By Andrea Romano
September 25, 2019
Personality Traits
Credit: Kelvin Murray/Getty Images

Your personality can have a huge effect on many aspects of your life. Certain traits can determine all kinds of things both broad and specific, from the way the world sees you on the whole to if you make a good travel companion.

Some personality traits can even help you live longer, according to the Huffington Post. Specifically, if you are a highly conscientious person.

We as a society are always looking for new ways to achieve longevity. Some studies have shown that drinking coffee and alcohol (maybe not at the same time) can lead to a longer life, as well as sleeping in on weekends and taking a vacation. How delightfully convenient for all of us.

The Huffington Post reported that a 2014 study said that high achieving individuals are more likely to have conscientious partners and spouses. Similarly, a study from 1993, suggests that children as young as eight who present with highly conscientious personalities may live longer than those who don’t.

Conscientiousness can be a little hard to define, however. Art Markman, a professor and author of "Bring Your Brain to Work"told the Huffington Post that it is mostly marked by motivation to complete what you start and following rules.

“People who are highly conscientious tend to be both prompt with completion of tasks and are also sticklers for the rules,” Markman told the Huffington Post.

Conscientious people are “prepared, reliable, careful and attentive, attends to tasks without delay, and prefers an orderly schedule,” according to Psychology Today. They generally like to be organized and prepare to succeed in the tasks they do.

Conscientiousness is known as one of the Big Five personality traits, alongside extraversion, agreeableness, openness, and neuroticism. Psychologists consider these to be the core traits that drive human behavior, according to Psychology Today. Because conscientious people are prone to making “healthier” choices, or maybe just safer or more conservative ones, it’s no surprise that this would also lead to a longer life.

Be aware that there is also a downside to being conscientious. Markman told the Huffington Post that conscientious people can be perfectionists and obsessive with getting things exactly right while also being bogged down by tasks since their reliability makes them everyone’s go-to for tasks that need to be done by a deadline.

Markman added, “Conscientious people are motivated to follow the rules, and much of innovation is about breaking established norms to do things in a new way. In addition, a lot of innovation requires learning things that do not seem relevant in the moment, but will turn out to be important later.”

If you don’t think you’re a highly conscientious person at the moment, there are ways to be more aware of your habits. Organizing your tasks and keeping a calendar can help a lot, especially when it comes to remembering important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

“Surround yourself with people who can help you to complete what you start,” Markman said. “Give romantic partners permission to nag you about things. Give colleagues and bosses the power to set your schedule and to remind you of key deadlines.”

While you may not be able to totally change your personality, there are ways to be more self-aware that can be to your benefit.