What’s Your Tendency?

I just read a very interesting transcript of a podcast. You can read or hear it here.

In this conversation Gretchen Rubin, author of Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, explains that you’ve got to know your habit-setting style.

The first thing the author does is break the myth that willpower is always necessary for forming habits. Apparently, by forming habits, we are doing away with the daunting task of constantly making decisions about our behaviour. If its a habit, it happens automatically and one need not expend precious willpower to achieve the same result. Willpower can therefore be saved up for occasions when it is really needed.

The second and to my mind more interesting aspect of the conversation revolves around the fact that there are “Four Tendencies” that all people can be classified into. What are these four tendencies you ask? Well they are simply the way in which an individual responds to expectations.

We all face two kinds of expectations:

  • outer expectations, such as meeting work deadlines or observing traffic regulations, and
  • inner expectations, such as exercising more or keeping a New Year’s resolution.

We have a certain “tendency” to respond to these expectations in a way that defines us.

Four Tendencies
Four Tendencies

Upholder: “I do what others expect from me and what I expect from myself”

Questioner: “I do what I think is best, according to my judgement. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it”

Obliger: “I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down”

Rebel: “I do what I want, in my own way. If you try to make me do something – even if I try to make myself do something – I’m less likely to do it.”

These tendencies of ours determines the steps we must take to form habits. For example, someone who is an obliger would be better off teaming up with a friend in an effort to form a habit if they know that the friend will be disappointed if they do not follow through.

All in all it made for a very good read and I am looking forward to the book! There is a quiz on her website that you can take to understand what your dominant tendency is. Find it here.

So whats your tendency?

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