Self-directed personality development

Personality traits are viewed as behavioral tendencies which are relatively stable over time and over a variety of situations. Both among lay people and psychologists there are many who think that changing one's personality substantially is hard or even impossible. This belief is primarily based on the observation that the personality of most people does not appear to change a lot during adult life. But a paper by Hennecke et al. (2014) suggests that self-directed personality change is possible. In the paper they explain why personality usually does not change much, why it actually can be done, and how it can be done.

Based on a research literature review they developed a three-part framework for self-directed personality development. The framework shows three preconditions for self-directed personality development (see figure below).

Precondition 1 refers to motivation: you have to desire the change. Precondition 2 refers to mindset: you have believe that the change is possible. Precondition 3 refers to self-regulation skills for habit development. The authors explain that all three preconditions need to be met for personality development to take root. In the remainder of the paper the authors explain why they think this type of goal-directed personality development reflects actual personality change and not mere behavior change. They also provide suggestions for future research.


Duff said…
Wow, love this. This is exactly how I've been thinking of goals -- highly desirable, highly feasible, then use WOOP and create a new habit (automaticity).