Motivation Articles

What Your Bad Habits Say About You

Tailor Your Plan to Fit Your Personality

By Rebecca Pratt, Staff Writer         
Page 1 of 3
When Robert works, he’s glued to his computer screen, consumed for hours with phone calls and deadlines, oblivious to hunger pangs. He often skips meals or grabs whatever might be in his desk drawer—potato chips, Girl Scout cookies, leftover Christmas candy. Over the last couple of years, he has started gaining weight, despite intensifying his exercise regimen, and he can’t figure out why.

Meanwhile, Angela, a mother of three, has started losing weight since she opened a new business. Where she once ate because she was bored, she’s now so busy that she only eats when she’s truly hungry. Although she fits exercise into her schedule only occasionally, the pounds just seem to be melting off.

Both people are busy with work, but it affects their weights differently—what’s going on?

The key to the difference may lie with their personalities— the way they handle their hectic lives. In Robert’s case, a lack of planning ambushes his good intentions—he skips meals, waits too long to eat, and ends up scarfing down the nearest edible item. He’s a spontaneous single guy with an unstructured lifestyle, which reinforces his bad eating habits. Angela’s just as busy, but as an organized mom accustomed to assembling meals for her children every few hours, she thinks ahead, packing a nutritious lunch for herself along with several healthy but satisfying snacks that she can eat on the run.

How does your personality affect your ability to live a healthier lifestyle? Perhaps you have your diet under control, but exercise in fits and starts, unable to maintain consistency. Or perhaps you are exceedingly disciplined in working out regularly, but are too impatient to keep the food journal that would help you rein in your habitual overeating. Analyzing your personality—appreciating your strengths while honestly acknowledging and balancing your weaknesses—may give you the self-knowledge you need to get and stay fit.

You can’t really change your basic personality, nor do you need to. A particular personality trait is two-sided—useful in some situations, not so helpful in others. By analyzing how your innate traits affect your health and well-being, you can come up with strategies to channel your tendencies—so they’re always strengths, never weaknesses.

Here are some personality traits that might make a difference, and tips to help you use them to meet your health and fitness goals:

Are you an extrovert or an introvert? While it’s perfectly natural to lean one way or the other, it’s probably helpful to look for ways to balance your dominant tendency.
Continued ›
Page 1 of 3   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Member Comments

  • Great article. This is a keeper. - 5/29/2013 3:57:00 PM
  • First time I've ever read that it's ok to be an introvert. Very good article. As a blend of different personality types, these suggestions are most helpful.
    - 3/12/2013 5:34:00 PM
  • This is a great article!! - 1/13/2013 12:54:02 AM
  • Why can't I save articles any more? - 4/12/2012 5:08:25 PM
  • Wow! What a great article, I can definitely use all of the points for introvert, improviser and analytical and now I know what personality traits can complement mine! - 6/7/2011 1:37:44 PM
  • This article is both fun to read and very helpful because it not only advises to use our personality traits but shows how to do that. Very useful and I found quite a few of my bad and good habits in there. Thanks very much! - 11/7/2010 6:54:06 PM
  • I really enjoyed this but I'm not sure how I can apply it. It did help me see that by nature I'm an introverted, analytical planner but if things don't go exactly how I think they "should" I swing in the entirely opposite direction. - 11/7/2010 10:06:56 AM
  • I teach the Jung Personality theory mirrored in this article to my college students in the context of their personal study habits, interactions with professors, and basic behaviors that lead to success or failure in the college setting. I never thought that much about applying the same strategy to my personal weight struggles. I will be taking the time to think about this and am glad I stumbled across this article on the start page! - 11/7/2010 5:04:00 AM
    I liked this article. It made me realize somethings that I already knew about myself but blew off. Like waiting to document my foods eaten, exercise, etc until I can figure out how to make the chart "Just Right"! I now will make a simple basic chart to document my info and tweak it as I go, instead of putting it off and not documenting anything. I know this will be a big help. Thanks - 8/11/2010 11:47:08 AM
  • I really liked this article and I saw myself as the introvert, something I need to work on. - 5/2/2010 2:50:37 PM
  • I really liked this article and I saw myself as the introvert, something I need to work on. - 5/2/2010 2:50:30 PM
  • I really liked this article and I saw myself as the introvert, something I need to work on. - 5/2/2010 2:50:09 PM
    It is interesting to see yourself so clearly. Being an introvert I never realized how it affected my fitness choices. - 4/5/2010 12:01:51 PM
  • very interesting article. I saved it to refer back to. - 4/5/2010 5:32:26 AM
  • I found this article helpful. Being able to see how one's habits CAN benefit you becomes a a resource. THANKS

    - 2/23/2010 10:54:11 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by June 17! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.