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. Maybe I’ll finally get to apply some of the calming and motivational tricks I read from The Secrets of Yoga .
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?