2018 started with me committing to better habits – and got me kind of obsessed with habit formation and psychology behind them (yep, nerd-alert!)
I’m a bit of a podcast fanatic too, so it’s not a surprise that it was via episode 37 of On Air With Ella Podcast,(below) i.e. Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives that I discovered Gretchen Rubin and her book, Better Than Before
Gretchen Rubin wrote The Happiness Project & now, Better Than Before. (Follow link to purchase via Takealot)
This book is all about teaching us to understand how we form and maintain habits in different ways, depending on what “tendency” we fall into. These types classify us all into one of 4 groups, based on how we respond to expectations, both inner and outer. Basically confirming that the way we form good habits, is NOT the same for everyone! For example, unless my bestie and I both respond to inner & outer expectations in the exact same way – what works to get her to get into/ keep a workout routine or eat or sleep better, will be TOTALLY different to me.
I mean it sounds pretty freakin’ obvious right? But, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been getting advise from loads of people on how they have been able to accomplish some of the above, or similar, and following their exact advice, with varied (probably, very little) success, right?
Because…How you form habits in NOT the same as them…In fact, it’s probably totally unique to you. #mindblown
So, in short, the 4 tendencies can be explained like this:
Someone who is able to maintain both inner and outer expectations.
Meaning, if they are given a deadline or goal by someone else, they are equally as likely to follow through and complete it on time, as they would be if they themselves had set the deadline or goal.
This makes it relatively easy for them to get into a routine that they themselves have set, or that someone else may have set for them, with little trouble or backsliding.
If you’re this person…I think I hate you 😐
Someone who is better able at maintaining outer expectations vs inner expectations.
Therefore, they are more likely to stick to a routine, deadline or goal if it is for other people, or if they are accountable to other people.
Conversely to the Upholder, when it comes to their own inner expectation, they are more likely to procrastinate and not follow through when they only have themselves to be accountable to.
This type is the largest on average, so many of us may identify yourselves as this type.
The key thing to remember about being an Obliger, is that a key “strategy” for you to draw on in order to form long-lasting habits and routines, is to find someone or something that can act as accountability partner for you. There are more strategies that can help, in Better Than Before
Someone who is most likely to maintain both inner and outer expectations only once they have internalized a specific purpose, reason or function for it that makes sense to them. This person would therefore always need the Why to maintain a habit – and this why needs to be something they believe or believe in. Questioners can sometimes be quite annoying, because who likes to have someone asking you a bunch of questions all the time?! Lol.
And as Murphy would have it, I am a Questioner – fine for me, not so great for everyone who has to live with and work with me, LOL.
That being said, it wasn’t until I understood Rubin’s tendencies, that I understood why it was becoming so difficult for me to maintain and stick to certain habits, like going to bed earlier, for example.
Initially I thought I might be an Obliger, because I knew I definitely wasn’t an Upholder – I struggle way too much with inner expectations.
But, when I observed my behaviour more closely, I realised I can’t be an Obliger: The Hubster is like a machine about bed time. At 9.50pm, without fail, he is in bed, showered and ready to switch off.
So, if I was an Obliger, appointing him as my “sleep buddy” should logically mean, I’ll go to bed on time…Nope!
Turns out, I need to convince myself of a good enough reason to go to bed early. Needless to say, I have yet to master sleep – it’s a work in progress…
The 4th type describes someone who outwardly rejects any outer expectation. This is the smallest of the tendencies. These guys are ruthless about being scheduled, or adhering to any “rules” just because it is expected of them by others. This person, even more so than the Questioner, needs to have a personal reason to adhere to expectations – and it’s usually a reason they have had to define for themselves.
The above is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the tendencies. Gretchen Rubin has made it super easy for you to find your type, with her quiz on her site – here. Go find out which one you are! Then, take a listen to the podcast above, and click on the book link & order it from Takealot.
It will change your life!
P.s Watch out for Gretchen Rubins’ new book The Four Tendencies. It should be dropping in SA soon (will keep you posted)