Until recently both professionals and laypeople believed that personality traits are set by age 30. Further, psychologists believed certain personality traits are mostly genetic, which means you're born agreeable, neurotic, or extroverted – and you'll stay that way despite your environment or desire to change. You can’t make any personality changes, they once believed.
Current research, however, suggests that personality traits do change. You can change your personality and characteristics if you want to - and thus change your life.
University of California (Berkeley) researchers Sanjay Srivastava and Oliver P John found that not only do personality traits change over time – personality traits change more in adulthood than in childhood. As an adult, changing your personality can improve your life
1. Decide why you want to change your personality. Are you changing your personality because you want to impress your partner or mother? Changing your personality traits to suit others isn't healthy. Plus those personality changes won't last because they're not based on your own needs. On the other hand, if you want to change your personality because you're tired of sitting at home alone or feeling sad most of the time, then you're more likely to be happy with your personality changes.
2. Pick a specific personality trait to change. To change your personality, pick one thing to focus on. For example, if you're hesitant to try parachuting – but you want to try new things – then focus on the "openness" trait of the Big Five Personality Traits. Practice trying new things, using your imagination, and taking small risks (baby steps) are effective ways to change your personality. After you take small steps, then making bigger personality changes is relatively easy.
3. Give yourself time to change your personality. You can't change your personality overnight. Set small, reasonable goals such as allowing yourself to worry for no longer than five minutes a day. Be patient. If you stay focused and persistent, you will make effectively change your personality, such as worrying less or becoming more agreeable.
4. Be accountable for changing your personality. Trust a friend or spouse to help you change your personality. Ask them to tell you when you're displaying the personality traits you're pursuing – and accept their praise when you show that trait! This will motivate and support you, and strengthen your relationships too. Changing your personality can change your life.
5. Be open to other sources of help for changing your personality. Sometimes you need more support than a friend or spouse when you’re changing your personality – and there are hundreds of options! Books about personality psychology, support groups, counselors, life coaches, workshops, and classes are just a few possibilities when you're changing your personality. An objective point of view is invaluable in helping you identify healthy reasons for personality change.