Self-knowledge isn’t selfish.
Knowing your personality can help you figure out what works for you in wellness.
How to Use Your Personality Type to Win at Wellness
When it comes to wellness, and knowing yourself and your personality helps you to you make better decisions. This episodes is all about leveraging your personality to build a life of wellness that you love.
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The cool thing is, when you really know your personality types, when you really know yourself, you can use that information to design a life of wellness that really works for you.
Today’s episode is all about how to use your personality wellness type to win at wellness.
If you were able to tune in last week, we talked with Jonathan Fields from the Good Life Project Podcast and we talked about his work with his new personality assessment, Sparketypes, around how to connect with your true calling.
And lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions through social media about my Enneagram and my Myers-Briggs type.
And my husband, who is a clinical psychologist, recently became a Strengthsfinder coach, so we’ve been talking about Strengthsfinder in our house.
With all this interest around personality types, I thought it would be a good idea to do a full show on it.
Not necessarily to talk about all those different assessments in detail, but really to talk about the point of knowing your different kinds of personalities and how to leverage that information to make your wellness journey more joyful and sustainable.
Why take a personality assessment?
Of course, it could just be fun to do the quizzes and get a little information and a little insight into yourself.
It can also be fun to compare with other people’s and discuss how you’re the same or different.
But I think the true power in these different types of personality assessments is that they help you know yourself better.
“Self knowledge, knowing what works for you, knowing what drives you, knowing what doesn’t work-- that is the actual core and foundation of wellness”.
Knowing yourself allows you to create and design this life, and it can serve as the heartbeat of the life you want to build and the life you want to live.
We’ve talked about self-knowledge many times in this show; in interviews with both Jonathan Fields and Gretchen Rubin, we had conversations around the idea of self-knowledge and how self-knowledge can lead to happiness, to well-being, to a sense a fulfillment.
And also how the idea of self-study can seem really uncomfortable.
I think the word self is often related to selfishness in our minds, and there’s this idea that taking time to know what works for you is selfish.
First off, as we’re talking about personality types, I ask you to do a little internal bias check: when I say self, self-knowledge or self-study, does that bring up ideas of selfishness?
And if so, that’s totally okay and normal, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, talking about it, and we usually don’t teach it in schools so for some of us it can just take a little while to even come around to the idea that knowing yourself and what works is not only helpful for you, but helpful for everyone else in your life.
So when it comes to wellness, knowing yourself and your personality helps you do one really important thing, and that’s helping you make better decisions.
At the end of the day, so much of our life is the result of these tiny decisions.
There are so many things we can’t control, but when it comes to the things we can, life is an accumulation of these tiny decisions.
If you can get better at making decisions, you find that it has a ripple effect across the board and things become easier, lighter, and more enjoyable.
“You can spend more time filling rather than emptying”.
I want to give you some really specific examples of this, and even though I’m using my own personality type as a point of reference, it applies to all of us.
Sometimes seeing the specific in someone else’s life helps us draw the relationship to ourselves.
I want to note, that knowing your personality type is not about making excuses for your behavior or getting really rigid and stuck.
For instance, I’m an introvert and it would be really easy for me to use that as an excuse to avoid all social situations and just generally become an isolated human.
It’s finding that edge between respecting and honoring who you are but then also pushing outside of that and challenging yourself, growing yourself, and finding that balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance.
I don’t think there’s any one personality type assessment that’s necessarily better than another.
I think the more you know the better, as long as you don’t get bogged down in the details.
Here’s how I come out in a few of these personality assessments.
Enneagram seems to be so popular right now, and it’s the number one question I get asked.
I took it a couple of times, and I understand that you have one that’s your primary but I scored so closely that I took it several times.
What I came up with was either I’m a 1, which is Perfectionist, or a 2, Achiever, or an 8, Leader.
And they were so close every time that I’m not sure where I land, but for the sake of this conversation I’ll go with Perfectionist.
And then I took the Four Tendencies assessment, and I’m an Upholder with the Questioner-lean.
When it comes to Sparketypes, I came out with Scientist and then either a Maven or an Essentialist shadow type.
And then with our own Wellness Personality Assessment, which is based on a couple years of research that my husband, Dr. Andrew, and I did on the barriers to wellness, the mindset patterns that people have that kept them from wellness or help them succeed.
It comes with a free resource guide and there are three types: and my type is Dynamo.
And a Dynamo tends to lean toward perfectionism.
Taking these all together helped build a picture of my strengths and weaknesses and overall personality that I have.
I think it’s pretty accurate, but there are parts in each that I don’t totally agree with, but I don’t think that’s the important part.
The important part is the big picture and being able to make better decisions.
How to win at wellness:
Let’s talk about how to use this information to win at wellness in the context of movement, meals, and mind.
This is the way I love to look at the whole picture of wellness- we’re not just talking about food or exercise or mindfulness and mental health, but we’re looking at the big picture.
Knowing my personality types, I want to tell you how I use those to make better decisions about movement, meals, and mind.
Let’s start with movement, since I’ve recently been working on adopting a new workout routine.
Those of you who have followed for a long time know that I’m a huge barre fan, and we actually did an interview with Sadie Lincoln, the founder and CEO of barre3.
I also love pilates (check out this conversation with Robin Long on pilates and fitting movement into everyday life).
And I’m also an avid walker and I love a good hike in the Pacific NW with my husband and daughter.
But I just turned 39 this month, and something about my birthday in January and knowing that I have a year until 40 made me rethink my routine.
I’ve also recently developed a little hip problem and plantar fasciitis so I’ve been trying to stay off my feet to heal.
On top of that, we also just joined a gym that has childcare and a pool and gives us a chance to workout together.
This combination of things has made me rethink my fitness and movement routine.
