If you’re a sloppy thinker six days a week and you really try to be sharp on the seventh, then maybe the next six days aren’t going to be quite as sloppy as the preceding six. – M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

What Happens

One of the most peculiar traits shared mostly by INTJ personality types is unwavering consistency.

While it is in general true that people are consistent, in the sense that decisions and actions someone would take are the result of  underlying and well established patterns of behavior and attitudes. This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult for people to change seemingly simple aspects of their life. Minor adjustments to mundane, everyday activities are very difficult to implement and more importantly even more difficult to maintain that momentum.

Just think of someone trying to achieve what is termed a “stretch goal” like loosing or gaining weight, improving school grades, sticking to a workout regiment, saving up an emergency fun, establishing positive relationship dynamics with their relatives. Everyone either struggled with any number of the before mentioned aspects or is close to someone who has exerted a lot of effort to improve any area of their life.

And yet most if not all people have come across individuals who can and do consistently set stretch goals for themselves and even more amazingly they achieve the results they seek rapidly and almost effortlessly to the outside onlooker. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of pattern to this: a housewife in her 40’s might start and run a successful chain of businesses for example. A 21 year old high-school drop-out with a sealed criminal record from their teens graduates from an Ivy League university with a four year degree in two years. An overweight middle aged IT professional is looking like a rock star just a year after being destroyed emotionally and financially in a messy divorce after being married for 15 years.

Each and every one of us know individuals who have made comparable changes quickly and more importantly were able to integrate such changes as part of their core M.O. Is there a commonality between all these individuals and if so, can it be learned and implemented?

What to Do About It

There are many reasons why individuals choose to set stretch goals in any area of life important to them. In regard to this article the interest lies more in How as opposed to Why. Here INTJ personality types offer a wealth of valuable information.

By virtue of being Introverted such individuals naturally are more self reliant. This is a very important trait for embarking on change because people’s environment, including social surrounding, affects ones views and actions to a disproportionate extent. This is most evident in teenagers and is usually given a negative connotation with the term “peer pressure.” This influence of others on someones thinking process, beliefs, actions and world view can’t be marginalized. The impact of social surrounding is strong and is heavily relied on by coaches and individuals as the primary and necessary step in achieving any lasting change. The only difference in naming this phenomenon “peer pressure” vs. “mastermind group” or a support group of any kind is the subjective direction of the change attempted. For Introverted types the decision of what their social surrounding is comes down to a quite rigorous and cerebral process, thus insuring their current circle of friends is aligned well with the direction they want to pursue. Everyone who achieves lasting change will inevitably be faced with this step. INTJs simply have this “built-in” so to speak.

Another aspect of an INTJ personality which can be modeled by anyone seeking lasting change in any area of life from money to health to relationships, is self-directedness. Although this trait is sometimes confused with arrogance or insensitivity this is almost as important as the previously discussed trait because this allows an individual to be extremely selective when incorporating others feedback and ideas in to their own world view. This trait of primarily looking withing yourself in regard to mostly subjective views, opinions and factors directly affecting decisions and actions in conjunction with being more cognitive in nature is what gives INTJs an edge when it comes to making changes of any kind.

This more cerebral nature is what allows an individual leaning towards an INTJ personality type the persistence and ability to objectively scrutinize any options they see in front of them. This is yet another advantage someone would have when setting and reaching for a stretch goal because their actions would be based on the information as opposed to their feelings about such information. While its true that most decisions are made mostly on the emotions someone experiences, for an INTJ this less of an influence. Combined with the trait about extensively scrutinizing available information prior to reaching a conclusion, Leaning towards a “Thinking” vs. “Feeling” in their decision making process the decisions are likely to stick – and only be changed or modified based on any new information which would also be researched and double checked prior to it being included in any decisions making process.

While there is no set way to achieve any goals quickly and having desired results stick, every single individual who embarks on improving themselves or their situation would inevitably be faces with all of the above mentioned areas which would need to be worked on in order to achieve lasting success. Skimping in any one of the aspects required for change, which are all connected, would inevitably result in reverting back to previous thinking patterns and actions – and that would lead to the results and situations stretch goals are set to change and eliminate.

Above all, the three aspects of an INTJ personality which must be incorporated in to any attempt at at change, it is important to know that this is a process and so must be relied on continuously in order to produce a consistent progress in the direction you choose.