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How Does Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type Affect Your Level of Motivation? (And What to do About It)
Overview of Myers-Briggs
Different things motivate different people. While relationships may motivate one person more than anything else, another person may be driven by truth, external affirmations, tangible results, or any one or more other internal and external motivators.
Everyone has a personality type that informs their decisions and basically shapes how they do things. Most importantly, though, is that for every personality type there are key principles that help each type understand their own unique self-motivation traps and tools, and no one personality type is any better than any other.
After working with many, many types of clients over the years, we realized that personality type plays a role in their health journey and workouts, and that we, as Certified Professional Trainers, could better help our clients achieve their fitness goals if they—and us—understood their basic personality type and what motivated, and what discouraged, each of them.Our goal at McCartyFit is to help YOU build a more fit and healthy YOU
and our unique style of Friendly Fitness Help is how we do it!
To get valuable insights into your motivating factors and to make positive, consistent changes in all areas of your life, including health and fitness, we’ve found it’s helpful to understand one of the oldest and most widely used personality classification systems – The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator.
The indicator derives its name from the developers – Isabel Myers and Katherine Briggs (daughter and mother) – and has its foundations in the work of Swiss psychiatrist & psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Myers and Briggs were intrigued by Jung’s theory of personality types and proposed to find real-world applications, marking the birth of the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)–an inventory that determines a person’s personality type based on answers to certain questions.
According to the MBTI, each of us are one of sixteen personality types which is determined based on our likes, dislikes, “weaknesses”, “strengths”, career preference, and social compatibility. However, no individual personality is better than the other (we’re going to stress this again and again).
The aim of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is to give people more insights about themselves, as opposed to looking for dysfunctions, with the basic premise that if we know our tendencies, our inherent “strengths and weaknesses” then we can better navigate the world and achieve more positive results for ourselves, and those we interact with.
Myers-Briggs Personality Type Scales
Extroversion (E) – Introversion (I)
This scale is derived from well-known terms (extrovert and introvert). While some people may have hints of both (and we all do, situation dependent), we are either primarily extroverted or introverted. It’s all about how we get our energy. Extroverts tend to be energized by social interactions while introverts prefer spending a majority of their time alone or with select individuals. As an interesting aside, it’s been reported that Jung preferred to use an “A” instead of an “O” when spelling “Extravert” and “Extraversion”, but the use of “O” is fairly common in modern use.
Sensing (S) – Intuition (N)
This scale is about how we gather information. Some people are intuitive while others sense situations. Like extraversion and introversion, people tend to either use sensing or intuition more predominantly.
If you gather information through sensing, then you are bound to pay attention to reality and the facts and details that come with it. If you gather information through intuition, you tend to focus more on patterns and impressions, possibilities, imagination, and abstract theories.
Thinking (T) – Feeling (F)
This scale is based on information gathered through sensing or intuition. If you prefer thinking, you focus more on facts and logic when making decisions. If you prefer feeling, you focus on emotion and people when making decisions.
Judging (J) – Perceiving (P)
The fourth and final scale is about how you deal with the world. If you love firm decisions and structure, you lean towards judging. Those who lean towards perceiving are more flexible, open, and adaptable.
The four scales above result in 16 personality types with unique qualities. Here’s how each personality type affects your level of motivation and what you can do about it in regards to your health and fitness journey.
Friend to her team and her clients.
How Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type Affects Your Level of Motivation and What to do About It
1. ISTJ – (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking & Judging)
If you are an ISTJ, you are organized, practical, and dependable. You also tend to be extremely logical when making decisions. You rely more on factual information when making informed decisions and are most likely to adhere to rules and procedures. You are motivated by doing things by the book so what will help you the most is a solid, fact-based, empirically proven health and fitness plan with clearly defined actions and steps to follow. Your attention to detail, strong planning skills, and commitment will help you remain motivated to complete any goals you set.
To counter potentially negative ISTJ traits such as the need to be right and difficulty thinking outside the box, it’s important to have professional health and fitness guidance. You don’t know what you don’t know, so educating yourself and using professional guidance to help you determine what is important and what is not will go a long way towards helping you achieve your wellness goals.
