Hey guys, I’m Haley Addis, an emotional eater and exercise avoider turned health and wellness coach, and I’m excited to share one of my major epiphanies about fitness with you!
Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to stick to a new fitness routine or commit to a long term health plan? I have a long, personal history of jumping in and out of diet plans, meandering through the frustration of losing and gaining weight, and it has always baffled me that I wasn’t able to find a plan and just stick with it for the long haul. Until . . .
Hold on! Before you sign off thinking this is going to be just another meal plan or workout program, let me assure you that I’m not about to tell you what to eat or how to exercise. Instead, I’m here to share my experience in how learning more about myself has helped me take better control of my fitness, my behvaior, and develop habits that suit me best. I’m a staunch believer that no two people are exactly alike, so I’m not going to tell you that you should follow in my exact footsteps. Instead, I hope to show you how to find the right set of routines and habits that work best for you. Here we go . . .
One of my all time favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, is a sage when it comes to self discovery and developing habits based on one’s own personality. Specifically, her philosophy of the Four Tendencies has been groundbreaking on so many levels, particularly in the area of diet, exercise, and overall fitness.
The Four Tendencies philosophy speaks to how individuals respond and react to internal and external expectations, and there will be a quiz at the end for you to determine which tendency you cater to. For now, here is the breakdown of each tendency and how knowing this about yourself (and the people you love) can help you set yourself up for success:
Upholders tend to be self motivated as they respond well to both internal and external expectations. These are the g0-getters of the group. Upholders tend to be naturally successful in sticking to a fitness program and/or nutrition plan because they are naturally inclined to meet expectations in all forms. If you are an upholder struggling to stick to a program, consider scheduling your workout and pre-planning what you will eat for the week. According to Rubin, Upholders are “particularly attracted to the predictability of schedules and the satisfaction of crossing items off to-do lists,” so adding your workout to your daily schedule or task list can be tremendously beneficial.
Rebels kind of get a bad rap. When people discover they are rebels, they are often disappointed or refuse to accept it (in true rebel form). Where upholders respond well to expectations of all sorts, rebels find any sort of expectation to be constricting and therefore resist or oppose them. So, a rebel tendency would reject the notion of adding a workout to their schedule since the thought of being “forced” to workout at a particular time would send them into a tailspin. Instead, find a fitness program that you want and like to do, and allow yourself the flexibility of doing it when you feel your best.
Obligers are the most common tendency (I happen to fall into this category) and most commonly wish they were one of the others. Obligers respond well to external expectations but have a difficult time with internal expectations. When thinking about fitness, diet, and exercise, a typical obliger will say things like “I wish I could just make myself a priority” or “why can I make time for others, but not for myself?” So, if you fall into this camp, think about making commitments to others that align with your fitness goals: find a grocery shopping or meal prepping partner, a workout partner or group, or join a challenge group that will hold you accountable to your nutrition and your exercise. Adding your workout to your schedule can also be helpful, especially if you make an appointment to meet up with someone or check in with someone like a coach or a trainer.
Questioners are the skeptics of the group. They like to ask questions and get all the facts before making decisions. Although less common than obligers, questioners come up more often than the other two tendencies, and are oftentimes the most misunderstood. Because questioners respond solely to internal expectations, they need to be convinced about something in order to take action. So, if this is you, spend a little bit of time researching exercise routines and fitness programs that would work best for you. Maybe even try a few to determine which ones fit right with your ideals, goals, and lifestyle. Be careful about analysis paralysis though, questioners oftentimes get stuck in their research and need a gentle hand to remind them to make a decision at some point.
Now that you know a little bit about how to create a fitness plan for your tendency, take a sec to find out which category you fall into: Link to Gretchen’s quiz
Did you find out your tendency? What is your plan of action? Let us know in the comments below, we LOVE to get ideas from our readers!