July 1, 2016

Hack your habits: 4 personality types and how they form habits

This post is part of a 30 in 30 blog experiment, where I committed to writing 30 posts in 30 days with minimal planning between June 20, 2016 and July 20, 2016.

Hey Guys! It's super late, like 3:45 a.m. and I just finished up a work project but before I go to bed, I wanted to make my post for Thursday! Eek.

I watched this video today about the four ways to successfully adopt new habits by Gretchen Rubin. She looked at the ways that people respond to the idea of a rule (which is really what a habit is, isn't it?) and grouped responses into 4 categories. Rules can be defined as either inner rules (new year's resolutions) or outer rules (work deadlines).

The Upholder - Responds to outer rules and inner rules. Upholders want to know the rules and what's expected. They avoid making mistakes or letting people down (including themselves). The people in this category are motivated by fulfillment (checking the box or a feeling of achievement), they wake up and look at their to do list. Upholders are great self-starters, but they can also be rigid and constrained by rules--to the point of paranoia. They can also be overwhelmed in situations when there are no rules.

The Questioner - Questions all rules, but will follow rules if they make sense. Questioners can have tendencies toward Upholding and Rebeling. They are motivated by sound reasons and must decide for themselves what makes the most sense. Rules must not be arbitrary. They thrive on information. A questioner thinks about what needs to get done today, they like to ask "why." Questioners can be paralyzed by lack of trustworthy information or if they can see both sides of the organization.

The Obliger - Responds to outer rules but struggle with inner rules. This category is motivated by external accountability. They have trouble fulfilling obligations they set for themselves. They don't like to let other people down. They wake up and think about what is expected of them that day. Obligers are very aware of their lack of commitment to their internal rules.

The Rebel - Resists all rules! Rebels resist all types of control (including self-control). They are motivated by present desire. It doesn't matter if you ask or tell them what to do, they choose to do the opposite. They act from a sense of freedom--they wake up and think about what they want to do.

Our task is to know thyself so we can understand how to set up situations in which we can be successful in any new habit we try to develop. Still don't know which type you are? Good news!- There's a quiz.

You can read more about Gretchen's four tendencies here. She also discusses the four tendencies in her book, BETTER THAN BEFORE.


Edited on 7/8/16: I couldn't stand it! I had such wonderful plans for this post that got hijacked, so I added in the content I had planned after the fact and fixed the typos, etc. I hope you find it useful.

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