If you wanted to change a habit or create a new one, how would you go about it? I ask that question right at the beginning as in her book ‘Better Than Before – Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives‘ Gretchen Rubin, says that ‘the same habit strategies don’t work for everyone. If we know ourselves, we’re more able to manage ourselves better, and if we’re trying to work with others, it helps to understand them.’ In simple words, we need to know ourselves better if we want to succeed.
In Gretchen’s previous book, ‘The Happiness Project’ she created ‘Twelve Personal Commandments.’ Her first of the Twelve Personal Commandments is ‘Be Gretchen.’ I think we could all do well to adopt this one commandment for ourselves, not that we should ‘Be Gretchen’ but that we should ‘Be…. (add your own name here); for me it would state ‘Be Beverley.’ So much has gone on in my life over the years that in recent years I have come to understand only one thing and that is, I have no idea who I am, however the one person I can be, Is ME!
In her new book, ‘Better Than Before’ Gretchen goes to show that almost all people fall into one of four categories, which she calls the ‘Four Tendencies’, which are;
Upholders – Meets Outer Expectations, Meets Inner Expectations
Questioners – Resists Outer Expectations, Meets Inner Expectations
Obliger – Meets Outer Expectations, Resists Inner Expectations
Rebel – Resist Outer Expectations, Resists Inner Expectations.
Personally I am an Obliger. I am more likely to accomplish something when i have to meet other people’s expectations of me, than I am when I have to accomplish something for myself. Unfortunately Obligers find it particularly difficult to establish a new habit or change an old one to something better. And even more unfortunately that is definitely me. So I am about to attempt the almost impossible.
I confess to being a very random person. I hate eating the same foods all the time, particularly breakfast. One week’s worth of a particular breakfast cereal is enough and so I am always changing. The same goes for sewing or knitting projects. I rarely if ever finish one thing before i begin the next. There was a time when I would do the same with the books I was reading – beginning one, then another and then another – I would eventually finish them all, but not necessarily in the order I started them.
In recent months I have been trying to establish the habit of reading –
#reading one book at a time, from beginning to the end before I started a new one.
After a few false starts I am beginning to win over my randomness and stick to just one book at a time. The one thing that has helped me establish this new habit is joining a book group at my local library. Remember because I am Obliger I need outside accountability, in other words I need to report to someone else ‘look I did it!’ But the group is helping me stick to my new habit and it is not just the book group books I am reading, but some of those lovely books that are sitting on my bookshelf. It is also helping me ‘Be Beverley’ as one of the things I love to do, is read.
So what do you think you are; Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel? (You can find out more buy either visiting Gretchen Rubin’s web page or indeed reading her book)
Is there a habit you have been trying, but failing to establish and why do you think that is?
Do you think knowing more about who you are would help you to establish new habits and stick to them?