If you do decide to work with a personal trainer, you’ll get the benefit of receiving thorough explanations and your personal knowledge of exercise will grow, which is quite appealing to this personality type. You will likely work well with a gentle, but firm, very knowledgeable trainer, and probably less well with an intense, loud training advisor.
If you prefer to do your own research, be sure you’re listening to credible sources.
Either way, acquiring exercise science knowledge will give you the confidence you need to successfully perform in the gym or exercise on your own.
2. ISFJ – (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling & Judging)
ISFJs are caring and warm people who love to assist others. If you are an ISFJ, you value relationships and take time to nurture connections with people you care about. You are motivated by helping others, so it’s important to align your health and fitness goals with outcomes beyond you. For instance, every time you find it hard to stick to your workout routine, remind yourself you are getting healthy for your family.
To counter likely negative ISFJ traits like difficulty accepting change, it’s crucial to associate your health and fitness journey to mean more energy to provide for your family. Remember, keep your reasons beyond personal gain foremost in your mind, and you’ll very likely get the fitness results you’re looking for.
Exercise for you is very psychologically throttled–meaning you generally have to be in a good mental space in order to even work out or maximize a workout, so do all within your means to maintain that mental space.
Should you want to work with a trainer, seek out an empathetic one that takes time to deeply understand your needs and goals–all of your goals, not just the ones for the gym–and takes a holistic approach.
But also remember how much exercise benefits your state of mind. It’s a loop, a cycle. Working out improves your mental state, but being in a bad mental state makes you want to not work out, so be as consistent as possible to fuel your physical and psychological growth.
Find a type of exercise that makes you feel good inside and out. An activity that is non-competitive, less intense, and conducted in a supportive environment. If you have extra time, consider volunteering in an active environment where you are motivated by helping other people. Picking up trash in the community, helping less abled children learn to swim, volunteering for a community home building organization, coaching a youth sports team, etc. The list goes on, so explore local opportunities to be physically active and help someone else.
3. INFJ – (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling & Judging)
INFJs are driven by the desire to do good and make the world better. If you are an INFJ, you probably have strong values and empathy. You can also “read” and understand people quite well, even if you never let others in on your understanding. INFJs are great listeners and verbal communicators with a desire to help others.
To stay motivated, it helps to treat health and fitness as something that contributes to the greater good. For instance, attaching a diet (i.e., plant-based diet) as a diet that not only does wonders for your health but also reduces animal cruelty and harmful meat-industry practices globally can raise your workout motivation levels.
Potentially negative INFJ traits like over-dedication that result in burnouts emphasize why INFJs need to take fitness and overall health and wellness seriously.
Pay attention to your social energy level and choose your workout type accordingly. Some days might look like a run by yourself. Other days, you may crave companionship, so chose a workout with a friend or small fitness class. Some days you want to be around people, but not necessarily speak to them – visit the gym with headphones and zone out.
If fitness is not one of your passions, try seeking out a personal trainer with strong intuition, empathy, and is a good listener. One that is kind and understanding, not too intense of a personality, but knows how to connect and motivate you. Find an activity that you are passionate about, so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
4. INTJ – (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking & Judging)
INTJs are confident perfectionists. They use logic and reason when solving complex problems and love sharing information, which can sometimes be mistaken for arrogance. If you are an INTJ, you’ll work tirelessly to ensure you do the best you can.
You can understand complex information and work independently. INTJs shouldn’t have a problem searching internally for motivation in regards to any goals, including health and wellness. However, be aware of your perceived negative traits, such as having a hard time accepting criticism, as this can keep you from reaching your full health and fitness potential.
If a trainer corrects your form, it is not a criticism of you. Give yourself grace; you’re learning. We rarely ever get things right the first time. Harness that perfectionism and double down on learning correct form, and the payoff, in time, will be excellence.
Educate yourself as much as possible before entering the gym. Do some research to appreciate the science behind exercise. When you know the “hows”, you find your own “whys.”
Choose an environment that supports little to no socialization and choose individual workouts that allow you some time for yourself.
