‘Whatever you’re doing, do the very best that you can,’ is what my father has preached my entire life. After I’d hop out of the car for school, he would yell it out the window. When I got my first job, he used it as the staple of his guiding words. Even if I was just going to help a friend move or play a pick-up game of soccer, he was sure to remind me of this important ideation. My dad has built his life around doing what is right and doing it well. And he does his very best to pass this redeeming quality onto his kids as well.
This redeeming quality is otherwise known as conscientiousness, one of the Big Five personality traits, which is characterized by one’s drive to do what is right and put their all into everything they do, especially their work or duty. Conscientiousness plays a key role in whether an individual sets and prioritizes long-term goals, values obligations, and makes smart decisions. Those who possess this quality are often very successful due to their hard work and determination. But what about those who don’t possess this rewarding quality? That’s right, this quality is not innate in all people. And those who weren’t born with or taught the power of conscientiousness may be lazy, indifferent, or careless instead.
Characteristics of a Conscientious Person
If the following predicaments and descriptions resonate with you, it’s safe to say that you’re probably a very conscientious individual:
1) If it’s not organized, you’re not okay.
You keep every single aspect of your life organized, from your work to your emails to your fridge. This allows you to optimize on time and also lead a much more stress-free life that enables you to focus on what’s important to you.
2) You have to get your stuff done.
One of the main identifiers of conscientiousness is one’s concern with getting something done and doing it to the best of their abilities. So if you’re the kind of person that can’t even think about sleeping until the laundry’s done, the dishes are clean, and you had an overall productive day, then chances are you’re a pretty conscientious person.
3) Self-discipline is your middle name.
Are you capable of committing yourself to achieve a goal? For example, let’s say that you’ve signed up for a marathon that takes place in a couple of months. Do you stick to that commitment and do whatever it takes to prepare for the run? People who demonstrate self-discipline of the like are typically also very conscientious.
4) You give nothing short of your best.
Not only are you sure to accomplish your short and long-term goals, but you ensure that the final product is the best it could possibly be. That means you put your heart into everything you do and are committed to delivering excellent work.
5) You think things through.
Conscientious people are the last people to do something on a whim. Instead, they think all of their decisions through, they weigh the pros and the cons, they understand the difference between what they want and what they need, and only then do they act.
6) You’re successful.
It should come as no surprise that conscientious individuals are successful, considering all of the time they spend planning, setting goals, working toward their goals, and ensuring they make the right decisions. If you refuse to accept anything but success and triumph in life, then you possess the great quality that is conscientiousness.
The Subsequent Benefits of Being Conscientious
There are obvious benefits that come with being conscientious, such as the ability to more easily achieve one’s goals due to self-discipline and determination. But there are additional benefits that are certainly worth noting as they pertain to one’s health: according to Harvard Health, conscientiousness is linked most consistently to good health. One study found that those who were described as conscientious at a young age by their parents and teachers lived longer lives, while another found connections between this Big Five personality trait and lower blood pressure, lower rate of diabetes and stroke, and fewer joint problems.
Now, why are conscientious individuals also healthier individuals? Scientists say the answer is simple and obvious: they have better health habits. People who possess this quality are less likely to adopt harmful behaviors, such as smoking or heavy drinking, and more likely to take to healthy ones. But despite this blatant explanation, research is still working to understand what exact aspect of conscientiousness these individuals can thank for their healthy habits.
How You Can Become More Conscientious Too
While some people are born being conscientious, others have to work at it. If you want to be more conscientious and reap the benefits that come with this quality, following these simple suggestions will help you do so:
1. Start with setting small goals. Aim to be more organized or more focused. Making small goals and taking small steps will likely lead to greater success in adapting the ways of conscientiousness.
2. Keep yourself accountable. Keep a calendar or a planner where you can keep track of your goals and plans and keep yourself accountable when you stick to them or don’t. You’ll be more likely to stay on track and less likely to make excuses.
3. Focus on what makes you happy. People are happy when they’re serving a purpose, lending their efforts to a bigger cause, and achieving their goals. So simply understanding and focusing on what makes you happy will help you reach the ultimate goal of being more conscientious.