New Year, new you, nice try. We all fall into the same trap of “new year’s resolutions.” This time, year after year, gym prices become “discounted,” self-help books flood our Instagram feeds, and green shakes capitalize the end caps of our local supermarket. We are overwhelmed with the idea that we can change ourselves if we try just hard enough, so let’s push ourselves to reach that yearly goal. Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into this cyclical way of thinking every year. Are you focusing your energy on changing the right things?
Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Research has shown that our personality does not change. About 50% of our personality is determined by our genetic make-up. The other 50% is based on the “nurture” effect, or how you find you fit in society. People tend to seek out settings that match their personality. It’s not often you find an introvert relaxing at a networking event. We create environments for ourselves that reflect our personalities, i.e. extroverts pursue parties to unwind on the weekend.
Our research at PREPARE/ENRICH is aligned with the notion that personality doesn’t change. The personality portion of our assessment, SCOPE (which stands for social, change, organized, pleasing, and emotionally steady) is based off of the Five Factor model. For the most part, we understand that this scale stays static through couples who have taken our assessment multiple times.
However, there is a scale that you, as an individual, can change – the Relationship Dynamics scale. This scale assesses different traits you possess in a relationship and how strong or weak you are in those areas – it is not reflective of your agreement as a couple, but rather where you, as an individual, lie on these different attribute spectrums. Our Relationship Dynamic scale measures assertiveness, self-confidence, avoidance, and partner dominance, as these traits are found to change as a person intentionally grows. The more we communicate and work on those areas of ourselves, the better the outcome.
People don’t change, they grow. We grow as individuals, we grow as couples, and we grow as a society. Growth takes time and constant evaluation of yourself and your situations. The more people learn about themselves, the more they can become the best version of themselves. But this doesn’t mean that people will change the essence of who they are. Don’t expect your partner to change their personality, because that’s an unrealistic expectation to have. Our partners aren’t our projects.
However, if you have had the conversation and you both want to grow, you’re in luck – that’s healthy and realistic.
Make it your New Year’s resolution to grow as a couple. Hold each other and yourself accountable for your goals. Take the non-facilitated version of our assessment, called Couple Checkup, at the start of the year, then retake it at the end of the year to track your growth and progress. .
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea that New Year’s resolution should result in a “new you.” But it’s our unique personality quirks that attracted us to our partners in the first place and those traits are unlikely to change. By focusing your time and energy on creating positive growth in yourself and your relationship, you set yourself up for future success.
Register today for one of our free workshops and you can take a Prepare-Enrich couple's assesment for free! Learn more here.
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If you always find yourself saying, “all guys want to use me” or “all women are gold diggers”, chances are you’re basing that thinking off of your own negative relationship experiences. You’ve dated so many people who keep treating you the same way that it’s easy to start thinking that “this is just the way it is”.
But the truth is there are great people out there! Despite what your track record might show, there really are kind, wonderful fish in the sea.
(This is the part where you interject and say, “Oh yeah? So then why do I keep ending up with the bad fish?”)
Well, that’s a great question! Why do you?
To understand the answer to that question, you have to identify what all these people you’ve dated have in common so that you can discover what traits to avoid in the future. Here are three practical steps to take TODAY to help you get started.
#1- Your Non-Negotiable List
Make a list of 5 to 10 things that are non-negotiable when it comes to a future partner. What are things that you absolutely must have in a relationship? This is your life! You deserve someone that you can really enjoy it with! This list will help you make sure you find that person. What is important to you? Maybe you desire to share the same faith as the person you marry. Or maybe you are a very active person and you want to be with someone who will go hiking or swimming with you. Maybe you don’t want to have kids. Maybe you do. A drug-free partner should be on your list, of course!
#2- Compare Past Relationships
Make a list of all of your past relationships and find commonalities among them. Where did you meet each partner? What personality traits attracted you to each of them? How did each of them treat you in the beginning? What was the first red flag you noticed in the relationship, and how long had you been dating? And finally, which of your non-negotiable items did each partner not meet?
#3- Analyze the Results
After you identify the negative patterns in your past relationships, you can discover all sorts things about how to find a better partner. Did you meet all of these past partners at the same type of place? It’s time to look somewhere else! It could be that you’re more likely to find a person who shares your heart for public service volunteering at a local charity than at that bar you frequent. So start volunteering! Do you love art? Take an art class! You’re more likely to meet someone who shares your interests at a water color class than by swiping left or right on a dating app.
Do these three things and hold yourself accountable to them, and you’ll put a stop to those negative patterns TODAY. Your life is important. Your dreams and goals matter. And you deserve to have a partner who cares about you!
You can get more tips like these at our free workshop, “How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk(ette)”. To find a workshop near you, click here.