For guidance, seek out a personal trainer that is more introverted and gets to the point, with little small talk, yet someone with good intuition, intelligence, and is educated with a thorough background in their field. Ask them to teach you during the workout, to allow you independence and solo workouts. They may be able to write you workouts that you can do on your own in the gym.
5. ISTP – (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking & Perceiving)
ISTPs are problem solvers by nature. They love analyzing things and finding solutions to difficult problems. As an ISTP, you are motivated by goals. To keep yourself truly motivated to achieve something i.e., a workout goal, you should consider making it a bit hard or beyond the reach of many. Since you are a worker by nature, you shouldn’t have problems figuring out how to achieve your health and fitness goals.
However, be wary of poor planning skills common among ISTPs that may make it difficult to consistently pursue goals with deadlines. ISTPs are prone to boredom if they aren’t mentally stimulated. In such a case instance, it may be good to switch up routines that achieve the same results.
Know your workout and the specific benefits before you start. Your exercises should have a purpose. Establish meaningful, specific goals and revisit them often, recording data, body weight, blood pressure readings, etc. to track your progress. Let these numbers motivate you by setting specific data goals to reach by a specific time.
If you are unsure what you should be doing, look into hiring a professional. Seek out a trainer that is motivated and excels in motivating. A professional that constantly strives to be better in both their profession and personal life.
Remember, you’re fueled by reaching further than most other people around you. Find that personal solution that helps you stretch further and further, while you get fitter and fitter.
6. ISFP – (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling & Perceiving)
ISFPs are motivated by uniqueness. They love going against expectations and traditions. They may be extroverted in a way but still have introverted tendencies. If you are an ISFP trying to stay motivated to attain certain health and fitness goals, your desire for high-quality work and going against expectations should motivate you to pursue any health and wellness goal, so how can you create one that goes against expectations?
Since ISFPs are highly competitive, it would be great having a health and wellness partner or group that offers health competition. There are tons of apps and websites that let you log your activities and compare them to others. Find your place on your groups leaderboard, and you’ll stay in the game and reach your goals.
Try a fun, exciting activity, something new and uncommon. If your peers are doing it, you probably aren’t interested. What could you do that few in your area are doing to excel and stay fit?
Martial Arts (MMA, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Karate), extreme winter sports, roller skating–or even better, roller derby–kayaking, rock climbing, etc. may spark an interest in you. Exciting solo activities that are competitive will be what gets you and keeps you active and engaged. Activities that allow you to set a goal along the way will help even more in keeping you motivated.
7. INFP – (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling & Perceiving)
INFPs are ISFPs in a way since they also desire uniqueness. However, they are also altruistic and idealistic. They manifest authenticity by being non-judgmental and accepting people as they are. As an INFP, you have no problem seeing the good in anyone. This trait may make it hard to take criticism. INFPs may not see anything wrong with their current health and wellness state making it hard to stay motivated.
To increase motivation, it’s important to attach health and wellness goals with a deeper meaning that goes behind a good physique. Since INFPs are inquisitive in nature, researching in-depth on health and wellness can be a source of motivation and give goals deeper meaning. Knowing the “hows” and “whys” of being fit will help you push harder to reach the objectives you’ve set for yourself.
A positive, uplifting environment will make you want to come back, whether that is with a trainer or in a fitness class. Seek out a sweet and empathetic trainer for individual personal training.
Your intuition will tell you by the end of the first individual session or group fitness class if they are kind people who support one another. If classes aren’t your thing, try working out with a good friend.
8. INTP – (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking & Perceiving)
INTPs are logical and philosophical. They enjoy complicated theories and tend to be inquisitive and precise. An INTP will motivate themselves to change if they find genuine fault. They can test their beliefs logically and make clear arguments. Their willingness to do research and apply imaginative thinking makes it easy to motivate them with facts. Gauging your health and wellness progress with facts can be a great motivator for an INTP.
However, it’s important to be aware of possible negative INTP traits such as an inability to “read” people’s feelings, which can be translated as stubbornness or absentmindedness when working with health and wellness experts such as personal trainers. Know that your trainer believes in you and is trying to help you achieve the agreed upon goals, so it is likely their more advanced learning in this one particular area of your life is actually correct and you are encouraged to give them the benefit of the doubt.
