This year, I’m thinking about how to honor my needs as an introvert and take steps toward the life I want to live.
As someone who refuses hustle culture, I don’t come out swinging with tenacious New Year’s resolutions. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have hopes, dreams, and goals for the coming year.
I used to fall into the trap of thinking it was all or nothing — either be a full-on hustler with never-waning ambition, or have no goals and no motivation. Of course, there is a happy medium to be found, and New Year’s resolutions are my attempt to find that balance in new ways each year.
This year, I’m thinking about how to honor my needs and preferences as not just an introvert, but as a highly sensitive introvert, by taking steps toward the life I want to live. I’m getting more comfortable with the idea that anything worth having requires at least some discomfort some of the time.
So this year, my New Year’s resolutions have a lot to do with being who I want to be in the world, even if it requires some uncomfortable moments along the way.
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5 Resolutions for Introverts to Be More True to Themselves
1. Pursue expansive comfort, even when things are a bit outside your comfort zone.
When you think of your true comforts, what comes to mind? If you’re an introvert, your list might be pretty short, because we tend to have a limited number of environments that provide pure comfort. There’s nothing wrong with this preference, and it certainly makes sense given how overstimulating the world can be.
But — there is freedom to be found in broadening our capacity to find comfort in myriad places and situations. Try stretching just a little beyond your comfort zone; that is, do something you know you can do, even though you feel some discomfort about it. Believe me, there are some introvert-friendly ways to get out of your comfort zone!
For me, it’s things like making a phone call I’ve been putting off (but making myself as comfortable as possible as I do it) or attending an event I know I really need to attend (but only staying for an hour). Often, the dread of the thing is the worst part. Doing these things reaffirms for me that I am a capable person — and the feeling of having done them is rewarding.
Granted, we may never find certain large social gatherings or crowded events comfortable, but if we can figure out little ways to cultivate a bit of comfort — even amid those scenarios — we will thrive.
2. Make small talk work for you by turning it into “big” talk.
A prime example of something that introverts will never find comfortable is conventional small talk. At best, we tolerate it; at worst, we loathe it.
But what if introverts could have a few tricks up our sleeves to shift small talk into more interesting, meaningful conversation? I’m not talking about oversharing with a stranger. Rather, introverts can direct the conversation toward an equally light, but more stimulating, conversation that they can actually enjoy.
In one of her articles, Introvert, Dear founder Jenn Granneman offers some great tips on turning small talk into meaningful conversation. I especially like her suggestion of asking why instead of what. For example, asking someone why they’re in their line of work opens up the conversation more than simply asking what they do for a living.
3. Allow ease. If it’s less stressful to get groceries delivered, do it!
While introversion has certainly become more widely accepted and accommodated in recent years, we are still living in a society that values extroversion. It takes a lot of energy to live in a system that is not designed for you. It’s hard. It’s exhausting. It feels like even simple tasks are complicated by having to do them according to “extroverted rules.”
So, this year, even while I am a proponent of working through discomfort to build the life I want, I also want to allow ease where I can. In fact, I see it as a necessary counter-balance to the hard work of being more of who I’m meant to be in the world. Introverts shouldn’t shy away from doing some things the easy way. From grocery delivery to holding a boundary to prevent undue stress in our lives, allowing ease isn’t just about being easy; it’s about pursuing ways that work for us. It’s about allowing our preferences to flow naturally in our lives.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
4. Honor your pause — it is okay to wait before responding to a question.
Sometimes I envy external processors for their ability to speak whatever comes to their minds. But I know that my cautious approach has alternative strengths that are worth honoring, too.
So what would it be like for introverts to own their need to take a moment before answering a question or speaking up in a meeting? What would it look like if we refused to let the conversation proceed without our input, but insisted we take our time in adding our thoughts?
Admittedly, this is a tall order. It would require introverts to stake their claim and not yield our time while we formulate our response. But if we can honor our pause and then speak our minds, I’m convinced the world will change for the better.
5. Be intentional with your time and only do what truly matters to you.
By this, I don’t mean maximizing productivity every second of every day. Just say “No!” to hustling, remember? Instead, I mean spending your time doing what truly matters to you. For introverts, this will most certainly include pure and unadulterated downtime, where we are literally “doing nothing” at all.
But beyond intentional time to rest and recharge, what other shifts can you make toward spending more of your time the way you really want to? What brings you joy? Is it hanging out with your kids (rather than managing their schedules)? Exploring a new hobby? Or, yes, even indulging in the occasional social media scroll hole?
This is certainly not a prescription for “shoulding” your time: I should be exercising, I should be getting this or that done. Instead, it’s an invitation to explore how you want to spend your time. Best-selling author and OG life coach Martha Beck says that when we approach our time like this, the necessary bits tend to fall into place more easily. This year, I want to find out for myself.
My fellow introverts, did I miss anything? I’d love to hear what resolutions you’d add in the comments below!
You might like:
- How to Accomplish Goals the ‘Introvert Way’
- 27 ‘Strange’ Things You Do Because You’re a Highly Sensitive Person
- 10 Things That Fill Introverts with Joy
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