November 9, 2015

So some of you may have noticed that I have described myself as a healthy eating and fitness wanna-be. I so badly want to eat healthy and get fit, but I have a lot of trouble with consistency. I have often wondered why some people (like my husband) don’t have much of an issue with getting their work outs in and saying no to unhealthy foods while other people (like me) will do good for about 3 days or sometimes a couple of weeks and then fall off the bandwagon. (The sad thing is I have a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance. So it’s definitely not lack of knowledge on the subject.)

I think I have finally identified part of my problem. I have been reading and listening to all things Gretchen Rubin for the past couple of weeks. Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project and Better than Before, among other books.  She also has a podcast, Happier, with her sister Elizabeth Craft. Her book Better than Before, which I plan to read this month, is discussed often on the podcast. Better than Before is all about mastering the habits we want in our lives.

What she discovered is that people approach habit making in different ways. She identifies four different groups of people, Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels.

FourTendenciesFourInterlockingCircles-300x317If you can identify which group you are in, then you can better understand what it will take to produce the habits you want in your life. For example, if you are an Upholder, making habits will come easier to you because you respond to both inner and outer expectations. If you want to develop a habit to get up earlier, you can do it because it’s an inner expectation. If you know your trainer at the gym is expecting you at the gym at a certain time then you will be there because you want to meet that outer expectation. But for the other groups it’s not that easy.

Most people are either Questioners or Obligers. I have identified myself as an Obliger. Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle with meeting inner expectations. If my employer expects something of me, then I will meet that expectation. The same thing goes for people at church or my family or my friends. If someone other than myself wants me to do something then I am probably going to meet that expectation.

However, if I want to do something for myself – like get up earlier, work out, eat healthier, etc, it is difficult for me to meet my own expectations. So what do I need to do to accomplish these things? I need to figure out a way to put outer expectations around these habits that I want to form. I need some kind of accountability. Maybe just posting on this blog will help? But I might need something more.

In January, I plan on doing the Whole30. I’m hoping some of my friends will join me and we can keep each other accountable, but until then I will post once or twice a month to let you in on if I’m able to better form these habits.

Also, later this month I plan on doing a Gretchen Rubin post to let you in on more of what I’ve learned from reading her books and listening to her podcast. 🙂

Comment if you have any ideas on how I can put outward expectations on the habits of healthy eating, working out, and getting up earlier.

More about Brooke Smith


    1. Sissy I’m like you I need to get fit, but I’m not consistent either. Should I start going to a gym and possibly be wasting money?

    1. […] 5. Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin In this book, Rubin gave strategies for how to develop good habits and how to get rid of bad habits. She gave a lot of practical examples involving her life and the lives of her friends and family. She also divides us all into four categories – upholders, questioners, obligers, and rebels. Depending on which category you belong in changes the strategies that will work for you. I wrote about this in a previous post. […]

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