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)
Just eading your post, I knew I would be classified as an Obliger. The test confirmed this.
Way to be self aware!
I’m an upholder. According to the quiz. Except sometimes I get burnt out and then I am just a pile of mush. There wasn’t a category for this 😉
There should definitely be a category for what it feels like the day AFTER you have a super busy, super productive day.
Amy | Delineate Your Dwelling
Upholder to a T. I love making rules, guidelines and habits… but definitely feel uneasy when expectations aren’t clear in my mind. Great post.
I’m terrible at making rules, guidelines and habits for myself. I wish you could share some of your Upholder-ness with me!
It must be genetic. I’m an Obliger too.
Good for us, right?
Super interesting! I really enjoyed The Happiness Project when I read it a few years ago, but I agree that the podcast was generally a disappointment for me. According to the quiz I am an Obliger, which totally makes sense. I tend to put other people first to a fault and really struggle to take care of myself sometimes. It’s definitely something I want to be better about in the future!
Take some time during your “maternity leave” to take care of yourself — when you’re not taking care of your new baby, of course!
I’m a total questioner, and now I’m worried. What does this mean?
See, I can’t help myself. Always with the questions. 😉
ps. I love these photos of you.
Aww, thanks, friend!
Marlene @ Idle Hands Awake
Not surprised to discover that I’m a Questioner! “Questioners may exhaust themselves (and other people) with their relentless questioning” — oops!
Relentless is a strong word!