rewiring our brains isn’t easy, but it is possible.”
10) Deal with mental health challenges and unresolved trauma
One of the best tips to change your personality for the better is to face the trauma or mental health challenges which may be blocking your ability to move forward in life.
All too often, buried pain and frustration become fossilized into chronic patterns of self-harm or negative actions and behavior to others.
There’s no way that we can all become perfect specimens of harmony, and life will always have pain, anger and fear in some form.
But learning to release that trauma and move with it can be instrumental to reaching your potential in life.
If you want to live an authentic life then it’s crucial to face up to the parts of you that are unresolved.
It’s ok not to be ok. But it’s important to be honest and grapple with those unpleasant things in our history and in ourselves.
They can be our greatest accelerant to growth and becoming a more genuine, stronger person.
11) Develop your good qualities even more
One of the best tips you ever get for how to change your personality for the better, is to develop your good qualities even more.
So far this guide has focused a lot on the negative behaviors you can avoid or overcome.
But what about all those positive qualities you can boost as well?
It’s very crucial that you don’t beat yourself up too badly for not being “perfect” or live up to some ideal you imagine exists.
Our messy, confusing lives do have value in them, and there is no sanitized perfect life out there that the glossy magazines would have us believe.
I guarantee you there’s a celebrity out there tonight trying to sleep and feeling unloved and misunderstood while fans imagine he or she has a perfect life.
That’s why it’s very good that you celebrate those parts of your personality that are amazing.
“Why do self-loathers so readily overlook the good parts of themselves?
“The answer in most cases turns out to relate not to the fact that they have negative qualities but to the disproportionate weight they lend them,” observes Alex Lickerman, adding:
“People who dislike themselves may acknowledge they have positive attributes but any emotional impact they have simply gets blotted out.”
12) Stop tolerating situations that don’t fit your values and standards
Famous life coach Tony Robbins famously teaches that what we get in life depends on the standards and expectations we set in stone.
When we set standards that we shift when necessary, we get the lowest possible level we’re willing to settle for.
When we won’t budge and hold out for what we want and only that – and give ourselves absolutely no way out – we eventually get what we want.
It’s like if I’m selling a pocket watch I know is high value but buyers are only offering me half its value. I can barter up and find one after a day or two who offers me 75% of the value;
Or I can wait even more time and eventually somebody who offers me the full value.
With a lot of patience and determination, and giving myself no other source of income but selling that watch I could even push the price higher and maybe start a bidding war.
That’s how life is.
So when a situation or person isn’t meeting your standards, sometimes the best way to deal with it is to just refuse to engage.
“If all else fails, just leave. Really, there’s no reason you must be there. You always have a choice.”
Brand new you
Personality changes take time.
I don’t like my personality but I’m working on it. I’ve been working on it.
It’s an ongoing process, and all of us are works in progress to some extent.
That’s a good thing, anyway.
Look at nature: it’s always evolving, always dynamic. It’s a process of growth and decay. It has ugliness and beauty, it has peaks and valleys.
Another thing about nature is that everything is interconnected.
That’s where the magic comes in:
Our personalities aren’t in an isolated vacuum, they’re in social settings and communities. We can support, criticize and help each other to change in constructive and real ways.
We can be the catalyst force that helps each other change for the better.