Is it just us, or is everyone talking about the Enneagram lately? And by “lately,” we mean the last few years of course. Maybe we’re a little slow on the uptake, because modern-day versions of the Enneagram surfaced in the 1950s.
Don’t feel bad if you’re new to the Enneagram. Just hop on the bandwagon, and discover why the “E word” will likely be popping up in conversation for years to come.
But first, what is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram of Personality (or Enneagram, for short) is a personality assessment that can have a huge impact on your life. It consists of a numbered framework that dives into the human psyche and helps you understand your natural strengths, weaknesses, and more.
It also – and this is a big one – uncovers your motivations. This is important because while two people might complete the same action, their reasons for doing it could be entirely different.
There are nine types/numbers in the Enneagram, with corresponding wings, sub-types, etc. For the purpose of this article,we’re just going to skim the surface of the Enneagram. To explore it in all of its glory would take WAY more time and space than we have today. With that said, let’s get to it!
How can you determine your Enneagram type?
You can find a variety of Enneagram tests online– some short, some long; some free, some paid. If you’re looking for a comprehensive test (as in, 144 questions long!) the Enneagram Institute is considered a gold standard in the industry and costs $12. Alternatively, you can take a free test here.
A couple of tips when taking your test:
1. Be honest when answering. Don’t put what you think you should say, but what reflects your reality.
2. Keep in mind, no self-reporting test is 100% accurate – especially if you’re not following tip #1. But given how detailed some of these tests are, you’ll be sure to walk away with some great insights.
3. When you receive your results, read them in full and take them to heart. If you’re going to immediately dismiss them, why even take the test?
Ok, so what does all this have to do with fitness?
Knowing your personality on a deeper level, as well as how you relate to others, can help you make better decisions in ALL areas of your life – including health and wellness. You’ll see what we mean below.
Now, for the juicy stuff. Meet the 9 Enneagram types.
Type 1: The Perfectionist
• You’re incredibly hard-working and detail-oriented.
• You’re always aiming higher and don’t rest until you’re at your personal best.
• You can be self-critical when you don’t meet your rigid expectations.
• When your goals start to feel unreachable, you can become your own worst enemy.
• Give yourself some grace. Learn to value your effort just as much as your results.
• Allow yourself to occasionally go “off script” in the gym and everyday life.
• Don’t beat yourself up if you sometimes veer off track from your fitness plan.
Type 2: The Helper
• You’re warm, caring, and big-hearted.
• You connect others in your social circle and are often the person that people go to for emotional support.
• You can be a push-over at the expense of helping others.
• You sometimes hesitate to speak your mind for fear of offending anyone or causing a stir.
• Make sure you’re not just taking care of everyone else in your family.
• Take time to prioritize your own self-care and admit when you need a break.
• Don’t worry so much about fitting in. Take that cardio dance class or try that new sport without caring how you’ll look!
Type 3: The Achiever
• You’re a productivity superstar who’s in their element doing ALL.THE.THINGS.
• You’re a forward-thinking action-taker who rarely procrastinates.
• You feel like you need to be successful or make a great impression all the time.
• Your competitive spirit can be off-putting and a bit intense for some.
• Remember that rest days from the gym are necessary; don’t see them as a failure.
• Encourage others in your circle to join you in fitness, but don’t bully them into it. Simply lead by example.
• Let others see the real you beyond the “game face.”
Type 4: The Romantic
• You’re highly creative, imaginative, and a big dreamer.
• You see beauty and kindness in the world around you, even when it’s not there.
• Because you’re all about big dreams, you sometimes struggle with the “doing” part of goal setting.
• You can easily get caught comparing yourself to others and feeling inferior or insecure.
• Take small, disciplined steps each day to achieve your goals.
• Set reminders in your calendar to help you stay focused.
• When trying to get fit, don’t compare your “before” to someone else’s “after.”
Type 5: The Observer
• You’re a pro at finding the skills, tools, or knowledge you need to complete tasks without depending on others.
• While you tend to be introverted and need space after socializing, you’re a great friend to those you’re close with.
• In your more private or withdrawn states, you can come across as insensitive, apathetic, or even snooty.
• You can be too focused on working your brain – often neglecting your physical, emotional, or social health.
• Use your problem-solving prowess to master new workouts, sports, or nutrition plans.
• Be open to fitness advice from others, even if it’s a different opinion than yours.
• When struggling, step out of your comfort zone and ask for help vs. isolating yourself.
Type 6: The Loyalist
• You’re a loyal, dependable person who wouldn’t think of letting anyone down.
• You’re all about letting others shine and hate being the center of attention.
• You tend to downplay your achievements, to the point where you let others overshadow you.
• You crave certainty and security and can become anxious with change.
• Lean into your dependability by offering to be someone’s workout or accountability partner.
• Recognize and step into your own Proudly share your fitness wins with others.
• Recognize that growth comes through change – whether it’s switching up your workouts, investing in a nutrition coach, or simply being open to new adventures.
Type 7: The Enthusiast
• You’re optimistic, spontaneous, and the life of the party.
• You have an infectious enthusiasm that makes others want to be around you.
• You’re routine-adverse. You bore easily with jobs, relationships, and even workouts.
• Your thirst for thrill and adventure can make it hard for you to commit to the practicalities of everyday life.
• Don’t commit to long, drawn-out programs: you’ll have a hard time sticking to them.
• Resist the urge to give up on fitness if you don’t see immediate Be willing to wait a bit for them!
• Keep your nutrition plan fresh by changing up your snacks and meals every day.
Type 8: The Challenger
• You’re a natural-born leader who stands up for your beliefs.
• You’re confident in your ability to make things happen, so you never let self-doubt or obstacles get in your way.
• Because you always speak your mind, you can come across as abrasive or confrontational.
• You tend to see things in black and white and might be too stubborn to accept other people’s opinions.
• Don’t mask your vulnerabilities by “overing” everything – i.e. over-exercising or over-indulging. (This is common for Challengers).
• Consider new ways of reaching your goals. Don’t stubbornly stick with what you’ve always done.
• Being the leader you are, offer to lead a fitness group or help others in their fitness journey.
Type 9: The Mediator
• You’re likeable, relatable, and make everyone around you feel comfortable.
• You have a way of creating calm and spreading kindness wherever you go.
• Because you see two sides to every problem, you’re prone to procrastination and can get stuck in indecision.
• You can be people-pleasing to the point of being non-confrontational or putting your own needs last.
• Don’t wait for situations to be perfect; start taking action now (whether it’s finally picking a new gym, starting a new morning routine, etc.)
• Don’t feel guilty setting aside time every week to take care of your physical health.
• Inspire others with your positivity. Complimenting someone on their results might seem like a no-brainer to you, but could have a massive impact on your recipient.
Whew! That was a lot, right? If you still want more …
Here are just a few Enneagram resources to dive into:
• The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile
• Consulting with the Enneagram by Ginger Lapid-Bogda
• The Art of Typing by Ginger Lapid-Bogda
• The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile
• The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut
Enjoy and happy test-taking!
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.