Fitness Check-In

fitness check-in january 2015

I’m a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin.  I have read and re-read her books on happiness, and I am anxiously awaiting her new book on habits, Better Than Before, which will be available in March.  While researching her book, she developed a theory about how different people start and maintain new habits.  Basically, it has to do with the way people respond to internal and external obligations. She breaks people into 4 categories: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels.  (If you’re interested, you can read more about it and take a quiz here.)

I fall into the Obliger category, meaning that I naturally meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations.  In Rubin’s words:”>Obligers are motivated by external accountability; they wake up and think, “What must I do today?” Obligers excel at meeting external demands and deadlines, and go to great lengths to meet their responsibilities, so they make terrific colleagues, family members, and friends. Others rely on them tremendously. However, because Obligers resist inner expectations, it can be difficult for them to self-motivate—to work on a Ph.D. thesis, to attend networking events, to get their car serviced.

In order for Obligers to establish new habits, Rubin recommends creating external expectations to hold us to our desired goals.  I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to working out lately, so I’m going to try to put her recommendations to use.  Here are her suggestions for Obligers:

• Hire a fitness trainer, personal organizer, financial planner, coach, nutritionist, or other accountability partner

• Team up with a friend who will be disappointed if you don’t follow through, or take a class with a teacher who will notice if you don’t participate

• Consider yourself as a role model to children, employees, friends, and the like, to be an example of fulfilling commitments, showing respect for yourself, or modeling good behavior

On a personal note, I’ve noticed that the external motivation of paying race entry fees can be very motivating for me — I guess it’s the combination of being an Obliger and a tightwad.

One of my goals for the year is to run a half-marathon, but I’m in a workout rut these days (the cold weather isn’t helping).  Apparently I need some external motivation to kick me into gear.

I signed up for a half-marathon in April with a friend who I know will bug me to make sure I’m training for it.  But we live far apart so we won’t be able to do most of our runs together.  I need to start doing some longer training runs soon.

Who else out there is trying to get into a fitness routine or training for a long race?  I need an accountability buddy!  And if you have a long-distance workout buddy, how does it work?  Do you log your workouts on something like Dailymile or Map my Run?  Bug each other via text?  I love to hear how you’ve made it work.

Anyone else out there a Gretchen Rubin fan?  Where do you fall in the Rubin Tendencies?

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14 thoughts on “Fitness Check-In

  1. I have a friend with whom I’ve been doing yoga for something like 15 years. We do it at each other’s houses, and this accountability has pretty much kept me going. Knowing that she is showing up keeps me from even second guessing whether I want to do it or not. I think this same principle applies to some of my clients – if I’m showing up, they will hold the time in their calendar to get organized.
    Seana Turner recently posted…Challenge #14: TupperwareMy Profile

  2. What an interesting test, I got questioner, which means I’ll do something as long as I see it worthwhile, which I take to mean if it’s worthwhile to me. I do question a lot. Must be where my son gets that from. As for working out, I’ve been meaning to sign up for the gym at work but just can’t carve out a time to workout at lunch because I get in too late and have to leave at a certain time. Sigh. I’d love to be your accountability partner but wouldn’t be upholding my end of the deal. I have to give it some more thought, about fitting a workout into my day. What’s the best use of my time and money? See, a question.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…My 5 All-Time Favorite Books on Book DelightMy Profile

  3. Sarah, I’m reading this book called “The Power of Habit” and it’s crazy good. It’s all about picking up your cues, thinking about your reward, and committing to the routine to get there. Check out this workflow I found on the author’s blog: http://charlesduhigg.com/got-a-new-years-resolution-heres-how-to-make-it-stick/ Think about small wins too, not big grand plans. Usually the small wins trickle out to make bigger wins.
    Nina recently posted…You’re Not Alone: 7 Supermom Things I Don’t Do EitherMy Profile

  4. You go girl on your fitness goals. I let myself lapse in the last quarter of 2014. I’m starting with baby steps again this month. Just getting out walking a few times a week and working on my squats and arms again.

    Of course I had to take the quiz. I’m an Upholder, and this is absolutely me:

    Upholders respond readily to both outer and inner expectations: they meet deadlines and keep New Year’s resolutions without much struggle or supervision.

    Upholders take great satisfaction from moving smoothly through their daily schedule and their to-do lists. They meet others’ expectations—and their expectations for themselves.

    However, Upholders may feel uneasy when expectations aren’t clear, when they’re worried that they’re breaking the rules, or when they feel overwhelmed by expectations they seek to meet.

    They enjoy habits, and form habits fairly easily.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…It’s not a coincidence that American Horror Story and AmericanHomeShield share the same initialsMy Profile

  5. I loved both of the “Happiness” books, but I’m almost afraid of this one because I’m terrible at building new habits. But I do love a quiz! My result was Upholder, but Obliger indeed rings more true; I’m lousy at setting/meeting inner expectations. I’m working on setting teeny tiny fitness goals this year, but so far…not so successful. It’s still only January, though — hope springs eternal!
    Meg recently posted…Fully LoadedMy Profile

  6. I’ve followed Gretchen Rubin’s blog for many years and cannot wait to read her new book (I’ve already preordered it). I tend to go in spurts with fitness and diet. I am looking for a way to gain more discipline and consistency with both those areas. It is so difficult sometimes and as you get older it takes so much more moxie to lose those few extra pounds.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri recently posted…Small RemindersMy Profile

  7. I actually format Gretchen’s posts for Positively Positive (I’m the community manager/editor) & I am a big fan of hers too. I’m an obliger also. I’m going to sign up for our local 5k Color Run (VIP baby on Feb 1st) for a July race. I am hoping that paying and doing it with a friend will keep me motivated as well. I’m interested in the long-distance accountability partner as my friend lives an hour away so we won’t be training together.
    Danielle recently posted…A Paper Craft With Eeny – Picture Frame CardMy Profile

  8. The Happiness Project is sitting on my nightstand ready to read, and now I must start! I’d guess I’m an obliger too, but I can’t wait to read it and figure out for sure. Going to the gym is the one personal task I am good at self-motivating, though. I hope you find a running buddy to keep you accountable!
    Danaf recently posted…Do you believe in magic?My Profile

  9. I walked a half-marathon with my sister, who lives half the country away from me. We texted and talked about our progress a lot and I felt compelled to work harder, since I wasn’t 100% sure how much faster/stronger she was than me. I didn’t want to hold her back on race day and that helped me to work harder on my own training.
    brooke recently posted…QUILTING IN 2015: PART ONEMy Profile

  10. I am a week late reading this, but I’d be up for being your long-distance running buddy if you haven’t found one!

    I can’t wait to read Gretchen Rubin’s new book. I’m an Upholder so I don’t struggle too much with habits, but I have a feeling my husband is a Rebel so I really want him to read it! Ha.
    Kathleen recently posted…week in the life 2014 : tuesday in the albumMy Profile

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