Each and every client we work with takes the Four Tendencies quiz. You are unique. It’s important that the health professionals who guide you in your health and wellness goals take the time to learn about you. Because how you set goals, respond to expectations, and maintain healthy habits is different than your friend or parent.
The framework we use comes from the guru habit researcher, Gretchen Rubin. In her most recent book, Rubin proposes a framework for understanding human behavior. Her theory suggests that all people can be classified based on how we respond to expectations—both from others and ones we place on ourselves. There are four classifications, called The Four Tendencies (also the book’s title).
Once you have an understanding of your tendency (which you can find by reading the book or taking this free quiz), you can more easily relate to others and achieve your goals. We at McDaniel Nutrition Therapy find this framework to be very helpful in understanding how to best implement change with clients.
So take the quiz, then read on to find out how to better set yourself up for success for any habit you decide to make.
Do you go to the ends of the Earth to avoid letting others down, but then sometimes fall short on goals you set for yourself? Yep, me too. We’re obligers! If you’re an obliger, you may just need a nudge from others to stick to your resolutions. Shout that resolution from the rooftops! Post it to Facebook. Tell everyone you meet about it.
Accountability partners (preferably upholders or other obligers) are especially helpful for obligers. Setting gym dates with a friend or sharing progress on your healthy eating resolutions may be just what you need to stay the course.
You may also find it helpful to hire a coach, such as a life coach, personal trainer, or one of our registered dietitians. Having someone to check in on your journey will increase your odds of success.
Consider yourself lucky if you’re an upholder with a New Year’s resolution! Upholders do well with meeting both external and internal expectations.
Like obligers, you may benefit from some external accountability, but you don’t necessarily need it! You tend to be motivated and organized to reach your goals. That said, if you feel like a buddy or coach would help you, go for it!
According to Rubin, upholders sometimes struggle when goals are too lofty or too vague. Avoid these traps by setting goals that are SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. This will help keep you from becoming overwhelmed.
Do you find yourself pondering the point of New Year’s resolutions? If so, you may be a questioner.
Questioners only do well with resolutions that they think are logical or sensible. They tend to do a lot of research before embarking on a health-related journey.
As such, questioners should not rush into a resolution simply because it’s January 1st (not that they’d be likely to, anyway!). Rather, questioners should do their homework and begin a resolution only when they find one that makes sense to them.
That sounds like a lot of work though, right? Questioners can simplify the process by hiring a coach. A trainer or a registered dietitian, for example, can create a plan for success that’s backed by scientific evidence (and will also have answers for all those great questions!). It may take some time to find a coach that you vibe well with, and that’s okay! Interview a few candidates before making a choice.
Are you generally not down with being told what to do?
Rubin describes rebels as those who resist expectations, both external and internal. Whenever possible, they tend to do what they want, whenever they want to. Rebels may struggle a bit with resolutions, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that rebels can’t make positive, long-term changes.
If you’re a rebel, try taking an inventory of everything you enjoy. Use this list to help you identify positive changes that are consistent with your identity.
Do you love going fast? Maybe you can resolve to take a mountain biking clinic. Obsessed with ice cream? Going vegan may not be right for you. Get a thrill from being on top of the world? Maybe you could try rock climbing, ariel yoga, or even pole dancing! You want your resolutions to involve things you find fun and enjoyable!
Whatever your tendency or goals, at McDaniel Nutrition Therapy, we would love to help support you.