How to Change Your Image

Three Parts:Zeroing in on a New ImageChanging Your HabitsEmbodying Your New Image

Everyone views themselves a certain way, but the way everyone else sees you may not match up. If you’re no longer satisfied with the version of yourself that you show to other people, it may be time to alter your public image. Changing your image isn’t about overriding who you are as a person, but embracing certain values and characteristics and making them part of the behavior that you project outwardly. To start, all you need to do is recognize the traits that you want to develop, work on modifying your habits and update your look to reflect your new sense of self.

Part 1
Zeroing in on a New Image

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    Think about the way people see you now. Before you can come up with the right new image, put some thought into the image other people have of you now. What kind of things do people tend to say about you? What are some of your best qualities, according to your friends? Reflect on your many interactions and how others often regard you. Identifying your existing image is the first step to making a gradual shift.[1]
    • Put yourself in the position of an outside observer and think about your role amongst your friends and family. Are you the shy one that’s hesitant to come out of your shell? The loud, boisterous joker? Examining yourself in these terms can help you target which parts of yourself you want to work on.[2]
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    Paint a picture in your mind of how you want to be seen. You’re on a quest for a new image, but what should it be, exactly? Decide what characteristics you want people to associate you with. You might wish to be admired for your bravery and stoicism like your favorite adventure hero, channel the sensuality of a fashion icon or give off the class and sophistication of a classic movie star. Think about what your idols are like and how you can tailor your public appearance to be more like them.[3]
    • Start small. Obviously it’s impossible to become an entrepreneurial success or a beloved socialite overnight. Begin with the basic personality traits you wish to have and make room for them in your life.
    • Choose your new image carefully. It should still be in line with your personal values and beliefs.
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    Iron out your less desirable characteristics. Your image is largely the result of the parts of your behavior that you put on display. Therefore, changing yourself in other people's eyes will require you to make your good qualities more obvious while working to minimize your negative ones. Think about a certain aspect of your character that someone has taken issue with in the past and make a note to yourself to amend behaviors that others find off-putting. If you often find yourself getting defensive and becoming argumentative in disputes, for instance, make an effort to keep a level head and acknowledge the opinions of others. After a while, people will pick up on these behavioral differences and begin to view you in a new light.[4]
    • Figure out what you've done to earn a tarnished image and try to do the opposite. If people think you're hard to talk to, practice your conversational skills; if you're often seen as cold or insensitive, go out of your way to show more concern for those around you, etc.
    • Everyone has room for improvement in their interpersonal habits and characteristics, even those commonly perceived as being "nice."
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    Set goals for yourself. Come up with a projection of how you’d like to change the way people view you in a week, two weeks, a month, a year, etc. Focus on becoming more outgoing, or make a resolution to keep your cool in stressful situations, one day at a time. Keep your goals and progress written down in a notebook to serve as a reminder to exhibit the characteristics you’re trying to develop.[5]
    • No matter what your long-term goals are, always think day-to-day. It can be very helpful to simply say “Today, I will be more generous and caring” at the start of each day.[6]
    • Try to exercise your desired trait in different circumstances in your everyday life. Eventually, it will become an ingrained part of your personality.

Part 2
Changing Your Habits

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    Hang out with different people. The thoughts and actions of the people we choose to spend our time with have a great impact on our own. If you think the company you keep might be playing a part in being negatively received by others, it may be time to make new friends. Look to become friends with individuals who have good images themselves, and reflect on what you and other people like about them. Too often, your social circles come to think of you a certain way and expect a certain type of behavior from you. It can make it difficult to shatter your current image if you feel locked into it.[7]
    • You don't have to completely abandon your old friends. Just make room in your life for people with the kinds of qualities you want to have.[8]
    • Hanging around new people can also give you a fresh chance to make a good first impression, helping you settle into your new image right off the bat. Once people begin seeing and treating you a certain way, it can be easier for you to see yourself that way, too.
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    Correct the repercussions of your bad image. There are those might not want to give the new you a chance if they think you haven't turned over a new leaf. That's why it's important to take the first steps in changing people's minds about you. Rectify as many cases of bad behavior from the past as you can. Offer sincere apologies to people you've offended, resume friendships that were ended over petty disagreements, and erase any gossipy or vindictive posts from social media that might make you look spiteful. Your detractors will be more willing to accept a change in your image if they see that you're making a real effort.[9]
    • Always be the first to apologize, even if you weren't really at fault. It shows that you value your relationships more than being right.[10]
    • With a clear conscience, you'll be in a better position to move forward in constructing a new image.
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    Change the way you think about yourself. Before you can overhaul your image with others, you have to be able to accept your own self-image. Do this by changing the internal language that you use. Take into account the traits you want to have and start thinking about yourself in those terms. For instance, if you’re use to thinking “I’m not sure I can do this” when confronted with difficult tasks, and you want your new image to be that of a strong, self-assured leader, start telling yourself “I’ve got this, and if I fail at least I gave it my best shot.” Your actions will follow the same course as your thoughts.[11]
    • It can be daunting to make such a big change, but remember that many of your thoughts and characteristics are formed through behavioral patterns and can be relearned with enough conditioning.
    • Changing your external image starts with changing your internal attitude.
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    Be conscious of the way you’re acting. Take account of your actions to make sure that you’re being the kind of person you want to be seen as. Remind yourself of the goals you set and the traits you’re trying to promote. Modifying your image can be a long, repetitive process of making small corrections to your behavior until they become second nature. You’ll find yourself gradually becoming more comfortable with yourself as you evolve.[12]
    • Audit your behavior constantly. Keep in mind the way you want to come across and choose your words and actions accordingly.
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    Try to work on one aspect of yourself at a time. Don’t try to do too much at once. If you've always been the shy, quiet type, there’s no use in trying to immediately transform yourself into the life of the party. Pick one or two characteristics you want to tweak and give those your attention. Once you’ve changed your patterns of thought and behavior, you can use this progress to guide yourself toward bigger, more substantive changes.[13]
    • Be patient. It can be disheartening to feel like people aren’t seeing you the way you want to be seen, but changing your image just takes time.
    • Reward yourself for small successes. Practice positive thinking by encouraging yourself whenever you break a bad habit, or react to something in a way your old self wouldn’t have.
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    Make sure others notice the change. Though changing your image is mostly about altering the way you view and carry yourself, it’s other people that witness the image you put forth. Make sure they notice the development you’ve undergone. Let your new practiced characteristics be the ones you use to interact with those around you. With time, they’ll come to stop thinking of you the way they always have and get used to the new you.[14]
    • Since no one can read your thoughts, a change of image means a change in the ways you act and react toward other people. Be mindful of the way you want to come across when presenting your new image.

