There is something very interesting about knowing and observing character strengths. Firstly, if you don’t know what your strengths are here is a survey to find out. I have been running an experiment on myself to find out how your character strengths change over time. And it’s true so far. I have mostly kept the same strengths in a different order based on vacation time, where I take the test, anxiety and depression rates and other factors. I have monitored this through a graph (as seen below) and I have found the results surprising to say the least.
My current top 5 character strengths are:
I find it facinating to know these kinds of things… Just as personal insight. It feels as though you can understand your decisions and how you talk to others better. It’s one of the reasons I like to survey myself every now and then.
In regards to character strengths there are 5 core virtues; Wisdom, Courage, Humanity, Justice and Temperance. I actually have a well rounded split between these 5 however I would say Temperance based strengths come up higher in my completed list as well as Wisdom based strengths.
Being able to utilise your strengths either be it in school, at work or home, is really important for developing your sense of self. If you were to take the survey to find out your top 5 (leave a comment of them if you want), then try and develop that strength for a week. Develop a new habit or further an existing one in order to develop the strength. Just do something that uses that strength in a new way. For myself this is what I am going to do:
Week 1 – Honesty (25th – 31st January)
Determine a list of the things I lie about, who I lie to and why I lie – these will be the things I will attempt to work on through the first day (25th). This is a simple enough task that addresses the mistakes I am currently making.
I will then spend the other days revealing to you a confession. Just one a day. All in attempt to show you the honest side of myself.
Week 2 – Judgement (1st – 7th February)
- Identify reasons of your last three actions that you are not happy with (not following through with a goal) and brainstorm better alternative ideas for the future
- Ask a trusted and wise friend to critically appraise your judgment on your last three significant actions.
- Play devil’s advocate on an issue that you have strong opinions about.
- When deciding about an important issue, write pros and cons and repeat them while taking breaks in between.
- Identify the last three actions for which you did not think your way through.
- Monitor if you often find information to confirm your opinions or seek new information to expand your view.
- When you face the next challenge, first imagine the best and worst scenarios and then decide the most realistic course of action.
Week 3 – Perseverance (8th – 14th February)
- Work harder than usual at your most important goal.
- Select a role-model who exemplifies perseverance and determine how you can follow her/his footsteps.
- Read an inspiring quotation or poem which motivates you to achieve your goals.
- Write your goals and aims and post them where you can see them regularly. Let them inspire you.
- Manage a challenging task from start to finish at your work.
- Take control of at least one new situation at home or work, one that you can handle. If you fail, revise your plan but don’t give up until you finish.
- Think about what you would like to accomplish in the next five years. Develop a road map and assess how your present skills match with your goals.
Week 4 – Fairness (15th – 21st February)
- The next time you make a mistake, self-monitor to see whether you admit it.
- The next time you present an argument, self-monitor to see whether you compromise fairness for social desirability.
- Encourage equal participation of everyone, especially those who feel left out in a discussion/activity.
- Self-monitor to see whether your judgments are affected by your personal likes and dislikes or are based on principles of justice and fairness.
- Recall and write about instances where you were unfair or could have been fairer. Consider how you could improve your future behavior.
- Self-monitor to see whether you think about or treat people of other ethnicities and cultures stereotypically.
- Write a letter to an editor or speak up on an important issue concerning social justice.
Week 5 – Self-Regulation (22nd – 28th February)
- Set goals to improve your everyday living (e.g., room cleaning, laundry, doing dishes, cleaning your desk) and make sure you complete the tasks.
- Monitor and eliminate distractions (phone, TV, computer) while focusing on a particular assignment.
- Eliminate objects of temptation (dieting – don’t eat junk food; alcohol – don’t socialize in bars; smoking – replace cigarettes with chewing gum; shopping – leave credit card or money at home)
- Start a regular workout routine and make sure you stick to it.
- Next time you get upset, try to control your emotions and focus on positive attributes.
- Avoid talking about others in their absence.
- When you get upset, try to do a progressive relaxation
That’s all for now.
A Recovering Survivor