If you are interested in professional guidance, choose individual personal training or online training. You want and will excel with something tailored just for you.
Seek out a trainer that is willing to educate you during the workout. You want to know the why so find someone who will always give you the why, and someone who is constantly improving their own level of professional knowledge, someone who stays on top of the latest exercise science.
9. ESTP – (Extroversion, Sensing, Thinking & Perceiving)
If you think you are an ESTP, you are playful and thrive in a fast-paced environment. You tend to seek excitement, so it helps to make the process of achieving your health and wellness goals as exciting as possible. Since you enjoy working with others, you should focus on a group-oriented health and wellness strategy to stay motivated.
However, since ESTPs don’t handle criticism or follow rules as well as some other personality types, understanding these likely tendencies is critical to seeing the “big picture” in the midst of perceived criticism or burdensome “rules.”
You will thrive in exciting, competitive environments that allow you to continuously strive to achieve more. Challenge yourself by surrounding yourself with others that are faster and stronger to push you even further.
Seek out high-energy, extroverted fitness professionals.
10. ESFP – (Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling & Perceiving)
ESFPs are spontaneous and will jump on unexpected projects without thinking twice. They are also loving and charming. ESFPs also stand out for having an active learning style. They are “doers” and enjoy trying out things outside the comfort zone, which is precisely who you need to attain health and fitness goals. Provided the fitness goals involve other people, keep changing and/or are a mixture of fun and exciting programs, ESFPs will stay motivated.
Since ESFPs hate being overshadowed and may take criticism personally, it’s important to avoid highly competitive environments that are demotivating. Have fun, stretch beyond your current capabilities, and try something new on a regular basis and you’ll likely stay motivated for the long haul and have a rewarding, healthy life.
Try a new and exciting form of exercise alone at first, so you don’t have to worry about other people seeing you struggle with it. But it will be something you’ll eventually get proficient in and one that you will enjoy, you just enjoy other people seeing you do something not well at first.
Group fitness classes are really great for you, because they are supportive and not overly competitive, and are a great way to start learning something new without being judged. And you’ll get the bonus of being able to practice these new skills at home when no one is looking. Also, group classes have a high level of variety in their exercises, which will keep things fresh for you.
11. ENFP – (Extroversion, Intuition, Feeling & Perceiving)
If you are an ENFP, you love connecting, entertaining, and motivating people. Additionally, ENFPs can understand almost everyone. They are also creative, enthusiastic, and ready to enjoy new experiences. Mixing serious goals with opportunities to make new connections is highly motivating. There are likely groups nearby focused on health where you can exercise together and make new friends. Find them. Join them.
However, ENFPs should be conscious of some possible unflattering tendencies, like a short attention span and a likelihood to be overwhelmed easily. To counter such traits, set small achievable goals that are relatively easy to attain. Then, make progress, achieve that one small goal, then pick a new one. Rinse and repeat.
Try high-intensity group fitness classes with upbeat music and fun, welcoming instructors and participants, or a small group training with friends. Virtual classes really work well, too, because you’re not truly alone and are still working out with others. You’ll enjoy a variety of exercise classes, so try a bunch of different ones.
12. ENTP – (Extroversion, Intuition, Thinking & Perceiving)
ENTPs are resourceful and clever with a keen interest in finding ingenious answers to what life throws their way. ENTPs will pursue their goals relentlessly regardless of the challenges. If you qualify as an ENTP, you shouldn’t have a problem motivating yourself, provided you set your own health and wellness goals. However, beware of your ability to become bored, dismissive towards others, and argumentative.
Make sure you know your “why.” Determine what drives you. It must be an important reason, a reason that is deep and meaningful, such as adding years to your life to spend more time with your grandchildren.
Set S.M.A.R.T. goals:
Make sure that you always have something that you are working towards. Don’t let yourself get stuck in the same workout routine and same group of exercises. Mix up your fitness with new ideas – vary up your exercises, test out a new class, try martial arts, hiking, mud run races! Keep yourself challenged!
Try individual personal training if you’re looking for that one-on-one assistance.