Part 3
Embodying Your New Image

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    Update your appearance. Like it or not, the way you feel about yourself, and the way others view you, is closely linked to how you look. When searching for a new image, make clothing and style choices that reflect the attitude you’re trying to display. For example, wearing dark clothing can help you give off an edgier, more confident image if you’re used to wearing brightly colored clothes, or you might simply take the slouch out of your posture, smile and look people in the eye to get the message across that you’re socially at ease.[15]
    • Wear clothes that accentuate your new outlook. Take chances. Sometimes, a new wardrobe is all it takes for people to start looking at you differently.[16]
    • Body language is every bit as important for making a good impression as clothing, grooming, makeup and other accessories. In fact, your body language speaks more about your inward personality than the way you dress yourself.[17]
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    Project your desired characteristics. Use your new look to advertise your new image. Getting your appearance in order will give you the confidence to implement your new character traits and help you feel more like the person you want other people to see. Let your new clothes, style or body language serve as cues to remind you how to carry yourself. Think of your appearance as a kind of uniform that represents your desired image.[18]
    • Take some time to fix your appearance before dealing with people, even if it’s just to practice smiling or keeping an inviting stance. This can make you feel more self-assured.
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    Treat others the way you wish to be treated. This could also be written "treat others the way you wish to be seen." The "Golden Rule" is an age-old adage, but it's one that's easy to forget when you're too wrapped up in your own perceptions. If everyone else doesn't seem to be viewing you the way you'd like, it may be a reflection of your actions. Make sure you're living up to the standards you've set for your new image. Remember that people form their impressions of you based on what you show them.[19]
    • Your reputation with others often acts as a kind of mirror for the way you're living.
    • Being more conscientious about how you treat people will not only help you improve your standing but bring you personal satisfaction.[20]
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    Stay true to yourself. Making changes to your image is not the same as acting like someone you’re not. There’s no sense in acting differently if you’re not being yourself. Be yourself and listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, even if you want it to be part of your new image. Rather than ignoring who you are at heart, your new image should be sincere, refined by the addition of characteristics and values that you admire. It’s about becoming a better version of yourself and putting that on display to the world, not fabricating a fake persona.[21]
    • Your new image should be authentic in the sense that you act in a way that is consistent with your true feelings.
    • Acting like somebody you’re not can be emotionally exhausting and leave you feeling dissatisfied with yourself and your relationships.[22]
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    Be bold. Change is intimidating, but it can be very empowering. Don’t give in to self-consciousness or be afraid of being different. Take pride in being honest and trying something new. Get excited about making positive adjustments to your life. Determination and persistence are necessities for becoming the person you want to be. You have a chance to let people see you in a whole new light—take it![23]
    • Starting small, being sincere and doing a little at a time is key to gaining confidence in your new image.


  • You're not locked into being the person people take you for. Anyone can change at any time. All it takes is willpower and a little confidence.
  • Consider the reasons you have for wanting to change your image. If it's just to fit in or get people to like you, it may not be worth it.
  • Stay focused on the parts of yourself you want to show when interacting with people.
  • Don't expect people to start looking at you differently right away. It may take some time for others to notice the changes you make in your look or personality.


  • The way you treat other people has consequences. Keep this in mind when putting your new image into practice.
  • Never act in a way that goes against your personal beliefs.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Looking Good & Makeovers