Every year we are bombarded with articles and advice and “how to’s” about “sticking” to our resolutions. There are many good articles out there, just Google “How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions” to see for yourself. The common theme that runs through most of the articles is proper planning: don’t take on a lot on at once, make your goals specific and actionable, and tackle them in bite-sized chunks, one step at a time. Neurological research seems to confirm that we can only take on small chunks at a time if we are going to be successful in making changes in our behavior.
Yet, as with everything else, the advice that is given to us will only resonate if we fundamentally relate to the advice. If you are not a planner by nature, it may be harder for you to implement the suggestions that abound. It might take more energy. You might give up without even knowing why.
So why not let our Type, and what we know about ourselves and our internal motivators lead the way instead?
We all develop and grow at our own pace and Type can help us find direction. If we stop to listen to the voice inside us – not the noise in our head, but what Jung called our Self, our Psyche – we might be able to receive some inner guidance about our focus for the upcoming year. By starting from a deeper place, from the inside out, rather than trying to impose our will upon ourselves from our ego, we may be able to stick with a plan. And we can call upon on our Type Hierarchy, or Type Dynamics to help us find the way.
I will give you an example from my own life.
I know from working with myself from the framework of my ENFJ typology that my Dominant Function is Extraverted Feeling (click here to read about the Dominant Function). I look for ways to maintain harmony in situations. My passion, motivation, reason for being here, is to help people to grow and develop, to learn about themselves, to gain more self-awareness – to be in a better position to make better life choices. I do this through my people development consultancy.
If I look back at my client base – the people I have touched and helped throughout the years – it seems to me that I have not made enough of an impact. The voice inside of me is propelling me forward and telling me that it is time to expand, that I am accomplished enough to do that. So that is what I’m planning; it’s my resolution to impact more people this year.
I can’t do that by simply using my Extraverted Feeling Dominant Function. In fact, Myers told us that if we use our non-preferred functions in service of our Dominant (to help us achieve our aims) we will have more success, or energy, to use Functions the functions that are harder for us.
I will have to call on my less preferred functions of Sensing and Thinking to help me create a plan and put it into action; to organize, systematize, structure and order my world, in small chunks. Tapping into the Functions that are harder for us to use take a considerable amount of energy. But I know that if I tap into these two perspectives, if I find the energy to use these functions in service of my key motivation, to help others grow and develop, I have a better chance of success than if I were to impose upon myself an arbitrary statement such as “expand my business” without considering the energy it will take.
Is this the right way to make a resolution stick? I think it might be for me. (I will check in with you at the end of the year!) You may not be motivated by the same things that motivate me. But I know that if I don’t work from my core, and if I don’t listen to that inner voice, then I will not be successful. I have learned from imposing arbitrary goals upon myself from New Years’ past, that I will just feel bad when I don’t reach those goals.
Type can be a guide or a map for helping us to identify some resolutions that may not be hard for us to implement. Type can help us understand why it might be hard to achieve our goals; and if we understand the “why” (for me I need to use Sensing and Thinking to put together a detailed plan) then we might just choose to invest the energy to make it happen. It’s about tapping into our Dominant, and then knowing what we need to do to move forward. We have to listen to our inner selves to see what it is time to do. Is it time to lose weight? To get to the gym? Or is something else really pressing you from within?
What is your Dominant Function, and how can it help you reach your goals for the New Year?