13. ESTJ – (Extroversion, Sensing, Thinking & Judging)
ESTJs are natural leaders with an ability to mobilize people behind them. They rely on facts and love rules and standards. ESTJs also have a great work ethic. Their desire to inspire others makes it easy for them to set personal goals and follow through them. Be the change you want to be, as they say, and you’ll not only help yourself, you’ll help other in the process.
However, ESTJs tend to be rigid and are prone to burnouts so create reasonable or flexible goals to stay motivated. Be open to new ideas, then galvanize yourself and others towards reaching that goal.
Find a group of people who are committed to similar fitness goals as you who meet regularly. Even better if the group is training for something specifically – obstacle course races, triathlon, 5k, half marathon, marathon, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, weightlifting.
14. ESFJ – (Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling & Judging)
ESFJs are similar to ENFPs in that they love people. They understand people’s feelings with ease and love creating harmony. Since ESFJs are motivated by other people, it helps to attach goals to other people or loved ones. Pursuing health and fitness goals alongside friends or loved ones is a great way for an ESFJ to stay motivated.
However, ESFJs may be unable to take constructive criticism, try new things, or see other people’s views, despite having a deep love for interacting with others. So find yourself an accountability partner (or two, or three) and get at it together. You’ll all be glad you did.
Group Fitness classes are an excellent choice for you!!! Working out with others with the same goals inspires you all day long. Find those classes and those people. See if a friend or loved one would be interested in trying a group fitness class with you to meet more people that you both can connect with!
Or maybe try out a personal trainer for partner training with a friend or family member, and you’ll not only split the cost, you and your friend will enjoy learning and getting more fit together.
15. ENFJ – (Extroversion, Intuition, Feeling & Judging)
ESTJs and ENFJs are natural leaders. However, ENFJs tend to value creativity. Learning is important to you if you are an ENFJ. You also love taking roles that help and/or inspire others. ENFJs are motivated by improving others and the environment.
However, in ENFJs’ plight to help others, they tend to neglect themselves. Pursuing health and fitness goals with this in mind is important for staying motivated. For instance, ENFJs should focus on group goals instead of individual ones to avoid self-neglect. If it helps your group, you’ll feel better, and you’ll get the benefit of improving your health while helping others improve theirs.
A positive and supportive environment where people cheer one another on will encourage you to do your best. Group fitness classes, activity-specific fitness programs (like boxing), small group personal training, and simple workouts with a friend are all excellent choices for you.
Consider starting a running or fitness group with your friends or join an existing meetup group because you thrive when you exercise with a group that motivates and supports one another to keep coming back.
16. ENTJ – (Extroversion, Intuition, Thinking & Judging)
ENTJs love challenges. They can coordinate tasks as well as make decisions easily, making them great leaders. Coupled with a good work ethic, ENTJs are unstoppable when they set any kind of goals. Since ENTJs love team building tasks, health and fitness goals should be set with a group setting in mind.
However, as an ENTJ, you should be aware of potential negatively perceived attributes such as impatience and a strong personality that can be mistaken for arrogance.
Your most enticing environment would be a higher level fitness program (Bootcamp, Boxing Program). Any kind of high intensity group workout would keep you coming back consistently.
Select a workout that offers a challenging and competitive environment with high energy. The optimum group size for you is 4-15 participants, offering an environment with a little more individualized attention and other people to workout with.
MBTI & Motivation Wrap Up
There you go, folks! From the above Myers Briggs 16 personality types, you shouldn’t have a problem identifying your personality type, knowing what motivates you and what you can do to boost your motivation levels when pursuing health and wellness goals.
Most importantly, though, please remember there is no one personality type that’s better or worse than another, and all of us are capable of achieving our goals.
The above information should be used as a starting point for better understanding ourselves and improving or maintaining our exercise motivation. Please reach out if we can be of assistance.We serve our clients. We honor their desires, their time.
We always strive to give them more than they’ve paid us for.
This is our promise.Which personality type are you and what do you think (or how do you feel?) about our observations and conclusions? We’d love to hear your experience, opinions, and feelings on knowing your personality type and how that can help you achieve your fitness and health goals.
Please leave a comment below and continue the discussion with us on our social media channels.