I love my fiction reads but I mix in books that inspire me or teach me something every couple weeks. Recently, I’ve been enjoying books by Gretchen Rubin. She is the NY Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before.
In Better Than Before, Gretchen identified four tendencies that we each fall into. These tendencies dictate how we respond to expectations.
I think the tendencies can help us set ourselves up for success in meeting our goals. Here’s a link to my goals article if you need a reminder. The tendencies are:
Upholders – respond readily to other people’s and your own expectations.
Obligers – meet other’s expectations but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves.
Questioners – question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation only if they think it makes sense.
Rebels – resist all expectations.
Take the quick quiz to find out your tendency here.
I’m an Obliger – I’m your girl if you need something to be done but not as much when I need something to be done. But I think I have a minor in Upholder on certain things. I find it fairly easy to skip a purchase in order to meet my budget but much harder to skip a donut to stay on a diet.
So when working towards financial goals, how can we take advantage of these personality types and set ourselves up for success?
Upholders – The most important step for Upholders is to set the goals and the steps to get there. They struggle if clear expectations aren’t established. Once they know what the goal is, these guys can achieve them no problem and without outside accountability. They are motivated by getting things done and checking off of a list. If you’re an Upholder, consider yourself lucky-though you probably aren’t reading this blog because you already have it all figured out.
Obligers – These guys can achieve their goals if they have outside accountability. They need to have an accountability partner that they report to regularly, a blog where they post their progress or someone that they are a role model for. If you’re an Obliger, you need to add a step to your S-M-A-R-T goals – who will you be accountable to?
Questioners – These guys are motivated by reason, logic, and fairness. Once they decide a goal is a good idea, they can achieve it. If you’re a Questioner, you really have to buy into your goals, research them and make sure you’ve come up with the best way to achieve them. Questioners that have a minor in Upholding can quickly be persuaded to Uphold once they deem the goal is worthwhile. Questioners that have minor in Rebeling are more difficult to persuade.
Rebels – These guys have to buy into their goals every-single-day, they will choose to do it this time or today but make no commitments to do it tomorrow or forever. They are likely to be more successful if their goals allow them to be offbeat. As an example, they may decide to be minimalists to prove they are not swayed by marketing machines.
By a wide margin, most people are Questioners or Obligers. I bet you can look around your family and your workplace and identify many Questioners and Obligers. There are very few Upholders and Rebels.
Gretchen’s research has found that we are hard wired into these tendencies so efforts to change tendencies are wasted. We need to learn to accentuate the positive and offset the negative aspects of our tendencies in order to be our best selves.
What is your tendency? What tricks have you used to harness your tendency to achieve your goals?