Want to Achieve a Huge Goal?

Consider Your Personality Before You Choose a Strategy



Most of us love setting goals. But our goals rarely love us back.

Partly that's because setting a goal is easy. Getting started--much less sticking with--the steps required to achieve that goal is infinitely harder.

Especially if you don't take your personality into account.

Take fitness and weight loss, a goal common to plenty of people. Setting the goal is easy.

Sticking to the process is hard, so people tend to use different strategies. Some use accountability buddies to try to keep them on track. Others take virtual group classes in order to stay motivated. Others use apps, notifications, and wearables. Some turn exercise and weight loss into a competition.

All are valid strategies.

But according to research published earlier this year in the journal PLOS One, your personality type has a significant impact on how well a particular strategy works for you.

The study broke personality types into three basic groups:

  • Extroverted and motivated.
  • Less social and less active.
  • Less motivated and at-risk.

Interestingly, a competition-based strategy (basically, a leaderboard that logged everyone's activity) was better at boosting physical activity than collaboration or social support for all three groups.

Yep: Regardless of your personality (and apparently how competitive you might think you are), a little competition really is healthy.

But then there's this: If you're extroverted and motivated at the start, competition brings out the best in you--but only until the competition ends. Once it's over, you're over it, too.

If you're less social and less active, you perform best with a program that includes competition, collaboration, and support. And are more likely to stick with it, even after a competition ends.

(In case you're wondering, no combination of strategies worked for unmotivated, at-risk participants. Which also makes sense; if you're just not into it, no combination of tools, incentives, social support, and competition is likely to work. You have to want it, at least a little.)

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Source: Inc.

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