With increased time at home, odds are, you’ve tried everything under the sun to retain a sense of routine. From meditation and stress baking to Yoga With Adriene, there are plenty of ways to set the tone for a positive day. But if, for some reason, you can’t quite get into your own groove, the problem isn’t you. It’s that you’ve been taught to believe that good habits are one-size-fits-all.
A healthy habit isn’t about forcing behaviors, but rather honoring your internal rhythms and natural patterns. In other words: While waking up at 6 a.m. to exercise is energizing for some (believe it or not!), it doesn’t benefit everyone.
So, the question becomes, how do you create better habits that are meaningful—and which you can meaningfully stick with? The answer may be within your Enneagram type. (If you don’t know your type, you can take the official Riso-Hudson Enneagram test online for $12. There are also free tests online, but these are unofficial.) Know your type and ready to start some more effective habits? Read on to find out.
Type 1, The Reformer: Avoid habits that require strict schedules
Because you’re self-disciplined and strive for improvement, creating good habits is something that excites you. However, you of all types, should avoid attaching yourself to a rigid schedule. Your inner critic shows up when you don’t do things “the right way,” so giving yourself a loose structure will help you calm that perfectionistic voice in your head. You might want to try “scheduling in” free time dedicated to doing whatever brings you joy without having an expectation—that can be reading, painting, or taking a new route on your daily walk. Belly breaths, unclenching your jaw, and tuning into your body are a few more simple habits to release tension and tune into the present.
Type 2, The Helper: Check in regularly with how you’re really feeling
You are generous and compassionate, often putting your focus on others. What would it be like to put yourself first? Repressing your own needs and desires might serve as a defense mechanism to maintain a likeable and helpful image, but when you put it into perspective, you cannot fully show up as yourself like this.
When you feel compelled to help or check in with someone, check in with yourself first, as there might be a deeper motivation behind wanting to do so. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” Let go of shame you may feel around your “messy” emotions, and allow yourself to sit with it—because that’s where your real needs will be revealed.
Type 3, The Achiever: Start thinking about your productivity in terms of impact, not results
You are ambitious, goal-oriented, and for you, the #hustle really never stops. Because you want to prove your worth, you take on many things that may not always be in alignment—but when you focus on impact over traditional productivity, you will create your own definition of success.
Good habits for you are measured by what you learn and experience, rather than a specific goal or outcome. For example, instead of committing to reading two books a month, carry a book in your bag that you pick up when feeling inspired. Or, instead of eating lunch hunched over your computer to keep up with your emails, take a walk and reflect on what to prioritize. When you connect to yourself without the pressure of “doing,” that’s where the clarity comes.
Type 4, The Individualist: Set the mood for productivity by creating a beautiful workspace
You are creative, individualistic, and seek authenticity in everything that you do. While you love the idea of a beautifully-orchestrated routine, the “doing” part is hard when it feels overwhelming or you don’t see the value. Your feelings drive everything you do, so building habits with meaning attached is key.
Set the mood for your day or what you want to accomplish by creating an aesthetically-driven workspace. That could be lighting a candle or cleansing the energy with some palo santo. It could also be preparing a warm beverage or healthy snack to have on hand while you work. Or, perhaps you break out your best colored pens and notebooks. When you associate positive things you love with productivity, you will find depth and meaning to carry out what you set your mind to.
Type 5, The Investigator: Connect with others to get outside your own mind
You are insightful, curious, and have a rich inner world. Alone time is important to you, because it helps you explore your imagination and avoid feeling drained. If you’re looking to balance that solo work by getting out of your head and connecting with others, you might fear being overwhelmed or extra protective of your time. However, connection with others is what really expands your heart and mind.
You don’t need to force yourself into being the world’s most social butterfly. Instead of FaceTiming friends every day, try taking simple, small actions. Maybe it’s commenting on an Instagram post of someone you admire or complimenting a stranger while in line for coffee. Perhaps it’s sharing your knowledge about something you’re passionate about. While you tend to bottle everything in, engaging in the smallest ways helps you grow and gain more confidence.
Type 6, The Loyalist: Make “a worry” appointment” to explore your fears deeper
You are alert, detail-oriented, and always steps ahead. Because you’re prone to worry, you tend to operate in “fear-mode” where you’re always preparing for the worst. You may have tried strategies to calm your anxiety, except for talking to your anxiety itself.
Block out 20-30 minutes in your day, week, or whenever you see fit to schedule a “worry appointment” with yourself. This is where you give yourself permission to explore all your doubts by writing them down and strategizing what you can do. “But why do I want to spend time with my worries?,” you may ask.Research shows that naming your fears helps trivialize them—remember, you are in control, not your thoughts.
Type 7, The Enthusiast: Dedicate time to one task
You carry a positive presence wherever you go and want to experience life to the fullest. FOMO is a familiar feeling for you—you want to do everything which leads to spreading yourself thin or always anticipating the next best thing. For you, habits are about creating variety so you don’t get bored. That being said, instead of trying to do everything all at once, block out time dedicated to one specific task that you commit to for the time limit you set. That could be putting pen to paper for an idea brainstorm, reading a book about a topic you love, or doing that one thing you’ve been putting off. Try to minimize your distractions to fully ground yourself in the present rather than planning ahead to the next task block on your to-do list.
Type 8, The Challenger: Connect to your body with slow stretches
You are energetic, and know exactly what you want. Because you have big plans and bigger goals, you tend to be all-or-nothing to the point of being excessive in what you do. For you, healthy habits are about mindful movements. This could be stretching first thing when you wake up or taking walks throughout your day to bring awareness back into your body.
Being more moderate and rhythmic in your self-care will help you create balance, become less reactive, and help you feel more in control over your environment. Try 10 minutes of slow stretches daily in a comfortable place where you hold your positions for 15-30 seconds. Throughout your practice, engage in simple yoga breathing where you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This will help you slow down your impulses while also help you connect with your physical presence.
Type 9, The Peacemaker: Make one decision daily—however big or small
You have a calm demeanor that naturally makes others feel comfortable around you. Above all, you desire inner peace and will do whatever it takes to maintain this—including merging with the opinions and preferences of others. Whether you’re unaware of what you want or avoid expressing your needs to avoid conflict, a good habit for you is to practice taking a stand. This can be something as small as deciding what you order for dinner or choosing to wake up a little earlier to make breakfast. Or, it can be bigger such as voicing your opinion on something political or addressing a hurtful comment from someone. When you tap into your decisiveness, clarity around who you are and what you want follows.