I’m not ditching the ways that I know work for me, but I feel like I’m at square one trying to figure out how I’m going to create this routine.
Here is where knowing yourself and your personality can really work for you:
As an Upholder, I know that if I commit to a plan or routine, I feel very compelled to follow though.
So I’ve been really careful of that right now, of not committing to a prescriptive program or an intense routine because I’m balancing a lot of other things.
If you add in the concepts of being a Perfectionist, or being an Achiever, and a Dynamo, it sounds to me, when I take these into consideration, maybe I shouldn’t commit to a big overhaul in my fitness routine.
Another factor in my self-knowledge is that I need something low impact, which I know from trying things out in the past.
When it comes to anything in wellness, what’s so important is trying things out and then listening to yourself to see if it resonates.
Maybe you’re somebody who tries out Zumba and just loves the community aspect of it and maybe you used to love to dance so adding dance back into your life brings you joy- that’s such a perfect thing to know, that’s such a great way to harness your personality and work it into movement.
Or maybe you’re an Obliger, and you know you need accountability, so maybe you take advantage of Robin Long’s pilates Sisterhood and you hook up with someone there who becomes your accountability buddy.
So you don’t feel bad that you’re an Upholder, you take advantage of it.
It’s all these tiny tweaks to make it more pleasant and more aligned with who you are that helps to make wellness sustainable, gentle, and effective.
When it comes to movement and your personality type, I invite you to take a little scan of your personality type or types and reference it against your movement.
Where is it helping you? Where is it holding you back? How can you use it to your advantage to craft a movement routine that works for you, in your life and with your personality?
I could definitely do a mini series on personality types and meals.
Movement and meals are both areas that you could definitely find a ton of prescriptive, day by day, meal by meal, exercise by exercise plans, which is great because we all need to find that balance between rules and flexibility
But, they really don’t account for your personality or your life.
You may be finding that you’re trying to squeeze yourself into a box or follow a plan that worked for someone else with a different personality type, but it is not going well for you.
Experimenting is a process that is so important when it comes to self awareness- you’ve got to be willing to try things out with the experimental mindset knowing that it might not work out.
And if it doesn’t, that’s not a failure, it’s one more piece of information to help you make better decisions.
When it comes to meal planning, through my own experimental process, I know for sure that we need some kind of map for the week and that rigid meal planning doesn’t work for me.
I see this a lot with clients as well as in the Simplified Reset that we offer, which is a 30-day meal plan and meal prep program based on this idea that you need some structure but that it needs to work in your own life.
And what I find is that people who tend to be perfectionistic or who tend to compare themselves to other people or a previous version of themself (I’m talking about you Seekers out there), or for the Obligers who maybe don’t have an accountability partner things start to fall apart, either you’re going all or nothing or throwing in the towel when it doesn’t go perfectly.
So for me, I found that meal planning a specific recipe each night was overwhelming and didn’t work.
So I switched over to meal mapping, which is much more loose but gives me enough structure so I know what type of meal we’re having each night (tacos, bowls, pasta, etc.) and I use a loose framework to make sure that I get all the groceries that I need (protein, grains and bases, veggies, sauces) and then I can combine those.
Knowing my personality helped me develop a plan that really worked, and I think you can get even more detailed when it comes to meals.
For instance, do you really love the opportunity for date night where you go out to eat?
If that time and connection is something you value, make sure you build that into your routine.
I think a lot of the time when we try to change the way that we eat for forget about what’s fun and joyful, but when you cut all of that out it’s a recipe for disaster.
Or if you’re someone who really doesn’t like grocery shopping, then maybe you consider ordering groceries online.
Again, it’s these little tweaks this paying attention and experimenting to see what works.
I am a huge fan of breathwork.
I think it is a gateway to mindfulness and has so many impacts on our nervous system (check out this interview with Ashley Neese on breathing for health)
But when it comes to just sitting and doing breathwork practice, it wasn’t really working for me.
So I did a little scan of my day and tried to find the times when I’m most stressed
Something you can definitely do in figuring out what works for you, is a little audit.
Do an audit of your day, your week, of a pocket of your day and think about when things might work and when they might not.
I do have a little 5 minute morning, but doing breathwork in my 5 minute morning routine was too much.
So in trying to figure out when I might need it most, and what came to me is when I’m driving, when I’m doing errands, when I’m in traffic, and especially when I arrive at my destination and there’s always a rush onto the next thing and I can’t take a breath.
With that self-knowledge, what if I tried to insert breathwork into that moment?
It’s been so successful and I want to share it with you.
What I do is I pair breath with a certain activity, which is totally taking advantage of my Scientist/Essentialist nature: how can I make it simpler and use the research to make it work?
Pairing is a very effective behavioral strategy, which is when you do one thing you do something else; in this case I paired breath with taking the keys out of the ignition.
So when I take the keys out of the ignition, I take three deep inhales and deep exhales.
I find myself instantly calmer, more grounded, more present, and because I built it into my life it’s not something I feel like I should do but never actually do.
Let’s do something:
It’s all the ways you look at your life and figure out how to use your personality to your advantage.
The end result is this radically personalized life that is so of sustainable, gentle, consistent wellness
Nothing makes me happier than seeing you all put this into action, because it’s one thing to listen to a podcast episode and it's another to do something.
So let’s do something.
1 | Take a personality test if you haven’t.
2 | Share your personality type (I love seeing those on Instagram stories!).
3 | Tell me how you’re using this self-knowledge of your personality to win at wellness (the smaller the tweak the better).
More on Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies
More on Jonathan Fields’ Sparketypes
More on barre3 with Sadie Lincoln
More on pilates with Robin Long
More on breathwork with Ashely Neese
More on my 5 minute morning