2009 is here – Resolutions + Affirmations

New Year’s has most of us at least asking ourselves the question as to whether we’re going to make resolutions this year.  One article I read suggested we resolve to recycle – in fact, we could start by recycling last year’s resolutions.


I delivered a talk on resolutions at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver at the end of December suggesting it’s the old year that needs resolution: resolution in the sense of bringing to a successful closure, the way conflicts are resolved – or how artists “resolve” a painting. (You can read the whole talk at www.creativityandspirituality.wordpress.com if you’re interested.)


While doing research for the talk, I discovered that www.goalsguy.com has proclaimed the first week of January as “New Year’s Resolutions week” – so there’s still time to make your list and check it twice.


On the same day I delivered my talk, the presentation at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Spokane, Washington was “Affirmations not Resolutions.”


Personality Type and Affirmations

Over the 20 years that I’ve used psychological type for individual consultations and team-building workshops, the most common response in seeing the results of the questionnaire is a very self-satisfied or at least amused, “Yes, that’s me.”  


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator© is based on Carl Jung’s model of psychological type which suggests we are born with or develop our true type very early in life.  Our first task is to develop the skills and attitudes of our preferences. In business language, this could be called “leveraging” or “capitalizing” on who we are. 


Affirming our true nature

Most people find their type results as affirming of their true nature. It can be quite profound for anyone who’s  been living or working in an environment that is biased towards the opposite approach. For instance, introverts who represent about one-quarter of the population, find it a welcome discovery that although a minority, they are not alone. Learning about the “Introvert Advantage” (there’s a book by that title) helps them reflect on how their preference for introversion can “work” for them.  A new year’s affirmation might be, “I enjoy my time alone” or “My close friends are important to me.”


Developing our less preferred facets

Type development says that we can also consciously use and develop our less preferred sides. So an introvert could consider ways that their life calls on them to extrovert and discover strategies for making this more comfortable and effective.  For instance, an introvert whose work calls on them to network, will find it easier to go to a conference after reflecting in advance what their purpose is, and, if possible, making a list of people they want to meet and talk with in advance, rather than just entering large crowded rooms of people – which could be an extrovert’s idea of heaven!  A new year’s resolution might be, “I will find ways to enjoy conferences and gatherings that I need to attend.” 


Exploring the 5 facets to make using the less preferred side more effective

Using the MBTI Step II © can help both with affirmations and resolutions. The more detailed feedback can provide help with strategizing ways to use your less preferred side.

For instance if you are an extrovert “working on” developing your “I” side, finding out that you had two “out of preference” scores on the facets of “intimate” rather than “gregarious” and “reflective” rather than “active” (as I do), could help you create some new year’s resolutions that make more time in your life to exercise those preferences and have more balance overall.

For instance, knowing my preference is for intimate, although overall I’m an extrovert, I could intentionally stop and ask myself if I really want to invite a lot of people to an event or whether I’d prefer to attend with one or two other close friends.


Knowing my preference for reflection, I could (will!) recommit to writing the “morning pages” as suggested by Julia Cameron in the Artist’s Way. I know that getting my thoughts down on paper helps me “see” them and provides structure for some reflection time. 



My “Myers-Briggs” resolutions

Back in the late 80’s when I was getting more and more involved in psychological type, I created a list of new year’s resolutions that covered all eight “letters”.  I made one resolution for each of: Extroversion; Introversion; Sensing, iNtuition; Thinking; Feeling; Perceiving and Judging! The idea was to both affirm my natural preferences and provide some encouragement for development of my less preferred sides.

As an inveterate goal-setter, one of my strategies for success is to make specific and measurable goals – and to start small. So as an intuitive, I set the goal for Sensing to have matching towels.  I was able to accomplish that within weeks, and a trip to Alberta meant I could take advantage of after-holiday sales and save on sales tax to boot.  The blue towels are now long gone, and I’ve reverted to a variety of colours, albeit in a consciously chosen range, rather than haphazard. 


If you’re considering who the new you – or the real you – is, a workshop or consultation on psychological type may help provide some insights that will make 2009 an important year for you.


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