The ONE Thing You Can Do to Make a New Habit Stick, by Personality Type

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on November 17, 2022

Starting a new habit can be exciting, but how do you sustain motivation and commitment once the initial enthusiasm wears off?  While there is no magic formula to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, understanding your Myers-Briggs personality type can be a start. 

If you’ve struggled with following through with your resolutions in the past, don’t panic! Here is our advice on the one thing you can do to make a new habit stick based on your personality type. 

ENFP—make a vision board

Making a new habit stick can be difficult for you, ENFP, as you often start the year burdening yourself with dozens of resolutions you know you won’t be able to complete. Seriously, there’s a lot of them. 

The solution: Make a vision board! Keeping your goal literally in front of you is a good reminder to maintain focus. It can help you keep distractions at bay and remind you of why you wanted to implement that new habit in the first place. 

ENFJ—celebrate tiny victories

Ah, sweet ENFJ. You love helping others reach their goals and build healthy habits, but your empathy can lead you to neglect your own priorities. 

The solution: When trying to make a new habit stick, celebrate even the tiniest victories. Didn’t finish your daily 30-minute yoga session? That’s ok, you’ve done ten minutes. Thinking about how you’d speak to a friend may also help you be gentler to yourself.

INFJ—tell a friend about it

Dear INFJ, you dream of achieving great big things, so why do you set yourself up for failure by convincing yourself that you’re incapable of pursuing your goals? 

The solution: Instead of keeping your goals to yourself, tell a trusted friend about what you’re aiming for. Their support can be a source of motivation in those moments when you start dwelling in self-doubt.

INFP—journal your progress

For INFPs, the challenge is to create goals that are specific and measurable over time. You know all too well that your free spirit can get in the way, and you may end up quitting before you even start. 

The solution: Use your ability to tune into your emotions and journal your progress. Having a handwritten record of your journey to make a new habit stick can act as a reminder of why that goal is important to you.

ENTJ—adapt as you go

Let’s be honest, ENTJs rarely fail their resolutions. If you want to make a new habit stick, you’re likely to find an efficient strategy to do so. 

The solution: Your determination is admirable, but remember that it’s okay if you change your goals along the way. In addition, learn to be more open to other people’s ideas. They may have something valuable to contribute.

INTJ—prioritize self-care

INTJs can work towards tight deadlines to achieve their goals, but at what cost? 

The solution: Prioritize self-care! Trust me, making that new habit stick will be much more enjoyable in the long run when you give yourself permission to rest and recharge.

ENTP—make it fun to repeat

ENTP, you love coming up with new ideas but quickly shift focus from one passion to the other, failing to actually execute any of them.

The solution: Time flies when you’re having fun, so make your new habit enjoyable to repeat. This can mean getting an accountability buddy to help you stay on track, or simply changing up the way in which you’d normally approach a task. 

INTP—form a trigger

Harnessing the power of discipline can be difficult for the absentminded INTP. Plus, when you insist on only doing things your own way, you may fail to be practical. 

The solution: Use a trigger. This means a ritual to get you in the right mindset, as in something you use before executing your habit. Like lighting up a candle every time you start working at your desk, for example.

ESTP—try habit stacking

Spontaneity is in your nature, which means you may struggle to focus for too long, ESTP. Goals that come from an obligatory place can also make you feel uneasy. 

The solution: Habit stacking is a game changer for you. It means identifying a current habit you have consolidated (say, brewing a cup of coffee every morning) and stacking a new behavior on top (reading one page of a book after, for example). 

ESFP—start small

ESFPs often feel overwhelmed by long-term goals. They might stick to a new habit for a couple of days, but then forget about it or give up altogether.

The solution: Start small. You can use the 2-minute rule that consists in scaling down a habit to only two minutes. As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, explains: “Fold the laundry” becomes “Fold one pair of socks.” This way, your new habit will not feel like an impossible challenge.

ISTP—set up a reward system

ISTPs can lack the patience to focus on a habit. Truth is, as an ISTP, you may quickly become bored and start seeking the thrill of a new adventure.

The solution: Set up a reward system to keep you motivated. Rewards can be anything you like, big or small. The idea is to make that new habit satisfying, so that you’ll naturally want to stick with it. 

ISFP—list all personal benefits

ISFP, you don’t like when goals make you feel restricted. As soon as there’s a sense of obligation attached to something, your commitment to it can quickly waver. 

The solution: Take advantage of your competitive streak and, instead of comparing yourself to others, make a list of all the personal benefits this new habit can bring into your life. 

ISTJ—pick a negative habit to replace

ISTJ, you know how to take practical decisions and work towards concrete goals–kudos to you! Still, you can sabotage yourself by being resistant to change and limiting your potential.

The solution: If the idea of implementing a new habit makes you grind your teeth in denial, start by picking a negative habit to replace. It’s a way to trick your brain into thinking you’re not making a major change, just getting rid of something that no longer serves you. 

ESTJ—review past accomplishments

ESTJ, you know how to make things happen and we admire you for that! So, what about taking a step back and acknowledging how far you’ve come?

The solution: By reviewing your past accomplishments, you may come to the conclusion that perhaps you don’t really need to be putting more hours at work, but starting a habit that personally challenges you. Take some time to reflect. What did you find easy to accomplish in the past? How will this new habit improve you as a person?

ESFJ—diversify, diversify, diversify

As traditionalists, ESFJs find comfort in the familiar and like performing their tasks routinely. This means you may have difficulty implementing new changes into your day-to-day life.

The solution: Think about innovative ways to engage with your new habit. Let’s say you want to start exercising three times a week. Instead of going through the same workout routine every single time, diversify it. Change your playlist, for example, or choose one of those days to be physically active in the outdoors.

ISFJ—be willing to accept help 

If I’m happy in my comfort zone, why step outside of it? I bet this is what goes through your mind, ISFJ, every time you think about change. You can also be very self-critical, so you avoid trying anything new for fear of failing. 

The solution: Get an accountability buddy! So often you’re the one supporting your loved ones. It’s about time you allow people to do the same for you.

Andreia Esteves

Andreia is an INFJ who used to think she was the only person in the world terrified of answering the phone. She works as a freelance writer covering all things mental health, and psychology related. When not writing, you’ll find her cozying up with a book, or baking vegan treats. Find her at: https://andreiaesteves.com/

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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