If you read this blog, you probably have an interest in happiness or good habits or self-care.
And if those topics interest you, you’ve probably read something by the author Gretchen Rubin, who writes about building a happier life. Maybe you’ve listened to her podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, which she co-hosts with her sister, Elizabeth Craft.
I’ve been meaning to read Gretchen’s breakout book, The Happiness Project, since it hit the New York Times Bestseller List. A good friend gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago, and it’s been sitting untouched on my bookshelf since I unwrapped it. For whatever reason, the timing never felt right to crack it open.
I started listening to Gretchen’s podcast this summer, and while the content was informative, the banter between the sisters just wasn’t entertaining enough for me to continue past a few episodes. There was something about their conversations, or maybe their voices, that just didn’t excite me.
Also, it kind of bugged me that the show isn’t called “Happier with Gretchen and Elizabeth”.
Since I haven’t been able to psyched myself up about Gretchen’s work in the past, I didn’t give much thought to her latest book, Better than Before, when it was published earlier this year.
Until this week.
In the most recent newsletter from the girls at The Hello Sessions, Joy and Melissa discuss Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, a framework the author developed while researching Better Than Before. Simply put, it describes how people respond to all expectations:
- 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 self-imposed expectations.
- Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.
Joy and Melissa included a link to a Four Tendencies quiz in their newsletter, and, curious about my own Tendency, I took it.
Turns out, I’m an Obliger, although I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. I work hard to fulfill my promises to others (meeting deadlines, showing up on time), but I almost never follow through on promises I make to myself (going to bed early, eating less candy).
Another example: I’m hardly ever motivated to go to the gym unless I’m working out with a trainer.
Now, of course, I want to download Better Than Before on my Kindle so I can learn how, as an Obliger, I can successfully change my habits.
Although… If reading Gretchen Rubin’s newest book is an expectation I impose on myself, what are the chances I’ll actually follow through?
Take the Four Tendencies quiz and then leave a comment below. Are you an Upholder, a Questioner, an Obliger, or a Rebel?
(photos taken by Laicie Heeley in Baltimore this past weekend)