It’s the end of February…how are we doing on the resolutions and goals that we made to maintain new habits at the beginning of 2016? Out of the number of people who make New Year’s resolutions, 1 in 3 will give up by the end of January. That makes me feel good because I actually made it to February in the one new resolution I made for the year.
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Habits and Expectations
Setting My Intention is a place where I’m sharing my journey to develop and maintain new habits, whether that is decluttering, meal planning, movement, or budgeting. I’ve been intrigued by Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework. Her framework attempts to explain how we respond to internal and external expectations. She explains that this is important to know because when we try to form a new habit, we’re setting an expectation for ourselves.
The Four Tendencies
I recently heard her speak on the Four Tendencies and her new book Better Than Before* on two podcasts that I listen to regularly, Slow Your Home and The Lively Show. It made me curious about if I was an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel. Here are the brief explanations for the four types from her website:
- Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
- Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
- Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
- Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
Why, why, why?
I knew right away that I wasn’t a Rebel or an Obliger. I thought I might be a Questioner, and after taking the quiz, I was correct. Questioners question all expectations and can meet internal expectations easily but resist external expectations. Questioners will do things if they think it makes sense. They hate things that are seemingly inefficient, arbitrary or irrational and want to have justifications for what they are doing. Once they accept that something makes sense, however, they have no problems following through. Questioners essentially have to turn everything into an inner expectation.
That pretty much sums me up, especially at work! I’ll need to read her book to get more information about how to actually use this information about my dominant tendency. Based on the description though, I should make sure I know my “why” for a particular habit and that it can be carried out in a simple, efficient way.
Two reasons I think I’m sticking to the budget this time around is that we NEED to be on a budget and the app that we are using makes it extremely easy to maintain a zero based budget. I’ll report back other tips once I read it!
Have you taken the quiz? Can you guess which type you are? Let me know in the comments!
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Marina @ Parental Journey says
I am obliger 🙁 I don’t like that..
Hey Marina! Had you heard of this before? Beware of Obliger rebellion! (I think that was the term) she talks about that in the Slow Living podcast. She said Obliger and Questioner are the two most common tendencies.
I took the quiz and I am also a questioner. That’s pretty much what I expected, since I like to know why I am doing something and have lots of information or research to back it up. When I have big decision to make, I will sometimes make a spreadsheet to map out my options. But I am a nerd. 🙂
A spreadsheet! I’m not as detailed as you are Jill! I think my less dominant tendency might be Rebel.
Interesting! I think I’m half obliger and upholder depending. Finances? Totally upholder. Eating healthy? Not so much.
That is interesting Heather! One thing I thought was informative from the podcasts is that as an upholder Rubin takes the decision making out of the equation – so for you – automation of your savings for example is something you might have put in place that takes the decision making out of the equation. So you could think of ways to take the decision making out of the equation for eating healthy: only having healthy foods in the house, making a rule for yourself that you will not eat fast food, etc
Christy King says
I’m a questioner too.
That seems right for a lawyer!?
Thanks Melinda! Hope you are well
This is pretty interesting. I’d never heard of the four tendencies, but I took the quiz. Apparently I’m an obliger. I’m not sure I completely agree with that; I’d say I’m likely obliger/questioner.
Isn’t it interesting Abby? I think she does write that the quiz measures our dominant tendency but doesn’t necessarily capture us fully
I took the quiz and I’m an Obliger! Not surprised I got that result because I’m definitely more likely to maintain a habit if other people know about it and hold me accountable. Thanks for this interesting read. I’m going to check out the podcasts now!
I’m glad you found it rings true to your experience! Let me know how you like the podcasts!
Ruthie Gray says
My deductions were correct – I’m an Obliger. Mom of four, the last one served at dinner, don’t do something for myself if I’m needed for someone else.
I’ve been ruminating on this for a while now, and it does link directly to why I don’t stay on target for exercising and weight loss. But that’s about to change, girlfriend!
Thanks for sharing this informative quiz with us at Tuesday Talk! I loved it!
You’re welcome Ruthie! I’m so glad that you got something out of it! You go girlfriend – make that change!