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Conscientiousness: The Full Guide to a ‘Big Five’ Personality Trait

Conscientiousness is one of the five personalities listed in the ‘Big Five’ personality traits. It sits alongside openness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism and is thought to be an important aspect of one’s success potential in life.

As with all of the other personality traits listed above, it is a spectrum trait. That means that we are all to some degree conscientious and that we can shift up and down the conscientiousness scale. 

Understanding where we are on this scale will indicate what our future potential is, and will aid in creating a plan to boost our ability to succeed in any area of life.

In this guide, you will learn what conscientiousness is, how it is seen as a success-oriented personality trait, and how you can become a more conscientious person. Finally, we will show how Simply Lifestyle can help you on your way to assessing your unique skill set and building upon it!

What is conscientiousness?

Conscientious individual is characterized by their ability to plan their goals, and have the self-discipline necessary to ensure they achieve those goals. They are excellent at self-regulating, organizing themselves, and spending their time efficiently.

They are the opposite of those who are impulsive and live a life filled with chaos. A conscientious person won’t just set a goal, they will set a deadline for each step required to achieve that goal. They can forgo short-term pleasures, and instead, work towards long-term gains!

Conscientiousness is an important character trait for those who want to grow their business, build their professional career, or even for those who just want to be more organized and focused.

As I have mentioned before, conscientiousness is a good indicator of long-term success. There are several reasons for this.

Why is conscientiousness a success oriented personality trait?

What makes conscientiousness such a powerful factor for success? Why do most successful individuals score high on conscientious tests? Several character attributes come with being a conscientious person. Here are some of these attributes.

Responsibility

Responsibility plays a big factor in the life of a conscientious person. Having some personal responsibility will get you a long way in life. Personal responsibility doesn’t just mean that we pay our bills on time or get out of bed for work at the correct hour.

Instead, it is found in every aspect of life. Make sure that you are punctual when you have a meeting with colleagues or clients. Make sure that you own up to the mistakes that you made. Be flexible and be open to change. Don’t rely on other people all the time.

There is only one person responsible for the quality of life and success you will achieve, and that person is you! Becoming more conscientious will teach you to hold yourself responsible and accountable!

Organization

An organized system shortens the road to a goal. An organized individual can continuously keep track of their progress towards their lifetime goals. On top of that, their structured daily routines allow them to get more work done than a disorganized and chaotic person.

If you wish to be successful and reach great heights in both your professional and personal life, then getting organized should be one of the first steps you undertake.

In the Simply Lifestyle conscientiousness track, our weekly guided plans build organization directly into your daily routine. It is something that is focused upon throughout the entirety of the guided plan. This is to ensure that it becomes a habit over time so that you will keep this skill forever onwards!

Persistence

They are typically persistent people. A persistent person is someone who continues their course of action even though they face difficulty, opposition, and failure. They will keep at it no matter what!

This is a somewhat oversimplified way of explaining what a smart persistent individual is. Persistence is all about having a vision or a goal, and you work relentlessly to achieve that goal. That said, persistence is not about the path you take, but about reaching your end goal!

Often we take courses of action that do not get us any closer to our dreams, even though we might believe that they do. It would be unwise to keep following that plan of action once we realize this! Instead, we find another method to reach our goals and we try again! That is what persistence is!

Be relentless in pursuing your goal, but be flexible in your path to get there!

Learning to be persistent is fundamental to becoming a more conscientious individual, and is a key component of our teachings here at Simply Lifestyle!

Goal setting

A conscientious person will make use of the 4 types of goals. As I have mentioned above, they are excellent planners, and cannot live without them! Of course, this means that they know what they want out of life, and the only way to plan for this is to set all types of goals there are.

They set lifetime goals, which are goals that your entire life’s work builds towards. It is the last goal you wish to accomplish, like becoming CEO of a company, or retiring while healthy! A conscientious person will also set milestone goals, which are long-term goals that have to be reached to achieve your lifetime goals.

They are also masters at setting long and short-term goals to get the most out of their work. If you wish to learn more about the 4 types of goals in detail, make sure to check out this dedicated article!

Being able to plan and work towards your goals is a skill that is often underestimated. In the Simply Lifestyle ‘increasing conscientiousness’ track, learning this skill is one of the first things you will do. Furthermore, it will play a major role in every week’s guide to build goal setting into a natural habit.

If you are interested in building your goal-setting skills, make sure you check out the conscientiousness track here

Forgo short term pleasure for long term gain

They can forgo short-term pleasure for long-term gain! There is nothing in life that will waste your time more and set your progress back further than short-term pleasure. A conscientious person is very aware of this fact. Hence they will choose to avoid short-term rewards in favor of long-term benefits.

They are the type of people who will skip out on a party to study more, or work on another hobby. For them, that party has no added benefit to their future in any way. Since it doesn’t help them reach their goals, they avoid it. Instead, they will spend their time and effort on activities that will have a positive influence on them later in life.

In today’s world, it has become increasingly difficult to fight against short-term rewards. Social media and the internet can give us a dopamine rush in a near instant. This quickly becomes addicting, as studies show that the average American spends 4.1 hours per day on their mobile phones. That’s over 2 months per year spent looking at a phone!

Imagine how much more we could get out of life if that time was spent productively pursuing a hobby, spending time with family, or earning some extra money on the side!

Here at Simply Lifestyle, a guided dopamine detox can be opted for when choosing the conscientiousness track. Here we aim for a dopamine detox, as well as to make you aware that there exists pleasure in sacrificing short-term rewards in favor of long-term rewards. This prevents you from going back to spending too much precious time on social media and other instant dopamine sources.

