Welcome to the Battle! Join the fight to reduce or replace habits that suck.

5 Personality Traits and How They Affect Our Habits

 

Have you ever met a coworker who you just don’t get?  Or know someone that rubs you the wrong way by just being themselves? They aren’t doing anything wrong and they aren’t bad people. Their personality is just too: strong or friendly, grumpy or argumentative. Too “OCD.” Too ‘something’

Our personalities are made up from a combination of our character strengths and weaknesses—what makes us individually unique. Personalities contribute to our lives in ways we aren’t even aware of and understanding them can make work and life a little easier.

The Big Five Personality Traits

Multiple systems exist to categorize people’s personality traits. Modern psychologists tend to use the Five-Factor model (the Big Five). This system is the basis for many online personality tests and quizzes. 

Personality traits can affect people’s decisions in all sorts of ways, from their styles of communication to whether they take public transportation. This influence has popularized personality tests at high schools, universities, and the job process to determine a person’s compatibility with their future team and office culture. 


Personality traits are not a “yes” or “no”, instead they fall on a continuous distribution. For example, rather than thinking of someone as introverted or extroverted, imagine that introvert is 0 and extroverted is 100. Everyone falls somewhere in between, along a spectrum. 

Personality and Habits

Agreeableness

Agreeableness represents a person’s interest in other people’s emotions and the trust they place in others. Someone with high agreeableness might be more open to cooperative team assignments or creating cohesion in the workplace.


Benefits to Habits: 

  • Easier to reach out to teammates regarding projects.
  • Improved relationships can increase productivity. 

Issues for Habits: 

  • Being too willing to take on others’ work can take away from your own projects and work-life balance.
  • You may have trouble communicating disagreements or setbacks.

Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness accounts for a person’s impulse control and level of goal-directed behaviors. Conscientious people tend to be more organized and detail-oriented. 


Benefits to Habits: 

  • Keeping a highly organized calendar can help with the completion of projects on time and forward planning. 
  • Maintaining a calendar and tracking productivity may come easier to you, which are great leadership qualities. 

Issues for Habits: 

  • Spending too much time on planning and workflow can make starting projects difficult.
  • Focusing too heavily on qualitative results can detract from relationships with your colleagues. 
  • Low conscientiousness is the most connected personality trait to binge-watching TV. 

Extroversion

Extroversion measures your level of sociability and expressiveness. An especially extroverted person tends to gain energy in social situations and loves social events. 


Benefits to Habits: 

  • You are probably a welcoming person in the office for both new employees and colleagues you can get to know well. 
  • Utilizing your extroverted nature, you can go far in front-facing roles. 

Issues for Habits: 

  • You may have trouble breaking away from conversations or tangents. 
  • It may be difficult to relate to others who are not as outgoing as you. 

Neuroticism

Neuroticism measures how emotionally stable a person is. Those with a high level of neuroticism experience moodiness and more anxiety/ irritability. Someone with a low level of neuroticism is more emotionally resilient. 


Benefits to Habits: 

  • Low neuroticism is less connected to binge behaviors. 

Issues for Habits: 

  • Your sensitivity may make it difficult to communicate your needs or stresses.
  • It’s possible your focus on emotional interactions makes it difficult to work. 
  • May turn to binge behaviors to cope with stress and moods. There is a significant connection between low agreeableness, high neuroticism, and problematic TV binge-watching. 
  • Difficulty relaxing on their own, increasing the chances for overusing binge behaviors. 

Openness to Experience

Openness is a person’s willingness to engage with new activities and attitudes. A person who ranks high in this category might seek out work involving new research topics or experiences. They could also be open to jumping into varied projects to assist.


Benefits to Habits: 

  • You can be asked to do any task and excel at quickly adjusting to new environments.
  • It is likely joyful for you to relate to new people, so you could work in a public role with ease.

Issues for Habits: 

  • You may quickly become bored with repetition in your work. 
  • Exploring a range of topics can make it difficult to focus on anyone for long enough to build a deep specialization. 
  • May seek out and engage in binge behaviors for a thrill. 

Binge Drinking and Personality 

While there are many causes and risk factors for binge drinking, personality is now being studied as a potential endophenotype, or, “heritable quantifiable traits.” This study found that binge drinkers were lower in conscientiousness (higher in impulsivity) and higher in sensation seeking (openness). 

Personality and Dietary Habits

One study examined the connection between personality traits and eating habits of Ghanaian college students. Here’s a summary of their key findings:

  • Extraversion was positively correlated with food interest
  • Association between conscientiousness and food variety and sugar moderation 
  • Agreeableness association with food variety and skipping meals
  • Openness is associated with food interest

Another study examined the relationship between emotional eating and personality. They found that “extroversion, openness, and conscientiousness were significant predictors of

positive mood appetite, anxiety-based mood appetite, and dysphoric mood appetite.”

While these connections do not clearly discern who may be at risk for binge eating behaviors, they demonstrate how personality can influence dietary patterns. Future research may help to draw clearer conclusions about how personality may influence binge eating behaviors. 

Harnessing Your Traits

While natural tendencies play a significant role in a person's personality traits, as individuals we can choose on how to express them. We are not destined for good or bad habits based on our personality; personality traits are a complex combination of biological and environmental factors that can change over time. 

When it comes to a particular binge habit you struggle with, don’t let the idea of being too ‘something’  keep you from fighting for change and personal growth. Choose to…

Fight the Suck and planournal. 



Leave a comment