What’s ‘planfullness’? The trait that makes you more likely to exercise?
New research has found a personality trait dubbed, ‘planfullness’ which is related to how well you focus on long-term goals. It’s also connected to how likely you are to exercise.
Carried out at the University of Oregon, the study looked at 282 participants, many of whom were students. The participants were asked to complete self-control tests, and the researcher’s own ‘planfullness scale’ to measure the personality trait.
The findings showed that all participants saw a decline in gym attendance over half-a-year period. However, those who rated higher for planfullness went to the gym more regularly. Researchers say that just one-point difference on the scale led to drastically different results in the gym.
The trait conscientiousness, which is a measure of an individual’s dependability, was also involved in the planfullness scale.
"There indeed appears to be a certain way of thinking about goals that correlates with long-term progress," says lead researcher Rita M. Ludwig. "What's new in this study is that we used an objective measure of goal progress that could be recorded as participants naturally went about their lives: their check-ins at a local gym."
The results showed that there was a relationship between those people with planfullness and those who tend to write down their goals. However, there was no relationship between that and whether or not people would be more likely to hit the gym:
"It seems logical that people who are successful with their goals would be able to write in detail about their planning process," Ludwig says. "We were surprised, then, to find no relationship between people's goal pursuit behaviour and how they wrote about their goals." They add that future studies could help explain these findings.