Focus

A conscientious individual is focused on their purpose and passions. Focus is an integral part of success. Like persistence, having focus ensures that you are always working on tasks that benefit you. It is impossible to achieve your goals if you don’t focus on them.

A lack of focus is often attributed to a lack of awareness of the importance of your goals. When we want to lose weight and become more fit, we can lose focus and stop going to the gym, or eating unhealthy. Keeping focused on your goals at all times is key, and it is what conscientious individuals are so adept at doing.

There are a plethora of study techniques that improve focus, most of which will be taught and learned if you opt for the conscientious track here at Simply Lifestyle!

Self-discipline

Without self-discipline, every plan is doomed to fail! We can set amazing lifetime goals for ourselves, be organized and responsible, but without some self-discipline, we will never see our goals reached. No matter how much you love something, or how passionate you are about your job, there will be hard moments. It is in these moments that we need to work harder than ever. When inevitably your motivation falters, it will be your self-discipline that carries you across the finish line.

Self-discipline is often seen as something difficult to create. The truth is quite simple, you can teach yourself discipline in any area of life!

Creating self-discipline is crucial to becoming a more conscientious person, and this is reflected in the track ‘increasing conscientiousness’. From the very first day until the end of the guide, self-discipline is taught and learned. We start small and slowly build it up in the subsequent weeks and months. Make sure to check out this track if you wish to become a more disciplined person! 

Ways to improve conscientiousness

Improving your levels of conscientiousness isn’t as complex as you might think. It does however take time to become fully ingrained into your personality. Here are just a few of the ways that your conscientiousness levels can be increased over time.

Determine your current level of conscientiousness

Whenever you try to improve something in life, you must have an idea of the skills and knowledge that you already possess. Once we know this, we can start to build upon that foundation.

Figuring out exactly how conscientious you are isn’t difficult, and can be determined via a set of questions. Ask questions like:

  • Do you plan your day?
  • Is your room clean and organized?
  • Do you analyze situations before you make an important decision or do you go with your feelings?
  • Do you forgo short-term pleasure in favor of long-term reward?

If you have answered yes to all of those questions, then chances are that you rank quite high on the conscientiousness scale! Maybe you were able to answer yes to most, but not all. In that case, you know exactly what area you need to put focus on!

Of course to get a proper idea of exactly where you are at, a more detailed list of questions will have to be asked. The first thing you must do when you enroll in the conscientiousness track is to fill out such a test. Based on this information, we will know that we should put a larger emphasis on certain key aspects, such as organization, goal setting, discipline, etc.

Get organized

As I mentioned in the introduction, one aspect of conscientiousness is orderliness. The idea behind this is if your life is in order, you can focus all your time and effort on that which gets you to achieve your goals.

On the contrary, if you live your life in chaos, then productivity will suffer, you will be more prone to procrastination, and won’t reach the goals you have set for yourself.

Getting organized doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might seem. Small steps that are built up over time are key!

Planning your upcoming day is one of the easiest ways to give some structure to your life. That way you can immediately get to work doing something productive. Giving yourself some kind of direction is a great way to start the day and will ensure you get the things done that you need and want!

Creating personal deadlines for yourself is another great way to build up your organizational skills. It is no secret that a lot of people work better when they are under the stress of a deadline. If you can set deadlines for yourself, then chances are you will not only work harder, but you will naturally gravitate towards a more organized lifestyle. After all, how will you set and keep track of these deadlines? You will have to create an organized schedule so you make sure that you don’t lose track!

During the conscientiousness track, we aim to build up organizational skills over time. We start small, wait until these have become a habit, and then start to increase the intensity. After the completion of the track, you will have mastered all organization skills!

Create conscientious habits

Whenever we try to learn something new, we have to make sure we stick to it! This is arguably the hardest aspect of improving on a personality trait!

One of the best ways to become a more conscientious individual is to create conscientious habits! Since once these habits are formed, they will stay with you for a long time without much effort on your part.

Getting in the habit of cleaning up after yourself is a great one to start with! Not only will it keep your environment more clean and organized, but it will also cause you to have an easier time cleaning your place once you decide to do so. Another great habit is to think before you make a decision. Ask yourself how it will impact your future and those around you. Then make the best choice based on your analysis.

The whole point is to make sure that these conscientious habits become regular and repeated actions. So that in a month’s time you won’t even have to think about doing them!

As mentioned before, creating habits is essential and largely emphasized in all the personality tracks here at Simply Lifestyle. Creating habits is built into every product. It is for this reason that the tracks are usually several months long because it can take up 2-3 months for a habit to become an automated behavior.

Learn to focus

As mentioned before, focus is an incredibly important tool to get the most out of your precious time. When an individual lacks focus, it is usually due to a lack of proper work/study routine. 

There are many study methods like the Pomodoro technique or the 50/10 method that perfectly balance both work and breaks. All you have to do is apply them to your life, and ensure they become a habit.

During the conscientiousness track, a few of these study methods will be explained, and you are free to choose whichever one suits your specific needs.

Learn discipline

Becoming disciplined is a necessary step in becoming a conscientious person. It is not an easy thing to switch from being lazy to becoming organized, and a little bit of discipline will go a long way in helping you get there.

Discipline will also help you stay more organized, and it will ensure you stick to your habits! Overall it is an important quality to have if you wish to improve in any area of life!

During the conscientiousness track, discipline is built directly into the daily guide. Simply following the daily goals will build a respectable level of self-discipline over time. Of course, we start small but quickly increase the pace. We put a lot of emphasis on discipline and hence will dedicate quite a bit of time and energy to that.

Final thoughts

Whatever kind of success you might be after, increasing your conscientiousness will greatly elevate your chances to reach it. It is a lengthy process, but is research supported and works if you stick to the track. I wish you all the best in your endeavors!

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