New year, new you, right?
But hold up. Before we jump into all the new year’s resolutions and the goal-setting mindset, let’s take some time to reflect and evaluate who we are and who we have been.
In understanding ourselves better, we we will be able to design goals in such a way that will bring us success.
First, discover who you are at present
How would you describe yourself? How do you think others would describe you? What are 2 positive things about you? What are 2 negative things about you?
I’m a naturally reflective person, but my college program forces me to look deeper into myself and figure out who I truly am. This is because being aware of our strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, and behaviour significantly affects our role as educators in the early childhood education and care.
It’s the same principle in life: the more you understand yourself, the better equipped you are in handling life’s curve balls.
In a nutshell, there are 4 aspects of the self we have to know:
- how you see and feel about yourself
- “shaped by reflected appraisal [or the] perceptions [and] judgments of those around [you]” (Adler, 2012, p. 42) as well as “by the process of social comparison” (Adler, 2012, p. 43)
- It is subjective and resists change, but a healthy self-concept is flexible (Adler, 2012, p. 46-50).
- “the part of self-concept that involves evaluations of self-worth” (Adler, 2012, p. 40)
- fluctuates over time because different phases of your life will change how you evaluate yourself
- self-control or self-regulation
- “involves your ability to change [some part of you] to achieve a personal goal or meet a social or cultural expectation” (Adler, 2012, p. 41)
- answers the question: how much can you handle? — self-control is about knowing your limits
- the degree to which you know yourself; being aware of what you can and cannot do
Additionally, we have to understand our temperament and personality:
According to Chess, Thomas, and Birch (1965), temperament is “the basic style which characterizes a person’s behaviour”. It is a set of “inborn traits that organize[s] a person’s approach to the world” (Miller). It influences “what they do; how they learn; how they feel about themselves and others; what kinds of interactions they have with people and objects” (Malhotra, 2016). In understanding what our temperament is, we can work with it instead of against it.
One of the easy, but fairly accurate, ways to understand who you are is to take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II personality assessment. KTS-II has a free mini report available in which you can review the KTS-II category you belong in. Each category may also translate into 1 of 4 True Colors or Personality Dimensions.
- Artisan (Orange)
- skillfulness; improviser
- core needs: freedom, activity, and variety
- Idealist (Blue)
- authenticity; catalyst
- core needs: relationships & self-actualization
- Guardian (Gold)
- duty; organizer
- core needs: belonging through duty & responsibility
- Rationale (Green)
- knowledge; inquirer
- core needs: knowledge & competence
I have taken all 3 personality assessments in various stages of my adult life. Unsurprisingly, my results have all indicated that I am an Idealist or a Blue. This has shone a light on what I value most in life: harmonious relationships and continuous personal growth.
Additionally, the Clifton StrengthsFinder has highlighted my strengths and provided more insight into who I am. It has reinforced the results I got from the temperament tests. According to this assessment, my top 5 themes are:
- Includer (accepting of others)
- Input (have a craving to know more)
- Learner (have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve)
- Harmony (seek areas of agreement)
- Developer (recognize & cultivate the potential in others)
The key to any personality assessment is to be honest and true to yourself. If you get stuck in any question, answer intuitively. However, you also have to remember that these are constrained tests and they do not necessarily reflect 100% of who you are. For instance, I have two different results when I completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator a few times. (My personality type was ISFP the first time I took the test, and it was ENFP the second time.)
But as mentioned above, a healthy self-concept is flexible. It changes over time. Our self-awareness may also increase as we journey forward in life.
So let’s reflect on who we have been this past 2016 and get a better picture of who we are.
Next, we work out what our values and beliefs are
What matters most to you? What are your top 5 values and what do they mean to you?
Through self-analysis, reflection, and understanding my personality traits, I have concluded that my top values are inclusion, harmony, learning, interaction, and personal growth.
- Inclusion is having compassion, empathy, and understanding of others. It means no one is left out or left behind.
- Harmony is a feeling of peace, warmth, and love.
- Learning involves education, adventure, and exploring our curiosities. It’s a lifelong process of gaining knowledge and understanding even in the littlest things.
- Interaction with family, friends, and strangers includes spending time with them, having meaningful conversations, and being of service to them.
- Personal growth necessitates courage, empowerment, and motivation. It’s something I work towards in myself and something that I’d like to cultivate in others.
Values give us purpose and direction. . . . They should determine your priorities and can become the measures you use to determine if your life is turning out the way you want it to. . . . When we align our actions with our values on a daily basis, we feel more fulfilled.
(Machado-Duque, 2015, p. 13)
Goals that are aligned with our values and beliefs have a better likelihood for achievement because we will never truly run out of motivation to reach them. When we do run low on motivation, however, and we fall back into our old habits, it is easy to remind ourselves of our “why” and get back on our path to success.
So who are you? And who do you want to be this year?
References (in addition to linked sources):
Adler, R. (2012). Communication and the self. In Interplay: The process of interpersonal communication. Oxford.
Chess, Thomas, and Birch. (1965).
Machado-Duque, J. (2015). Life purpose playbook: The ultimate guide to goal setting and daily planning. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Malhotra, S. (2016). Temperament theory [PowerPoint presentation]. Retrieved from SLATE.